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Name: Dani Collins

Business: Oliver + Kit, swaddling blankets

Industry: Children’s Goods & Services 

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa, U.S.

Reason for starting: Wrapping babies in muslin to promote sleep is an age-old tradition. Swaddling helps to keep babies from being awakened by their own startle reflex. Lightweight, breathable muslin helps them to stay cozy and comfortable without running the risk of overheating. Swaddling promotes sleep and reduces the risk of SIDS. And most swaddle blankets aren’t any fun! We decided to bring bright, fun, happy designs to traditional muslin swaddle blanket. We want to promote health and happiness for babies and moms.

My mother and I are best friends, and we always love to do creative things together. We knew we wanted to start a business that would allow us to grow something together and also use our creativity. We decided to focus on muslin swaddle blankets because it allows us to create a product that is highly functional and promotes healthy sleep in babies, but also fun and something that mom (who often use muslin blankets as nursing covers) and baby alike can enjoy together.

Related: Read about another Children Goods & Services entrepreneur here. 

How do you define success? I feel like success is more of a process than a destination. I think success is the satisfaction that comes with looking back and knowing you did the best you were capable of while trying to reach a goal. Whether you achieve a goal or not, I think you can be successful, if you can feel proud about your effort and how you went about striving to reach your goal.

Biggest Success: Our biggest success is making a product people want to have! We’re very proud of our blankets…the high quality fabric, the fun bold blankets, it feels like the biggest success in the world!

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Our top challenge has been balancing our day jobs (I’m a software developer, and my mom is a 1st-grade teacher) with our growing business. We’ve been so lucky to grow very quickly, much faster than we expected. A growing business needs to be nurtured and cared for, and we’ve been spending every waking moment doing that for Oliver + Kit. It’s a lot of sleepless nights, creating new designs, packaging orders, talking to our customers, but it’s totally worth it to see Oliver + Kit blankets in the hands of moms and babies!

Related: Three Reasons Your Business Needs Good Design 

Who is your most important role model? My mom. Hands down. She showed me how to be a strong, to know my own mind, to stick to my own values, all while being kind and compassionate. She taught me that you don’t have to be strong or kind. You can be both.


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Edited by The Story Exchange