For serial entrepreneurs like Sheryl Lake, one successful business idea often leads to the next. As co-owner of a childcare center in Maryland, Sheryl observed a disturbing trend.
“I noticed many of the infants enrolled at our center had ‘flats areas’ on the backs or sides of their heads,” she recalls.
That realization led to the birth of Cranial Cradle, a line of crib mattresses with a contoured pod that provides comfort and support to infants’ heads. We recently exchanged emails with Sheryl to discuss her entrepreneurial journey and the rewards of owning a conscious business.
The DRIVE: Tell us about your transition from recognizing these “flat areas” to becoming a product manufacturer.
Sheryl: When I first recognized the trend, I started researching the major causes and decided I would design something to help reduce the pressure on the back of the infants’ heads. That’s when I came up with the Pod. It’s an area of the mattress specially designed for the baby to lay while sleeping. I sold my share of the childcare center to finance the manufacturing of my crib mattress line.
I’ve been in this business since 2011 and it’s been a slow but rewarding process. I’ve learned a lot about manufacturing and everything that goes into it. Testing, materials, regulations, sales and following the guidelines of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. It’s been quite an education.
The DRIVE: What’s your favorite part of the job?
Sheryl: It’s a special thing to help reduce the onset of flat head syndrome. The rate of flat head syndrome has increased significantly since the “Back to Sleep” campaign launched to combat SIDS in the 1990s. I want to help reverse that trend.
It can be a very personal mission. My granddaughter, who was a C-section baby in 2012, had a perfectly rounded head. It remained that way after using our product for the three months while she was in a bassinet.
The DRIVE: What’s the hardest part of launching a new business like this?
Sheryl: The most challenging part is building brand recognition with a limited marketing budget. To overcome the challenge, we’ve attended local expos and other events to get our product in front of the public. In October, I plan to attend the Baby Bash and Bling Expo & Show in Washington, D.C. I’m so excited about this one! The expo targets expecting moms, which is perfect for us.
Another goal for 2015 is to partner with as many ecommerce companies as we can. That’s where Scott’s Marketplace came in. I discovered Scott’s through a Facebook ad. After discussing it with my family, we decided it would be a great fit for us. We’re still new to Scott’s, but we’re really optimistic about the potential. Plus, we love that our first year is free! Thank you!
The DRIVE: What’s one product you’re especially proud to offer via Scott’s Marketplace?
Sheryl: My Cranial Cradle Pod Crib Mattress is great for parents with twins or parents interested in the repositioning technique. Plus, the mattress can be converted to a toddler bed mattress for many years of use. When you are ready to use the mattress for a toddler bed, simply flip it over to the flat side. The mattress weighs less than 6 pounds which makes changing the sheets effortless. It’s a great, versatile product.
Many thanks to Sheryl for participating in this interview and, more importantly, for launching such an impactful product. We wish you luck and appreciate you selling through Scott’s Marketplace!