Although she began in Brooklyn, it wasn’t until mother of three Dominique de Bourgknecht relocated to Westchester in 2016 that her unique line of sleepwear really took off. It was a dearth of options for her own child that first fomented the concept of a comfortable sack in which she could keep her child warm.
“We were living in Brooklyn and I was on maternity leave with my first born Adrian [now 8],” recalls de Bourgknecht. “His nursery was the draftiest room of the house and I quickly began a search for a sleep pouch like the ones I saw growing up in France… All I could find were expensive European brands with impractical designs and lower end micro-fleece products, which were not warm or durable enough.”
At the same time de Bourgknecht noticed this hole in the market, she also happened to be searching for a new job. “My maternity leave was quickly coming to an end and the company I had been working for was about to go under — this was during the recession,” she recalls. “I took this as a career calling and set out to make my own baby sleeping pouch. After traveling to India to find the best fabrics with an array of rich color prints, I created the first sleep sack in 2009 that my oldest son used. It was a hit! And my other two children followed in the sleep sacks as well. Thus, Baby DeeDee came to be.”
The company started with its flagship sleep sack, which, according to de Bourgknecht, was designed to allow her baby to fall asleep in her arms and then be safely transferred to a crib. A shoulder snap and central zipper design made the transfer possible. “I also designed the sleep sack to be breathable,” notes de Bourgknecht. “Through my research I found that if a fabric doesn’t breathe it will make babies and toddlers sweaty and then cold. Our loose quilted filling is both comforting and breathable.“
Baby DeeDee now offers a whole range of products beyond their sleep nest, including pajamas with a zipper in between the legs for quick and easy diaper changes as well as a full bedding line. The company is also swiftly growing from its office in Port Chester.
“We have about 100 smaller retailers across the country and our products are sold at BuyBuy Baby, Amazon, Diapers.com, and Target.com,” says de Bourgknecht. “We are expanding geographically, we now have a presence in China and South Korea and we are working on Europe.” According to de Bourgknecht, the company now generates upwards of 1,400 orders monthly. “We are also a global brand, so many of our orders come internationally and this fluctuates month to month,” she adds.
Baby DeeDee currently employs 11 people — two full time in the Westchester office and nine working remotely from New Jersey to Brooklyn. This includes IT, accounting, packaging, public relations, and other services.
A large part of de Bourgknecht’s success can be chalked up to her relocation to the county. “When I moved to Westchester, two stores picked it up locally,” she says. “A woman who was desperate to get some sleep and about to hire a sleep consultant to help, purchased our sleepsack. Her baby slept through the night in the sleep nest and she cancelled the sleep consultant! Having moved to Westchester from Brooklyn, I have been surprised by how dynamic the region is. I have also met many fellow women entrepreneurs in Rye, there is a lot of networking going on.”
The price for an average offering is about $40. Ahead, de Bourgknecht plans to further expand the company’s presence overseas while developing BabyDeeDee’s range of products. “We will continue to offer new products in the baby space, our next planned launch is a bootie line later this summer,” she says. “Stay tuned!”