Lauren, Magnetic Me: First things first, what’s your name and what do you do with Nook?
Helenita: I’m Helenita, I’m Nook’s Chief Marketing Officer and one of the co-founders of Nook!
Lauren: How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?
Helenita: I’ve got three crazies running around! Two wildly imaginative, energetic and curious boys, 8 and 6, and a sassy, hilarious and musical girl who’s 4 (going on 30 and can’t wait until she’s a “madult”). Oh, and a 13 year old fur baby, Oscar.
Lauren: Tell me a bit about how Nook got started?
Helenita: My siblings and I were just starting to have babies and were looking for safe sleep options that were organic, breathable, safe and stylish! We wanted something that would help take away frustrations, anxieties and fears that all new parents experience. We also wanted to find something that looked good in our nurseries and eliminated the need for having to buy extra stuff. Our crib mattresses and SafeSleep™ covers do just that and we continue to try and make all of our products stylish, functional and purposeful, from the inside out!
Babies and kids spend most of their lives sleeping and we want to be sure what they’re breathing in is healthy and free of toxins, which is why all of our mattresses are GREENGUARD Gold certified safe, made from organic and/or non-toxic materials. Combine our crib mattresses with our organic covers and you’ve got a match made in heaven! We didn’t want our own babies sleeping on uncomfortable sheets or crunchy, non-breathable mattress pads, so our supremely soft, organic covers use a patented nanosphere technology that makes them water-resistant and moisture-wicking, keeping babies and big kids sleeping comfortably all night long.
At the end of the day, we’re parents, too, and all of our products are created by parents for other parents to make life easier and to give parents peace of mind in an otherwise insane time in their lives.
Lauren: Do you have a favorite product? Maybe a favorite color/print?
Helenita: Hmmmm. You know, I get that question a lot and it’s always changing because the products are so versatile. My current favorite is the Jr. Pillow. While we made them for toddlers and young kids, I sleep with mine every night! It’s the perfect cuddle pillow size that doesn’t take up a ton of space in your bed! It fits nicely in a carry-on or travel bag in the car and because it has Nook’s organic cover that’s also anti-microbial and machine washable, I don’t feel as worried about germs! The Twin or Full mattresses are a close second! They’re so dang comfortable! I fall asleep snuggling with my kids all the time!
Lauren: How did you come up with your cover design (so exciting!)?
Helenita: Our pebble design came to be out of necessity to reduce the risk of SIDS by creating a more breathable sleep surface for babies. The actual pebbles are raised, allowing for more airflow on the surface of the crib mattress, reducing the amount of exhaled carbon dioxide build up around your baby. The biggest concerns new parents have is safety and waterproofing and we wanted to do something that married those two in a safe way. True waterproof surfaces are non-breathable and use a plastic backing, which causes babies to overheat, waking up more often and breathing more, increasing the amount of carbon dioxide being exhaled. Add in a plastic waterproof pad and it just acts as a reflector for that hot air being exhaled, resulting in more heat and discomfort, increasing the risk of SIDS and causing your baby to wake up more frequently at night. You can literally breathe through and across the top of our SafeSleep™ covers, so you can rest assured knowing your baby’s sleep space is safe and breathable.
Lauren: Safe sleep is so important! Do you have a favorite customer story/testimonial that you hear over and over again?
Helenita: “My baby slept for x hours straight for the first time ever!” Whether it’s a baby’s first ever 4, 6, 8 or 12 hour stretch of sleep, it never gets old hearing the relief and utter excitement of parents who’d been struggling to get their babies to stay asleep at night. Our crib mattresses won’t solve colic or reflux but they will help regulate your baby’s temperature and promote longer sleep cycles, giving them a more restful sleep, perfect for their developing brains and will give parents some hours of sleep back, making everyone happier! We can talk about the magic of our crib mattresses all day long but actually being an exhausted parent experiencing that magical first full night of sleep? Hearing that unbridled excitement after their baby (and they) got a good night sleep? THAT is why we do what we do!
Lauren: Okay, so besides Nook products, what are some of your personal parenting hacks? (How should I prepare for an 8 year old?)
Helenita: My kids are a little older now, so my parenting hack is more for them. I cook A LOT and my kids love to cook with me. As a busy working mom, I don’t have time for the little time consuming things like peeling onions and garlic, so I use every trick in the book. While I’m getting other stuff going, I get my big kids to put the garlic cloves in hot water for about 5-10 minutes and then they get those peels right off!
Another favorite parenting hack is giving each of my kids their own “special day” where they “get” to do things like walk and feed the dog, wash the dishes, pick what we eat for dinner, make the dessert, start the dishwasher, load the washing machine, get special snuggle and book time with mama and papa, etc. It’s a combination of teaching responsibility and giving them some extra quality time with us. Win-win!Lauren: Love that!! I make sure to also do special days with my littles too. What’s your favorite part about working at (and building) Nook?
Helenita: Our customers! They’re the absolute best! I know that sounds cliche, but it’s the truth! While our parents buy the products, their kids are the true customers and seeing them having fun with our products and to see them sleeping through the night and growing up, graduating from our crib mattresses to our twin and full, using our Jr. and big kid pillows just gives me all the feels. We even had a customer who told us her son called her after a couple weeks at college, asking if she could send his Pebble cover to him because he missed it so much! It doesn’t get much better than that!
Lauren: 2020 was a crazy year! There were so many challenges, but were there any silver linings?
Helenita: For us at Nook, we really got to see what we were made of. We had to pivot a lot after manufacturing partners had to shut down for a period of time. We had to get creative with promotions when faced with inventory shortages but I got to see the grit and passion from our small but mighty team. Most amazingly was the loyalty of our customers during a difficult time for everyone. We’re eternally grateful to all of them. Thank you!
For me personally, I realized how much time I was spending in front of my computer and not in front of my children. It was truly eye opening to be forced to slow down and really enjoy the everyday wonders through their eyes. We didn’t have ballet and baseball and soccer, etc. to go to, which enabled us to be together more and be more present in each moment rather than just getting to the next thing, not really checking in with each other. It forced me to check in with myself more. I’ll look back at 2020 with gratitude for giving me a piece of myself back. It was challenging, yes, but I grew so much closer to my family and myself as a result.
Lauren: What’s next for Nook in 2021?
Helenita: We try to listen to what our customers want and get some new stuff put into play! While I can’t commit to anything, we definitely have some goodies in the works that will open up Nook products to more people!