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.
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.
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
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
- College Buddies Create $15,000 Bow Tie Hustle: After making the decision to upgrade their wardrobes, two Virginia college students start a bow tie side hustle
- Hair Salon Owner Designs Mittens for Cold Runners: An avid runner has a difficult time finding gloves or mittens that feel comfortable enough for running while also keep her fingers warm in the winter. She decides to make her own and pursues a patent for her idea
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