By: Andi Neugarten-Founder of Sleep ‘n Beauty

Up until just a few years ago I was a business banker. One day, as I was sitting in my office, dealing with yet another difficult client, a switch seemed to go off inside my mind. I had just turned 40 and I looked around at some of the long term bankers that I worked with who were mostly older, grey haired career bankers and I thought to myself that I needed to change my life. I did not want to spend the next 20 years of my life working for somebody else, probably in a bank, being answerable to somebody else and basically being in a 9 to 5 position. I am a single mom and I have two kids to take care of. So, my decision to leave my secure job in banking was not an easy one. In addition, in 2002, I had moved to the USA from South Africa. I left a fabulous lifestyle to take my family on a new and exciting adventure as we wanted to leave the uncertainly and political difficulties of South Africa and start a new life in the USA. At that time, I remember feeling as if I were standing on the edge of a cliff. I could have taken two steps backwards and stayed in my secure life in Cape Town, yet something propelled me forward and as I stepped off into the unknown, I remember quite clearly the fear and yet the exhilaration I felt as I created the opportunity to make my life into something entirely different.

So, when I decided to leave banking, it was a similar feeling. On top of that, I had no idea of what I wanted to do. I am an athlete and I compete in triathlons and marathons all over the world. Being an athlete, I am always conscious of health, nutrition, skincare and being in shape and looking and feeling good is extremely important to me. Of course, being in my 40’s, I am passionate about anything that is anti-aging. I look after my skin as best as possible and I am neurotic about my skincare regime. But, I began o notice how my face would be all wrinkled in the morning. The wrinkles would disappear during the day, but I am a side-sleeper. I do not like sleeping on my back. And no matter where I placed my pillow, there would always be lines on my face in the morning. What to do? I tried sleeping on my back but that was uncomfortable. I also realized that I was spending about a third of my day asleep….So, between 7 and 8 hours were spent sleeping on my side, and making more wrinkles on my face. 7 to 8 hours a night is a third of my day! That’s a third of my life, and after 60 years, that’s around 20 years….scary thought!

One day a friend gave me as silk pillowcase as a gift. And as I slept soundly that night, the Sleep ‘n Beauty silk pillowcase concept was born. That night I dreamt about Sleep ‘n Beauty. When I woke up the next morning I immediately checked to see if the website was available and registered the URL. It was meant to be! Of course, I was amazed at how silky smooth and soft my hair was when I woke up. I was hooked. I began a journey to learn about silk and to find the best silk available. After extensive research and testing of numerous grades of quality and thickness, I settled on the finest, most luxurious silk of all, mulberry silk, which is known as the queen of silk. Sleep ‘n Beauty silk pillowcases are made from 100% natural, undyed, chemical free, 19 momme mulberry silk. There are many silk pillowcases available on the market. Some are inexpensive and made from synthetic silks or satin or silks that have a lower thread count, (or momme). I have used the highest quality mulberry silk for Sleep ‘n Beauty. In addition to the highest quality silk, I designed beautiful packaging. I did not want to present Sleep ‘n Beauty in a simple plastic bag. I wanted the packaging to convey the luxuriousness of the product.

I am not naturally a risk taker. I am actually pretty conservative. But I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and sometimes we just have to trust in the direction that we seem to be taking. Sleep ‘n Beauty felt right from the very first moment I thought of the name. It’s been a labor of love to get everything started. From sourcing the product and the box to the design, marketing and business set up. I have learnt so much in the process and I am excited and stimulated by everything that I am learning every day. My biggest challenge is in taking things slowly and walking before I start to run. I am also so excited to be an entrepreneur for the first time in my life. My son just left for college and my daughter will be leaving this year. It’s the perfect time for me to embark on this new and exciting journey.