Zeidman, a foster mom and MSW, created the first “Ollie” when she saw a gap in the market, as her 3-month old foster child Oliver struggled to sleep soundly, eat properly and reach developmental milestones.
Zeidman knew the importance of swaddling to keep infants in a calm state. She bought every swaddle on the market, and each came up short, until she developed her own prototype. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Zeidman was a Clinical Social Worker who specialized in working with trauma and drug exposed infants. She first became involved in this specialty in 2007 and has since helped to establish response teams throughout San Bernardino, CA.
The Ollie, with its state-of-the-art technology of varying loop sizes and moisture-wicking fabric, allows infants to feel snug on top, and loose on the bottom which enhances neurological development, creates positive sleep cues, decreases irritability while promoting self-soothing, allows for healthy hip development, makes diaper changes easier and so much more.
After using The Ollie, Oliver started sleeping through the night, eating and catching up on developmental milestones. And like Oliver, Hindi has helped thousands of other infants and parents all over the world- even donating Ollie swaddles to foster-infants and their families.
CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP — What meaning do you give this term?
This term can mean a variety of things to different people. For me, it is about being purposeful in all that I do. That means being purposeful in the safe child-centric products I create, purposeful in the work environment, and also purposeful in the way we give back to our community.
CAREER — What led you to your particular career path?
My father ran his own business, so I saw a lot growing up, and “business owner” was never a pathway I intended on walking down. It wasn’t until I was a single foster parent raising an infant that things changed for me. I was taking care of an amazing infant, named Oliver, who was struggling with the basics of just eating and sleeping. I knew the benefits and importance of swaddling, so I purchased every swaddle on the market, but nothing worked for him. The swaddles available didn’t properly contain him, he overheated, and they didn’t provide the right amount of pressure on his torso and limbs. So, I set out to create a swaddle that Oliver needed and that is how I made the first Ollie. Once Oliver started using his Ollie, he started sleeping through the night, gaining weight, and catching up with missed developmental milestones. I saw the impact The Ollie had on him and that was the moment I knew I wanted to share it with little ones all over the world and thus my career path changed.
MENTORS — We all need a little help along the journey. Who has been an invaluable mentor for you? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
We all need help along the way, but the right help from the right person is more critical. It is easy to find people who have opinions about what you should or should not be doing, but finding a person who sees who you are and what you are trying to do and being willing to help you along the pathway is very hard to find. It took me years to find that person and, during that process, I encountered “mentors” who did not have my best interest in mind. The first time I met Mike, he was coming to meet with me to tell me my business was too small and didn’t have the revenue to be able to work with him. During our meeting, I shared my heart, how my business came to be, and where I want to go in the future. Mike left the meeting committed to work with me. He is that rare person that is willing to walk the path with you. He has supported me, lifted me up, encourgaed me, and cheered me on throughout the past couple of years in both business and in my personal life. And, this amazing impactful person in my life is now my Chief of Operations.
TO THRIVE — When you see yourself thriving: Do you see yourself opening up opportunities for others along the way to participate in your success, and how?
I hope I have been opening up opportunties since I started my business, regardless of my level of thriving. Whether it be providing employment opportunities or donating swaddles to foster infants and hospitals, my goal has been to find means to give back. I would eventually love to establish a non-profit centered specifically around finding ways to give back to little ones, ages 0–3, through research, product development, and access to transdisciplinary teams for treatment and support.
CAUSE — What are the causes close to your heart, and you are supporting right now? Can you share a story how you got involved? How did it make you feel?
Our foundation is rooted in the foster community, so giving back and bringing awareness is a huge part of what we do. We have always donated Ollies to foster infants who are drug and/or trauma exposed throughout our community. And, recently, we created a program to donate children’s masks to foster children. We were seeing that because of the pandemic, people were not willing to open their homes up to foster children, so they were left vulnerable and without a safe place to stay. We were inspired to create masks specifically for them, in the hopes they had their own sense of protection and security, and also with the hope that people would now be more apt to open their homes.
THE FUTURE — How do you see the face of entrepreneurship in 5 years? How do companies /brands need to adapt to secure their place in the future?
We’ve all been and contiue to be affected by the pandemic. It has changed everything about what businesses look like and how we conduct business. As we adjust, I anticipate a definite increase in entrepreneurship, not only because we have more ways to connect and reach people through social media, but also as a means of survival as certain job fields or even companies no longer exist. I think how we survive is the question everyone is trying to answer. I don’t have the answer, but I truly believe running a business has to be more about just selling a product; it has to be more about how we connect with people and how we give back to our communities.
ADVICE — What kind of advice would you like to give to an aspiring entrepreneur who feels limited due to their background or lack of resources?
1. Let go. I read that one of the ways entrepreneurs can fail is by having a lack of ability to let go and delegate responsibilities. That has always resonated so strongly with me. There was a time that I was running the entire business on my own. I did every single job because that was what needed to be done. As we grew, I had to be cognizant of my time and honoring the incredible, capable people I worked with to be able to do their work.
2. Pick your team. I work with great people. They inspire me to be better. They believe in what we do, they believe in our products, and they believe in my vision. I am committed to them, as they are committed to me. We not only walk through the hard times together, but we celebrate the wins too. Pick the people who are going to walk beside you through it all.
3. Don’t forget to look at the big picture. It can be so easy to get wrapped up in the daily tasks and you can get too narrow of a vision because of that. Always make time to dream. Always make time to look at the big picture, which should encompass your greatest hopes and visions.
4. Give back. There is always a capacity to give. I made a commitment that when I started the company that I would always donate swaddles. Even when I had no sales, I donated. Always find a way to give of yourself and give to others.
5. Believe in what you do. When I first started no one would give me a chance or the time of day. People dismissed me and my product and said I would never make it or compete against larger brands. What kept me going was the belief in my product and my drive to make a difference in this world. There are still hard days, but I always come back to my “why”, which will always keep me going.
DRIVE — Do you sometimes feel bad for “wanting more out of life”, and if so, why? What is your personal motivation that leads you through the hardships of entrepreneurship?
Everything changed the moment I had my daughter. It was not about what I wanted; it was about wanting the best for her. She is my motivation every single day. I want to provide for her, but I also want to show her that we keep showing up. We keep showing up in both the good and the hard days.
YOU — Is there anything you would like to share that we have not asked you here?
For a long time, there has been a belief that “babies are resilient” and while some of that is absolutely true, it discounts the effect that trauma, drug exposure, and neglect can have on both the baby and their brain. By the time a child is three years old, 85% of their brain is formed. So, the ages of 0–3 are critical in every single way. We need more programs, more funding, more awareness, more support to be brought to this age group and the families supporting these amazing little ones.
Follow The Ollie World on Instagram.
Demee Koch about the MEDIUM interview series on CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP:
Conscious entrepreneurship for me is about building a sustainable business that values and respects the resources used and makes an effort of giving back to society.
I believe we need entrepreneurs to really get involved in the causes close to their heart.
This is why I reach out to entrepreneurs that aim for more than generating profit. With this interview, I aim to share entrepreneurial purpose-led passion to inspire others.
Looking forward to learn from you. Reach out to me via LinkedIn.