In the latest in our series Meet The Founder, we’d like to introduce you to Anamika, the founder of The Little Blanket Shop, an award-winning, luxury brand specialising in weighted blankets for adults and kids. If you haven’t heard about the wonders of weighted blankets (they’re like a comforting hug!) you definitely need to read on…!
Tell us a little about The Little Blanket Shop
As an NHS doctor married to a pilot, myself and my husband had always been used to shift work but when we had our 3 children, we really struggled with sleep (or should I say we struggled to get any sleep!). Musical beds was certainly the norm in our house, and I would often be the one on the floor next to my youngest!
We discovered weighted blankets purely by chance and were amazed by how a blanket could instant soothe our children. However, we struggled to find one which was designed for children. So we set out to create a brand, The Little Blanket Shop, which offers luxury weighted blankets for every member of the family, including children, to help soothe and aid rest.
Each of our contemporary designs has been hand-drawn and produced using the best materials.
Was there a turning point when you thought ‘yes, I’m now really onto something’?
My husband and I spent over a year building up the courage to actually go for it. Starting a business is completely out of our comfort zones and not something you would expect a doctor or pilot to do.
But in 2020 we dived right in and asked our manufacturer to produce around 300 of our carefully designed children’s weighted blankets, more as an experiment. We were overwhelmed by all the sales and wonderful customer reviews – within 6 weeks we had sold out of our signature grey cloud print.
What has been your proudest moment in business?
We have been incredibly lucky so far. Our products were featured on ITV’s This Morning which for a young business is incredible, and we won a MadeforMum’s Editor’s Choice, topped The Evening Standard’s best weighted blanket list and teamed up with Page Turners UK & Penguin books for their most successful Christmas giveaway to date.
What advice would you give to other people thinking of starting a business?
You can’t get anywhere if you don’t start moving. We are still very early in our brand’s journey and I hope we still have a long way to go, but I am proud of everything The Little Blanket Shop has achieved so far.
What does an average day look like to you?
My week is definitely one of two halves. I often wake up around 05.30 before anyone else to either go for a run or have an hour to myself catching up on emails before the madness starts. 07.30-08.30 is often super busy getting all three kids ready and out the door for nursery and school.
Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday are my ‘doctor days’ so I normally head straight to the hospital and won’t normally be home until 6pm. I do also cover some hospital weekends and nights but they tend to come round every 6 weeks. I am a kidney doctor and work with patients who are either on dialysis or have had a kidney transplant – so my day is very varied depending on if I am in A&E, on the wards or in clinic.
We are fortunate enough to have our parents help us out with childcare so even though I don’t have to rush, I really enjoy getting home for bath and storytime – we are currently making our way through Harry Potter which is my favourite part of the day. The kids often go down between 7pm and 7.45pm after which I have a fairly quick dinner. Depending on how fatigued I feel I either do nothing, work on The Little Blanket Shop or fold copious amounts of washing!
The rest of the week I juggle looking after the children with The Little Blanket Shop. So if there are any photoshoots, calls with the rest of the team, trips to the warehouse etc it tends to all happen on a Thursday or Friday in between school hours. It sounds very complicated now I have said it out loud– but honestly it is our normal and I love it!
What’s your top tip when it comes to helping a child get to sleep?
Ease them into it with a nice routine. I think sleep cues are really important, even for my eldest who has to put his premier league football cards in order every night before he goes to sleep. All of our children have a weighted blanket at the end of their bed, and now tell me if they need the extra comfort of it, or not.
What’s your top parenting tip?
Don’t rush – I often have to remind myself of that when I am cross or getting annoyed with the children. It’s often because I am rushing them to do something like leave for school, do their homework or have a bath. Once I relax, things are often much smoother.
What or who inspires you?
My mum. She has an amazing work ethic and has always looked for ways to be better and challenge herself. Other than my mum I would say Michelle Obama; a true inspiration, especially to women of colour.
Now onto food, one of our favourite subjects! What does good food mean to you and your family?
Good food and full tummies mean happiness!
Do you have a go-to family meal that’s always a winner?
A roast dinner – I love watching the children eat all of their vegetable quota in one meal!
Favourite snacks for the family?
Ice lollies (of course!), strawberries and crepes!
How do you relax?
Under a weighted blanket with a cup of tea and a good book. My husband will most likely say playing FIFA!
And finally, what’s next for you and the business?
We are really excited to be working with some fantastic stockists and charities this year. We also have a new print coming out later this year. Hopefully, you will see more of The Little Blanket Shop.
Thanks so much Anamika. And don’t forget you can enter our competition to win a gorgeous weighted blanket worth £99. Head over to Instagram to enter now and best of luck!