SL:PT are a holistic sleep and wellness brand with a range of masks, supplements and sprays for a better ‘sleep hygiene’ routine. Their co-founders come from a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities & professions, but they all have one thing in common: a desire to sleep better and to live well.
How did the SL:PT team journey begin?
Our SL:PT journey began with our personal frustrations around poor sleep and insomnia. Although each of our struggles have been different in nature, severity, or cause – we have had two main things in common; firstly, we were each aware of the long-term negative impacts rippling out across our lives, and secondly, we were very motivated to find ways to improve our sleep in order to allow us to be the best version of ourselves. This passion has driven us to share our experiences with others, educating people on the importance of good quality sleep, and helping them to achieve their well rested goals.
How do you come up with the formulations for your products?
Our products have been developed based on in-depth research into many of the root causes of poor sleep. Sleep is a very complicated thing, and there can be many reasons why we struggle to get enough. Our products are designed to address the variety and nuance amongst the problems that exist, whilst being backed by the latest research and evidence.
As a company, what are your sources of innovation and inspiration?
We are inspired by wellness brands that have managed to bring their specific niche into the mainstream, by integrating themselves into daily habits. Brands such as Calm, or Headspace are great examples of this. For us, sleep is a neglected topic in health and wellness, and underlies so many of the other areas that people focus on. We want to consciously focus on sleep as an everyday habit, in the same way that we would with an exercise or beauty regime.
How does diet affect sleep?
Our diet is one of several lifestyle factors that can have either a detrimental or positive impact on the quality of our sleep. Caffeine, Alcohol, or foods high in sugar can all be detrimental to a good night’s sleep. I try to be very mindful of the time I consume any food or drinks containing these things, particularly caffeine. Whilst I love a daily coffee or two, my golden rule is no caffeine beyond 1 p.m, allowing my system the time it needs to process this before my head hits the pillow. Several foods can also boost our bodies’ ability to generate crucial sleep-inducing hormones: less processed sources high in magnesium such as dark veggies, and nuts, as well as foods containing a natural melatonin such as tart cherries, eggs, berries and nuts.
SL:PT contains B6 which can increase the vividness of dreams – how can we harness the benefits of (lucid) dreaming?
Dreaming plays a really important role in our mental and physiological health. It has been shown that our brains go through a ‘cleansing’ process while we sleep, helping clear chemical build-ups and processing the events and experiences we have had that day. Our dreams only occur within the REM stages of our sleep cycle. This is the first stage of the sleep cycle which occurs every 90 minutes. Within each cycle, we are in REM for around 20 minutes, which is why we should allow ourselves the opportunity to get between 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night. If we get the optimal amount of sleep recommended, we will cycle through the dream phases 5 times across a night, maximising the overall health benefits this is intended to give.
What are your top sleep tips or myth-busters?
The myth that I find the most frustrating is that you should begin ‘winding down for sleep about 30 minutes before bed’. This tip in isolation sends the wrong message to people: that getting good sleep is simple. It’s way more complex than that, and if you really want to improve your sleep, it should be part of your mindset and routine from the moment you wake-up. There are so many factors in our daily lifestyles that affect sleep. These can range from waking at consistent times to help our bodies develop a regular sleep-wake pattern; ensuring the foods we eat during the day don’t have negative effects, or ensuring we get exposure to sunlight to help our bodies develop the hormones critical for revitalisation. These are just a few of the many things that can help, but fundamentally if you are determined to improve your sleep, it should eventually become a daily habit that you don’t have to think too much about.
Tell us a little more about the Charity that you work with: where you found them, why you chose them, and what impact SL:PT has?
Although we are in the infancy of our business growth at SL:PT, as founders we were all adamant about giving back in some way from day one. When we brainstormed the various ways we could help, and the many worthy charities out there which we could support, one stood out to us the most. Shelter are a UK-based charity that help to house the homeless, providing safe and secure accommodation to those not fortunate enough to have access to it. Helping house people in need and ensuring they have a safe place to sleep is something everyone should have, especially in a ‘developed nation’, and as such, it is very close to our hearts. We are grateful to be able to help in some small way.
How was the business fundraising process for you?
We have been fortunate enough to be able to fund ourselves privately for the initial start-up phase. As we grow and identify the next stages for growth, the markets we want to expand into, and the new products we need to develop, we may explore other avenues of funding and expansion.
How do you source your ethical suppliers?
As a business, we are passionate about supporting our home economy, and as such we try to manufacture and work with UK-based companies wherever we can. The UK market is much more developed than some other international markets, yet more difficult to navigate with regards to sustainability and ESG. Therefore, our suppliers work with us to help us ensure that our products or ingredients can be traced through their supply chains, and meet our values and goals.
What unforeseen challenges and opportunities have arisen?
There have certainly been a few challenges during the start-up of the business, it seems to be par for the course when venturing into entrepreneurship and away from corporate life. Our biggest challenge to date has been navigating COVID-19. The idea behind SL:PT was born in January 2020, and three months later we found ourselves in lockdown. Developing a business strategy, brand, and products during COVID-19 was far from ideal and had a huge impact on our ability to get out to market and grow as a young business. However, getting through this and staying on course has taught us huge amounts of resilience, and shown us that with determination, you can press through most issues.
How do most of your customers find you?
Our main channels are social and digital for connecting with health and wellness-focused consumers. We are finding that consumers’ interactions with social platforms has been changing at a rapid pace recently and the use of videos or reels on these platforms considerably outperforms the historic static content.
What’s the smallest change that’s given the biggest return?
In e-commerce, little tweaks and small details go a long way. On the face of it, E-comm seems like a simple channel to operate: there are low barriers to entry, and it’s relatively simple to get products to sell by developing a website. In reality, E-comm is probably the most difficult channel to operate, the low barriers to entry mean competition is fierce, and getting consumer attention is increasingly difficult. So, getting the small things right with branding, visuals, and customer experience plays a vital role in impact, attention, and retention.
Do any customers use or benefit from the products in ways you didn’t expect?
We have had some very touching feedback from customers suffering from chronic pain. Every day can be a struggle for chronic pain sufferers, they experience issues with many of the things we often take for granted. So, the positive feedback from them about our products has meant a lot to us – it makes the process all the more rewarding knowing that we have helped to make their lives a little easier.
What motivates you?
Our primary motivation is to help people and to educate them on the importance of sleep. A large area of focus for us is specifically on providing free educational resources and materials. The way in which we do that is by making the educational part of our proposition free for all. We do this through our free sleep assessment tool, our online library of articles about everything sleep-related, educational social media posts, and free sleep audio guides.
What has been your biggest lesson, fear, or failure?
My biggest business lesson, and one which I have now carried across to my personal life, has been around the importance of resilience. The clichés about business being a roller coaster are entirely true, the journey throws out many challenges along the way. We seem to live in a time where people expect or demand instantaneous results and falter before they get to what they want to achieve. However, when you are passionate about something, and continue to push through in an optimistic way, you develop the resilience you need to get to where you want to be.
How has what you do changed you as a person?
Entrepreneurship is a fascinating journey and brings with it many unexpected lessons and skills. It does change you as a person as you go through that journey. My top three changes would be: confidence – you develop a confidence in knowing that every challenge has a solution; patience – initiating plans & bringing an idea to life takes time; and finally communication – you learn the need to listen more and to absorb other ideas, by getting past the notion that you need to solve everything yourself.
What does spirituality mean to you?
Spirituality is one of the few things which can keep me up at night. While I’m not religious, I like to believe that there is something greater than us out there, and some bigger meaning behind it all. That is why living by strong principles, morals, and values is something that’s important to me on a personal level, and equally on a business level.
If time and money were no object – what would be on your to-do and to-see list?
I have always had a great affinity for animals and wildlife. The suffering or mistreatment of any animal is heartbreaking to me, so if I was fortunate enough to have the time and money I would find myself visiting and volunteering at many of the amazing animal sanctuaries across the world, trying to help in any way I could.