The pandemic has been a bit of a “roller-coaster” for Babogue, the Kildare-based sleep consultancy firm which aims to help young children – and their parents – achieve a better night’s rest.
The business, which helps thousands of parents whose lives are affected by their child’s disrupted sleeping pattern, was only up and running nine months when Covid-19 hit. Despite that, 2020 was “actually buoyant” as families took advantage of successive lockdowns to address the sleep issues affecting their children, according to Erica Hargaden, Babogue’s founder and owner
“People maybe had a little bit more focus and time. They were saying ‘I actually have been dealing with a sleep challenge here for 18 months, and I’m now going to take the time to deal with it.’ And they chose to go with our Sleep Series to help them make sense of that,” she said.
Sleep Series is the flagship service offered by Babogue. It consists of a suite of video tutorials, grouped into age ranges, to help families educate themselves about the nuances of children’s sleep.
Hargaden said the company has now helped 2,500 parents in more than 30 countries, but she added that this year has been “more challenging” as it seeks to grow its operations.
“Sales and turnover are on a par with last year, but now we’re growing. We need to expand our services and expand our team, and work out how to enhance what we offer as part of our programmes,” she said.
The company has just secured €50,000 in Enterprise Ireland funding.
“We’re very lucky to have got that, because we wouldn’t be able to do what we have planned without investment,” Hargaden said.
Chief among those planned changes is the construction of an online platform for parents. At present, those who purchase the package can gain access to a private Facebook page where they can avail of advice and guidance from one of Babogue’s sleep experts.
Hargaden said she wanted to “take all of those facets and build a platform where customers are able to access everything . . . it all stays in one place”.
The Cavan native said she was determined to grow the business to help more parents after enduring a difficult experience when Cian, her oldest child, was born.
“For me, the support wasn’t there when I was struggling,” she said. “It was affecting every aspect of my life, and yet everywhere I turned, there were blank faces. So I’d like for parents not to feel like that.”
While the company is still in its infancy, Hargaden said she wanted to make Babogue the world’s largest sleep solution provider.
“I want parents in England, the US, New Zealand and Canada to think of our programmes when they think: ‘God, I’d love to know a bit more about my child’s sleep.’ I want to create that level of awareness,” she said.