143
9 min 12 sec

Savvy Sleeper Pillowcases Produce Dreamy Profits for Tech Worker

Tired of battling split ends and hair breakage, a fashion and lifestyle blogger switches to satin pillowcases. She then learns to make and sell her own, earning six-figures annually.
Beauty Design Manufacturing Product Retail

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What It's About

A blogger designs and manufactures satin pillowcases and is able to leave her day job when her side hustle brings in six figures annually.

Business Model
Manufacturing
Skills Required
Design & Research
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Despite her massive success, building Savvy Sleepers hasn't always been a dream. She learned a lot of lessons the hard way making mistakes like ordering 3,000 pillowcases with the wrong packaging and needing to fix it by hand. But in spite of these mistakes, Dale says that every 'worst' she encountered provided her with a valuable learning experience that she wouldn't have had otherwise and said that they all played a major role in her success.

Fun Fact

While satin pillowcases may seem like an extraneous addition to your nightly sleeping regime, sleeping on satin comes recommended by dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and hair stylists for its anti-aging effects on hair, skin, and eyelashes. And despite boasting playful, pun-worthy names for her pillows like 'Nappuccino' and 'Pinot Greige' (from her Wine Country Collection), Dale doesn't mess around with the quality of her product choosing luxe highest-grade satin.

Notes from Chris

Episode 143

When do you quit your day job? When it’s right and you’re ready and you feel safe. About every 10 days or so, we feature a story of someone whose side hustle has led to full-time work. Key point: even if they eventually go full-time, they start this project without quitting their job.

For nearly 10 years, Dale Janée worked in the tech industry in San Francisco. Her employer was an online commercial real estate company. It was a good job—not a dream job—but it worked.

The long days, stressful city life, and some dating drama led to Dale feeling frazzled and frantic… and her hair paid a price for it.

It was hard to find a high-quality satin pillowcase—so as one does, she set out to make her own.

The initial start-up costs including ordering inventory, traveling to visit her manufacturer in person and launching the online store were approximately $11K.

The first year, she expected sales and large orders to roll in—unfortunately she was wrong. Sales didn’t roll in, they trickled in.

Yet she persevered, things began to turn around in the second and third years. Savvy Sleepers was featured in a fall PopSugar beauty subscription box which helped launch more attention and multiple press features causing spikes in sales.

It continued to grow over the next 18 months, and in 2015 they hit six-figures, which continued in 2016 as well.

The satin pillowcases are now available in the world’s largest blow dry bar chain, and also in hair salons and spas nationwide. Dale’s next step is more international expansion, and her longtime goal is to make 1 million in annual sales.


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Savvy Sleepers: Check out Dale's satin pillow line on her website
  • Savvy Spice: The fashion and lifestyle blog Dale started that features clothing reviews, tips on getting legs like J-Lo's, and how to make classic Italian cocktails
  • PopSugar: The popular subscription box service that included Dale's pillowcases as one of their monthly picks
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"I knew I had enough savings to last me at least 6 months to a year if my business failed. I would never recommend quitting your day job until you have a full plan of how you will support yourself, pay for health insurance, living expenses, etc."
—Dale Janée #SideHustleSchool

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