To say Mel Wood is busy is an understatement. Mel created Fidgetbum™ five years ago and hasn’t looked back since. Her business is going from strength to strength and has become invaluable to different groups of people who struggle with sleep.
With such a growing business comes a busy schedule and when you have kids, as Mel does, getting everything done can become a struggle. As always sleep can become something that is chased as well. Mel chatted with me about how she manages everything. She also gave me her top tips for if you’re on the same path as she is.
I called Mel for a chat on a Monday morning and I started by asking her how she sleeps.
I’m a very light sleeper and because I go to bed with so much on my mind, I don’t switch off sometimes. I go running three times a week, running or power walking, because it clears my head and it energises me. I don’t know how I would do it otherwise.
Sometimes, people say to me, ”You need to rest; you need to rest.” Yes, I do agree, but it’s easier said than done sometimes because if I rest, things don’t get done, so I can’t switch off.
I try to.
It’s juggling the dynamics of home life, the kids, the business, everything. I think it’s so important that I am Melanie sometimes, rather than a mum, wife or a business owner. It’s important that you don’t lose your identity because, otherwise, you get so wrapped up and so absorbed with everybody else and everything else that’s going on in your life that you forget about you, your wellbeing.
How do you manage your day to day, fitting in family as well as everything you need to do?
I work on adrenaline because my life is juggling, juggling, juggling.
You think it gets easier, with children, which it does, but then, you become a taxi service.
My 15-year-old daughter rows at national level six times a week. She does two mornings before school, so we’re up at 4:30 on those mornings. I now go running as well because first thing in the morning is the only time I get.
I’m pretty organised, and the beauty of it is that I can work from home, which is lovely. Each day is completely different, but if I’m working from home I can put some washing on and things like that too.
Tell us about Fidgetbum, how did it come about?
The idea came when I was very much sleep deprived because my daughter, although she was a great little sleeper in the cot, as soon as she went into a bed with a duvet, the duvet kept falling on the floor because it wasn’t long enough to tuck under the mattress.
This used to happen at least ten times a night and she’d call out for me because she couldn’t grasp the concept of picking the duvet up and putting it over herself. Literally, all night, every night.
I made the first-ever Fidgetbum with her snuggle blanket, and it worked. From the day that I first made it and used it, she started to sleep through.
That’s when I was thinking, ”Oh my goodness, I’ve come up with this solution for my daughter. I want to be able to help other families because I’m sure that there are other families in a very similar situation.”
And you’ve helped a lot of families so far.
Social media has taken me down a route that I never even thought of, and that’s helping children with disabilities. Not just children, adults as well. I’ve gone from what was a solution for kicking off the duvet to so many families using my product for different sleep issues.
For children with autism, Fidgetbum can be used as a natural sleep aid rather than using medication.
Now there are other sizes as well. I do single, toddler, double bed, king-size, bespoke sizes as well. We’ve done a few case-studies with older people too, and it made a difference for them as well. Although we don’t call it Fidgetbum when it’s used with older generations!
Do you have any help with the business at all?
I have Claire, who does PR for me and I’ve got somebody who does Instagram posts for me because that’s a full-time job in itself. I engage with my customers which takes up a lot of time.
This is where, by the time people are settled with their phone, it’s nine o’clock, ten o’clock at night, and that’s when I go on to my phone and I engage with my customers. I shouldn’t really do that because that’s when I end up not sleeping very well, but it’s important to me to engage with the people who are using the product.
My day is stop-start, stop-start. I pick the girls up from school and then head home to make dinner, and then I end up working in the evening. I don’t sit and watch TV anymore, there’s no time to do that. Sometimes I get downtime, but I always say there’s just not enough hours in the day. But I don’t want any more hours because I think I’ll feel even more tired!
Your day seems to have a structure to it.
Day-to-day, I’m very organized, but sometimes, it doesn’t always work to plan, but generally I have a structure. I try and work a few hours and then pick up my daughters from school, and then work again in the evening.
If it wasn’t for how well Fidgetbum is working for families I think I’d find it hard. It’s so rewarding when Fidgetbum has made a huge difference to a family and for that reason I keep going and going and going.
Do you generally get up at the same time and go to bed at the same time, most days?
It depends on what’s going on. Generally, on the whole, I try my best, especially now getting up at 4:30 with my daughter for rowing. I do try to go to bed between nine and half-past-nine at night because otherwise I don’t think I would cope very well.
I’m not a night owl. I like to go to bed early and get up early because I know the morning is when I’m the most productive. That’s when I feel most energised. As the day goes on I start to wilt.
Do you do anything to make sure that you sleep better?
I’ve tried all sorts of herbal remedies but nothing seems to help. I seem to fight sleep, I think because that’s when I’m most creative. When I’m supposed to be asleep, I’m thinking. I end up getting up and writing notes, otherwise I’ll forget what I was thinking about come the morning, so I get up and I write things down.
It’s ironic. I’ve invented a sleep aid and this is me!
What are your top tips for people who are in a similar position to you, who are very busy, whether that’s with their business, bringing a product to market, their careers or life in general?
Follow your passion, follow it through because, otherwise, you’ll regret it.
Be aware of all the hidden costs that you don’t budget for. Although I have a patent in the UK it doesn’t cover us globally, so we had to throw money at filing patents.
You have to be organised. That’s the absolute key; you must be organised because the days go so quickly.
Keep yourself healthy and well. Looking after yourself is another key factor because you need to look after yourself. I can’t afford to be ill otherwise everything falls behind.
Follow your passion, be organised, look after yourself, your health and wellbeing, but also, I think it’s important that you have ‘you time.’
When you work hard, you’ve got to reward yourself and recharge.
Fidgetbum™ is a tried and tested way to give your child a good night’s sleep. Using comfy, cosy, stretchy cotton fabric, it runs under the mattress and over the covers. Used as a sleep aid for sensory children, recommended by Occupational therapists, it’s gentle pressure soothes and relaxes to reassure your child through the night.
If you struggle to sleep because you have too much to do then check out this article on how to sleep when you’re stressed.