Aaron Spivak, the Co-founder of Hush Blankets, partnered with Lior Ohayon to create a prototype of the Hush Classic blanket. In this interview, we discuss with Aaron the idea behind Hush Blankets, their brand name, what has changed since the pandemic started and much more.
What is the story behind Hush Blankets?
Lior and I came together in 2017 after he spent some time volunteering at a camp for children with special needs in New York. He told me about his time that he spent in their simulation room, where he fell in love with weighted therapy. Fast forward, years later in 2017, we came together and we said: “Why isn’t there weighted therapy in a premium version for adults, everything out there was just this big sandbag.” So we came together and in 2018, and we launched the first-ever hush blanket, which is a premium weighted blanket for adults. That’s what really started it. Ever since then, we’ve introduced our giveback program so we donate to a lot of charities similar to the one that Lior was volunteering with. That story is still really engraved into what we do in 2021. We donated over a million dollars worth of blankets so it’s still very much engraved in us.
When did you start thinking about your brand name and why did you settle on Hush Blankets?
In today’s world when choosing a brand name, you got to have the domain, you got to have Instagram and the handle. So we kind of just liked the name and it was available. That’s when we’ve decided to push off.
“In today’s world when choosing a brand name, you got to have the domain, you got to have Instagram and the handle. So we kind of just liked the name and it was available. That’s when we pushed off.”
Yes. We’re working on getting the domain Hush.com, but we just recently acquired Hush.ca and it’s been a huge brand move for us as we drop the blankets from our name because we are starting to explore many other sleep products, as you can probably see on our website. We’re excited to dive deeper into the sleep space.
Who is your target customer and how is your brand name helping in reaching them?
Our customers originally were people who were looking for solutions to sleep, anxiety, insomnia, stress, ADD, ADHD, etc. More recently, we’ve become more broad as we’ve started to realize that.
Everybody deserves a better sleep. Whether you feel like you have a good sleep as is, we feel like our sleep potential as a whole, as society has yet to be tapped into, so we really prioritize developing products that actually help us sleep and not just look cool and feel cool. So that is our target market, essentially everyone – because everyone deserves a better sleep.
How do you keep your brand consistent across different channels online and offline?
This is a really good question for us. It’s difficult, for sure, but we want to make sure that our language and our brand is contextual to who we are but at the same time, we need to be contextual to the platform we’re performing on.
For example, the way we post on Instagram is gonna be different from LinkedIn. The way we post on LinkedIn will be different from TikTok and TikTok is gonna be different than email. So it’s really about understanding our brand voice and what we’re trying to convey and then creatively going about that on the Medium to make a big impact and reach as many people as possible.
Why should entrepreneurs value their brand?
Brand, in the grand scheme of things, is everything, right? Many people can take your products and copy it, or make variations of it, it’s really the brand that people will begin to trust. Like, you know, a lot of people will see a product and they’ll go on Amazon and buy it.
And why would they go on Amazon? Because they trust Amazon. They trust their return policy, they trust the shipping, they’re comfortable with it. So it’s really about building a brand that people can trust long-term and then sometimes you have to suffer short-term economics to reach that.
Has the pandemic affected your company in any way? What has changed since?
Definitely. So in March, when the pandemic first hit, we were affected, and it was insane. We lost or 50% of our revenue in the first week. However, we didn’t panic because we knew that is just a period of time where people were allocating their money elsewhere. They were buying toilet paper and canned food. No one understood how bad it would get. So we just took a step back and said: “We’re not going to make any drastic decisions because this was a moment in time.” Two weeks later, we were right. We saw that. There was a shift to people working from home, understanding that they’re going to be at home for a while, stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep was through the roof. People were not allowed to gyms, they were not spending energy, and our product was a perfect product-market fit. Our business actually started to grow faster than ever before. We were sold out from May all the way until August because none of our product predictions could have predicted what happened. So it was good and bad, but overall, I think it was good for where we are and where we fit in the whole pandemic.
What did you do to make sure your marketing is effective?
We test, we test a lot. We survey a lot, we don’t shoot from the hip. So something with us is that we don’t pretend that we know it all. We understand that, as a brand, we need to test. And the consumer is always the decision-maker, right? So we want to create content and marketing that is valuable to our customer, whether they buy it or not, because we truly believe in the customer journey rather than just the company journey, like make an ad and sell, which is important, but it’s not our end and all be all. We want to make sure that our customers actually enjoying the way they interact with us.
“We understand that, as a brand, we need to test. And the consumer is always the decision-maker, right? So we want to create content and marketing that is valuable to our customer, whether they buy it or not, because we truly believe in the customer journey rather than just the company journey, like make an ad and sell, which is important, but it’s not our end and all be all.”
What would your advice be to entrepreneurs who are just starting out, in general, and when it comes to branding and naming?
The name is not so important, the name is what you make of it. But when you are starting out, take your brand seriously because it is, if it goes the way you want it to go, it becomes really important, right? If you brand, and if you’re around in 10 years, your brand is going to be big. How do you want to be viewed?
And you can start being small, but you can still play big and you can play with a brand that has a real mission, that has a strong vibe that you believe in and you’ll stand by, just be consistent with that and that will pan out if you’re willing to run the marathon and understand that it does take time.
Where do you see your business in the future? And how does your brand name fit into that vision?
We see ourselves as becoming a trusted sleep brand. In our space, so many brands are old, they’ve been around for 30 years and 40 years and they’re not as innovative as they’d like to be because they feel like they own a large portion of the market. We’re coming from the angle where we can be innovative. We can be nimble and creative in connecting with our consumers and teaching them that the value around sleep is there.
You know, so many people will spend hundreds of dollars on workout attire, shirts and shorts and shoes, which is super valuable, but they’re only ever working out for about an hour maximum, a few hours a day, and we sleep for one-third of our entire life. If you go to Walmart and pick up a $20 set of sheets, you have to understand that you’re not really giving yourself the best crack.
Sleep is so vital and so important, you can survive without food or water for longer than you can survive without sleep. So we do see ourselves becoming a leading sleep brand in all the categories of blankets, sheets and pillows and mattresses, etc. And that’s where we feel that we’re going.
We hope the above information will help you in making informed decisions about your brand. If you want to say hi or have any questions about naming, branding, and domain names get in touch, we’re always happy to hear from you.