Sleep Siren, founded by Lily Bouille, launched in January 2019 as Europe’s first online sleep and wellness boutique. The platform offers a carefully curated product range of the best in luxury sleep and wellness products from around the globe.
Prior to starting the business, Lily was a successful marketing guru working in the video gaming industry, but had always harboured the dream of opening her own business. Unfortunately she fell ill and spent a period of time in and out of hospitals. Like many Londoners, she was commuting, working long hours, and trying to maintain a jam-packed social life. She hadn’t realised the importance of sleep and the long-term impact of sleep loss until her health began to decline. As she was extremely career driven it was a big blow, but her experience gave her the idea for the business and working on her Sleep Siren concept was something positive to focus on, other than being poorly.
She had support from her partner and mother, so decided to give it a go. Lily had some savings but needed to secure additional finance to start the business, and a Start Up Loan seemed one of the best options. She researched to see who would be the most suitable delivery partner to work with “I decided to apply with Fashion Angel as they not only had fashion expertise that no others had, but also seemed to have a much more personal approach than other larger providers .”
She managed to launch with over 30 brand partnerships in place – from luxury fashion powerhouses like Olivia von Halle, and Chinti & Parker, to smaller independents like Violet and Wren –and was then approached by London’s first wellness hotel to produce luxury sleep kits for their guests.
‘’The pre-loan support and ongoing mentoring from Alison and Sasha have been invaluable help to me over the last year. I had absolutely no experience in retail or fashion, beyond sporadic work in retail as a teenager. They have been great soundboards, or at times given necessary criticism, all whilst helping me navigate the world of retail’’.
Once she had proved her concept she wanted to build on initial success and increase her product range and realised she also needed to increase their marketing activity. She successfully applied for second start up loan to finance the additional expenditure.
Since launching, sales have continually increased, along with a loyal online community. The platform has secured numerous pieces of press coverage and their products were selected for several Christmas Gift Guide publications (including The Guardian) leading to some items selling out numerous times.
Lily says “Trust your gut and don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Lean on your mentors as much as possible and reach out to networking groups. Being an entrepreneur can be lonely at times, until you go to a networking event or join a Facebook group and realise there are dozens of others in the same position”.
Check out Sleep Siren’s website here and follow their journey over on Instagram