Celebrity Cachet of SwaddleDesign
What do Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Bristol Palin have in common? They all swaddled their infants in blankets from Lynette Damir's SwaddleDesigns. That celebrity cachet has helped propel its sales of blankets, towels, and other baby-related products to $3.6 million. The Seattle-based business is No. 463 on the Inc. 500.
I am a mother of two and a registered nurse. I also studied design at the Art Institute of Seattle. I have always been interested in helping people, and I noticed that new parents often struggled with swaddling their infants. Everyone asked for help.
In 2002, I decided to combine my medical and design experience to come up with the ultimate receiving blanket. It is square and more than 40 percent larger than what you typically find. It also has swaddling instructions sewn into the edge of the blanket.
Our big turning point was when Nordstrom picked us up for a trial. Within five months, they took us national.
Gwyneth Paltrow was the first celebrity to be photographed with our blanket. More recently, when Dr. Phil introduced his new granddaughter to the world, she was wrapped up in one of our blankets. I asked Dr. Phil's son how they heard about us. He told me they researched blankets and everyone said ours were the best. Our hard work speaks for itself.
We now have 30 products, and we expect sales to grow another 50 percent over the next year. It's exciting to think about all of the natural extensions for our line.
For more on the Inc. 500|5000, go to www.inc.com/inc5000.
Darren Dahl is a contributing editor at Inc. magazine, which he has written for since 2004. He also works as a collaborative writer and editor and has partnered with several high-profile authors. Dahl lives in Asheville, North Carolina.