Zipadee-Zip Wearable Blankets by Sleeping Baby are the solution to sleepless nights when infants start transitioning from being swaddled in their crib. That's what husband and wife entrepreneurs Brett and Stephanie Parker want the Sharks to understand when they pitch Zipadee-Zip in episode 601. The idea for the Zipadee-Zip is simple: keep infants used to being swaddled who are getting too squirmy at night to feel secure while giving them some wiggle room, that way baby and parents will sleep better!
The Parkers LOVED their baby girl when she was born, until she stopped sleeping at night. To be fair – they still loved her, they were just loving her with much less sleep! Their baby was having issues with “swaddle transition,” a fairly common issue. Babies, especially infants, need the security of swaddling. A swaddled baby is also far less suseptible to SIDS, so swaddling is recommended. At anywhere from 4-6 months, babies start to get a startle reflex when sleeping, causing them to come unraveled from their swaddle and making it harder for them to get back to sleep. This leads to sleep deprivation for parents and babies alike.
When confronted with this problem, Stephanie, rather than having extra coffee in the morning, whipped out her sewing machine and made the first Zipadee-Zip. Essentially, the Zipadee-Zip is like a mini baby sleeping bag with hands and feet. It's not quite pajamas and it's not quite a sleeping bag, it's somewhere in between. The “wearable blanket,” as the Parkers call their Zipadee-Zip, gives the baby the security of swaddling without the ability to wiggle out of it. If they're startled awake, that secure feeling allows them to get back to sleep with less fuss; it allows mom and dad to sleep, too.
The Zipadee-Zip worked so well for the Parkers, in 2011 they made a business out of it. They've grown slowly, selling online exclusively and sales have steadily increased. Their Facebook page has over 13,000 likes now and is loaded with positiv testimonials from customers (and a lot of cute baby pictures).
My Take on Zipadee-Zip
It's been about 9 years since we've had an infant in the house, 21 years since the first one arrived (with 3 more in between), so I GET IT when the Parkers were lamenting about sleepless nights. We swaddled all our kids and we even had a few things similar to the Zipadee-Zip around the house. My kids (thankfully) slept well as babies (the teenagers are doing a good job at it currently too); whether that was due to their nature or the clothing/blanket bags they wore to bed, I'll never know.
I do understand about the startle reflex and I recall the night-clothes they wore had “footsies” and mitten-like hand covers. I think the Zipadee-Zip is a good little baby jammy/swaddler/wearable blanket. It's something that undoubtedly would have found its way into our children's drawers back in the day.
With the exposure the Parkers get on Shark Tank, Stephaie's sewing machine will be working overtime! I think lots of parents (and grandparents and baby shower attendees) will scoop the Zipadee-Zip up like it's going out of style. It's a good product that serves a real need.
The only downside I see is there are a lot of similar products out there. That said, with good branding (and a sprinkling of the Shark Tank effect), I think the Zipadee-Zip is a winner.
Will Sharks Zip Up a Deal?
Baby products in the Shark Tank are a real hit or miss proposition. There have been many deals made, and many products that, even though they didn't get a deal, went on to big sales after getting some old fashioned Shark Tank PR. This deal will have to come down to the numbers. The Parkers will have to show steadily increasing sales, and not of an insignificant amount. The idea is good, the product is good, but if the numbers aren't there, Zipadee-Zip will be dead in the water before the pitch is over.
I don't think Robert, Mark or Mr. Wonderful will even consider this, unless the numbers completely blow them away. That leaves Lori and Daymond. Lori will bite if she thinks Zipadee-Zip is QVC worthy. There are certainly a lot of baby product consumers who watch the channel and at around $35 apiece, the price is in the QVC ballpark. Daymond has the retail connections with Buy Buy Baby and other big chains, plus he has the manufacturing expertise to take the product big. He'll need a good chunk of the business to do a deal, but if he makes a bid, the Parkers should jump at the offer.