“I had a really great business idea that could make life easier for parents and babies everywhere.
I also had a job—a great job that I was pretty good at. Oh, and did I mention I was pregnant? I started aden + anais (named after my and my co-founder’s first children) while working in sales for The Economist Group and raising my three (now four) daughters, which means I had three full-time jobs.
But like all entrepreneurs, I had that undeniable sense that the idea—which initially came to me during my first pregnancy—was an idea worth chasing…even if I was also chasing after toddlers at the time! My concept was to recreate the muslin swaddle that generations of Aussie mothers have sworn by and bring it to American parents. So, I researched textile manufacturers for three years in order to perfect the fabric.
When I got the product just right, I launched aden + anais.
I started selling my products from the trunk of a taxi by knocking on the doors of baby boutiques in New York City and Los Angeles. Finally, in 2009, I quit my job at The Economist to focus full-time on aden + anais. My business was successful right out of the gate—mums loved the product for their babies. But I relied on borrowing money from family and friends (and friends of friends!) to fund working capital and keep up with the ever-increasing product demand.
From day one, I knew this could be a $100 million brand, but it would take capital—and help.
I knew in my gut that—with access to additional capital and the resources of a firm that had “been there before” with growing companies—the sky was the limit. So, I decided to take on an investor that would leave me in control while also putting capital into the business to fuel the fire. That is when I was first introduced to Seidler.
After partnering with Seidler in early 2010, I was able to scale the business much faster.
We quickly became a truly global business with distribution in more than 60 countries and direct operations across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Most importantly, we were able to maintain our entrepreneurial culture—which was a big part of our success—as we grew revenue and EBITDA nearly 10x during the partnership with Seidler. I had a great management team, we all worked really hard, and we had a clear vision. It was great to have an investor that would help where we needed it—any time 24/7—but also left us alone to focus on what we knew best, such as our brand and product.
The fact that they didn’t encumber me with the usual handcuffs that often come from well-meaning financial partners was quite simply a CEO’s dream, and a huge factor in making the business so successful during our partnership.