Hi, my name is Chris Thomas.
Above: Daughter Bonnie, me and my son Ashley taken in Italy on holiday in August 2014. We stayed at my Mom's place while we were there.
Anyway, I'm the proud owner of the Hibermate. I'd like to tell you how the Hibermate sleep mask (with revolutionary, world first, removable ear muffs for sleeping) came about, and why I got into this fun business.
Above: Pitch Black Hibermate Silicone Sleeping Ear Muffs and Luxury Mask
I don’t drive a fancy car and I'm not rich or anything. Currently we're living in Hong Kong.
What I do have is a beautiful wife (Libby), two amazing children (Bonnie and Ashley), a loving family, awesome friends, and a line of work (this business) that allows me to spend most of my time with them.
With every decision I make in life (and this business) I always consider my kids. Like any parent, I want to be a positive example and role model for them both. I run an ethical company, I'm highly principled as a person and I want my children to remember and regard me that way.
I have also recently started to publish the company's monthly income reports in an effort to be more transparent.
Anyway, let's get on with the the story... Way back in '92 (just after I left University - I'm actually a Qualified Cartographer and a part-time product developer by trade), I used to work night shift for a pre-press company (http://www.tennysongraphics.com.au).
I'd start at 10.30pm and finish at 8.00am, four days a week.
It was tough going.
Every weekend, I'd try and stay up during the day to catch up with friends, basically resetting my body clock. I literally had permanent jet lag for two years.
At the time, my father and brother ran a company manufacturing foam, and I got to talking with them about the possibility of creating some soft foam ear muffs for sleeping to help block sound because ear plugs were driving me crazy! (unwanted noise was the most difficult aspect to control while sleeping during the day).
They suggested a few things and together we came up with an effective solution which for me really worked.
My house-mate at that time was a nurse, and she used to work night shift as well.
She tried on the sleep mask and absolutely loved it. The next thing I knew I was making sleep masks for her and all her work-mates.
In January of 2000, I recruited one of the best seamstresses in the business and we started to make them properly.
Then, as I investigated the possibilities further, I realised that travelers could use the Hibermate too.
And then one day a friend of mine got sick, so I took a Hibermate into the hospital to help him sleep while he recovered. Yep you guessed it, nearly everyone on the entire WARD wanted one!
I've been asked why don't I sell the Hibermate in stores? The answer is simple.
I want to control the entire process of manufacture to delivery and after sales support. I don't trust stores to provide the kind of service I want to provide and the kind of service that you expect.
So in 2011, I decided to completely redesign the Hibermate to address some of the feedback we received about our original mask. The main feedback was that there was not enough noise blocking and too much pressure on the eyes.
In response, I reached out to Cobalt Niche to work with them to redesign the ear muffs from scratch. I also worked with a new seamstress who helped redesign the sleep mask to work with the new ear muffs and create a mask which dramatically reduced pressure on your eyes...
Then in 2013, I went into partnership on a project with my friend Dillon and we decided to launch the idea on Kickstarter, just to see what would happen (and have some fun). We set a modest goal of $10,000 which we hoped would be raised, so I could go some way to recouping the investment in the new design and help bring it to life (not cheap!).
We hit the $10,000 target in 17 hours.
Over the course of 28 days the Kickstarter Campaign went on to raise over $110K.
Frankly, Dillon and I were stunned.
We went on to make a sizable batch which are still for sale on this website (they'll probably run out in January 2015).
In 2014 I worked all year to improve the Kickstarter version with better sound blocking, more comfort and better packaging (it's now available to order here) and will be available on Amazon in January/February 2015.
Not sure if you're interested but I manufacture in relatively small batches at a time, maybe 4,000 - 6,000.
The reason I do this is that each time I release a newer and hopefully improved version to you, I ask for your feedback.
The feedback I receive from you is logged into an "issues register" which I then address in order of priority with our product developers, designers and suppliers to help make the next production run better than the last.
We'll keep creating and innovating.
This isn't some fly by night internet company, it's one with a terrific product which I hope will help you sleep more peacefully, sleep longer and help your overall feelings of well-being.
I've been in business selling sleeping masks with ear muffs since October 2001, I receive an astoundingly low rate of product return, which I think speaks volumes about the Hibermate sleep mask's quality, effectiveness and integrity.
I also realise that for some people sleep masks with ear muffs just don't work, yet for others, they can't sleep without one.
It's a very personal thing, because it's a very personal, intimate product.
That's why I offer a 30 Day no-questions-asked-money-back-guarantee.
Purchase the Hibermate now, and if it's "just not for you", then send it back, there's no hard feelings - REALLY! - I want to make sure that you're happy! If you're not happy, it's bad for business - it's very simple.
If you decide not to purchase, I promise I won't take it personally! Instead, please feel free to check out some similar offerings from other vendors here and here... They may have something more suitable for you and they're not as expensive (they're non-affiliate links, I'm just trying to help you out).
Finally, we have our windows cleaned by my very good friend, Cam @ www.camswindowcleaning.com.au and our office professionally cleaned by Melbourne based cleaners http://www.performancecleaning.com.au. And, while we're not a franchise, if you're inspired in any way by my story and want to create a turn-key business of your own in Australia, www.topfranchise.com.au has Australia's top Franchise Opportunities as rated by actual Franchisees'. It's a very nifty idea and worth mentioning I think. My friend has also put together a new information website: travel packing cubes.com. My mother runs a business in Italy - www.Tuscansun.com.au which offers tours of Tuscany, Italy.