The first step (taken in January 2016) was to research the use of pure merino wool to ensure it was safe to use on babies, and the Australian Standards in relation to the product design and fabric flammability to ensure product compliance. Research from Australian Wool Innovation was analysed to support the safety of the fibre.
Step 2 was to source pure merino wool fibre in a double interlock construction that was machine washable, meaning the fabric needed to be robust to withstand using as a baby sleep product and washed regularly to remove baby excrement. Fabric samples were sourced from the world’s most reputable woollen mills and tested with the help of a retired managing director of an Australian textile company.
Step 3 was to develop a pattern to fit a newborn baby. This involved discussions with hospital midwives and using a professional pattern maker and sewing team to create prototypes. These were tried on newborn babies.
After designing and manufacturing the final prototype, step 4 was to collaborate with a hospital to conduct a trial. An arrangement was reached with a hospital and products were given to parents of newborns during their hospital stay to take home and to try and provide feedback.
Step 5 was to assess the feedback captured through parents completing surveys to improve the product and hopefully to enter into a supply arrangement with the hospital. The trial was a success with the majority of respondents reporting their newborn settled better in the product compared to other sleep products.
Step 6 was to go into bulk manufacture using makers in Australia, thereby establishing a supply chain and becoming a licensee of the “Made in Australia” logo.