In Bed With... Elizabeth of Baloo Weighted Blankets

Moonlit's In Bed With... Series is a collection of intimate interviews with tastemakers, core-shakers, and the people we love. We explore what keeps them up at night, in addition to their sleep secrets.

Location: New York, NY
Current gig: CEO of Baloo Living
Sum up the mission of Baloo: To inspire and support self-healing for all people. We believe reconnecting mind and body is transformational; as we access the quiet place within we can finally hear the inner voice, and be guided by our intuition.
IG handle / website: @balooliving / balooliving.com
One word that best describes how you work: Flexible

What software/tools/apps you can't you live without?

Waking Up for meditation lessons; Slack, WeChat, XE currency converter, Scannable for scanning, Stitcher for podcasts; YouTube for Abraham Hicks - they always say exactly what I need to hear in the moment

Favorite book you can read over and over?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo book cover
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
What's your best time-saving hack?

Delegating and asking for help!

What’s the science behind weighted blankets and why would you recommend them to troubled sleepers?

A weighted blanket molds to your body like a warm hug. The pressure relaxes the nervous system and encourages serotonin production, which lifts your mood. When serotonin naturally converts to melatonin, your body takes the cue to rest.
 
These effects have been studied and published in the journal Occupational Therapy in Mental Health in 2008, Australian Psychiatry in 2012, and several others. These studies have shown that weighted blankets can help people go to sleep faster and reduce biometric feedback, and participants self-reported better sleep.
 
 
I recommend them for everyone because the calming sensation is a very gentle yet powerful experience. I find them to be powerful for resetting my anxious mind during the day; I’ll take a twenty minute ‘time out’ and that will completely restore me.
 

What did you do in your "past life" before Baloo? 

I’ve tried many jobs and industries looking for the right fit up until taking the leap to found Baloo including marketing for an architecture firm, communications for a DC lobbying firm, account management for an advertising agency, executive assistant to the CEO of a luxury spirits brand and project management for Scholastic.

Starting fresh in a new industry was a challenge each time, but I’m so grateful for the diverse experiences and skills which I now have to draw on as an entrepreneur.

What's the best advice you've ever received?

Take time to celebrate, even if you don’t feel like it, especially if you don’t feel like it! It’s important to acknowledge our growth and victories because in doing so we also uplift the people who support us and believe in us!

None of us could do what we do without others, so the celebration is not selfish or self-centered, it’s the most generous thing we can do for our community.

What do you wish you knew before embarking on this journey?

I wish I’d known how well things could go! I was hesitant to expect too much success and was very conservative when we launched. Selling out of was a constant problem throughout our first year and caused a lot of frustration.

Is there a specific lesson you learned or story from your ‘past life’ that you implement at your current gig?

Clarity always over ambiguity. Any time there’s doubt or hesitation about communication, objectives, expectations, or performance, address it. Overlooking small things is how they become big things, and always knowing that there’s nothing hidden or unspoken keeps teams running smoothly without the friction of subtext. In an environment or relationship that’s clear and honest, there’s trust, and room for each person to set personal boundaries. I’ve had the fortune to work in environments both with and without clear communication and transparency, and these were the biggest contributors to my sense of enjoyment and effectiveness at work.

Like Moonlit, Baloo was inspired by Bali. Tell us about this.

Bali was transformational for me. I went on a one-way ticket in the spring of 2017, and gave myself as much time as I needed to just be. It took far more courage than I understood at the time and was extremely uncomfortable. I saw that I’d become addicted to the juice of being busy, of making lists and checking things off, of being part of a system that glorified productivity, but to what end?
 
 
After a few weeks I felt my insides relax and unclench - I hadn’t known that I wasn’t relaxed, until I felt the liquid warmth of crossing some invisible barrier - Bali is like a mother that holds you on her breast, providing a visceral sense of safety, allowing you to set down your burdens and bathe in a cool river--quite literally--there are streams and water temples all over the island. Through this process I reconnected with my intuition, my own inner guidance system, and began to develop a relationship with her. I did this by writing letters to God, talking out loud to ask for support and give thanks for the beautiful things around me. Like any relationship, the one we have with ourselves can be strengthened and nurtured through that intention.
 
When I discovered weighted blankets, I just fell in love. It was a melting experience I’d never had before, but just as profound as the feeling of surrender to Bali. I moved forward with creating a business, through many of my own barriers and fears, with the support of a community of entrepreneurs who call Bali home, and also through the quiet and space to feel the support of my own inner guidance system which was speaking very clearly. Often I think the hardest part of making decisions in life is to know what it is we truly want - so once I found that clarity - taking bold steps forward one at a time was the only thing to do.
 
Baloo is an expression of my personal spiritual journey and deepening of connection to myself and to Mother Earth - this is what inspires me to work so much to grow and share this company. It may mean something else to each of our customers, but what I hear is that people who try our products also feel a profound sense of calm and peace. Being able to have a part in bringing that to people is a magnificent honor, and I’m so thankful everyday that this is my reality.

What are your go-to recommendations for anyone going to Bali for the first time?

Bali has a strong energy, and I recommend to first-time visitors to start by visiting a beach. The water is so cleansing and the beach vibe is more mellow, which makes the transition more gentle both with jet-lag and culture. I like Canggu even though it’s getting crowded but Sanur is very peaceful, Jimbaran has beautiful clean beaches, and there are many more to choose from. (But avoid Kuta, it’s become overly commercialized.)
 
For a sense of Bali culture I always recommend spending time in Ubud. Stay at Bambu Indah’s eco-village. They serve fresh organic meals, the pool is like something out of Fern Gully, and the view for sunset is the very best one I’ve seen on the entire island.
 
Take a tour of the Green School to see an inspiring, purpose-driven model of education. The campus is constructed with bamboo and incorporates nature, encourages imagination, inventiveness and community. It was the inspiration for the creation of Hubud, a coworking space in Ubud and one of Forbes’ top 10 coworking spaces on Earth, and a place where adults can experience unlearning layers of survival focused conditioning to create new businesses from the heart.
 
Check out a sound healing at the Pyramids of Chi. This is about 20 minutes north of town center and they run free shuttles. Sound healings are held every day at 11am and 3pm, and they are a deeply relaxing, and for some, healing experience.
 
Bring cash! Crisp, large bills will be best. ATMs are available and credit cards are accepted, but you’ll avoid potential scams and get the best deals with cash which is easily converted to local currency at any money changer.

What’s a big misconception about running a small business?

I had no idea how much I would work - or how much fun it would be!

What does your support system look like?

I’m so grateful for the people supporting me in this amazing life! It takes so much to build and create something, especially now that Baloo is growing and evolving rapidly. My family has been so supportive, each person has touched the business in some way and offers nothing but encouragement and support. I talk to my mom most days, at least for a few minutes. I have close friends who understand that I can’t be as present and don’t hold it against me, which means so much to me. There are amazing people who have come into my life to offer guidance and advice or make introductions, and that has been so energizing. Last but not least, each person on Baloo’s team really cares, and that intention to support and to serve is what makes everything possible.

Can you take us through a typical day (or atypical!)?

Usually, I’m in New York or LA but I start each day the same. I wake up early and start working in my pajamas - I have some cute jumpers from Bali that I wear. About an hour in I’ll break for coffee and step away from my computer to meditate (I’m using Waking Up by Sam Harris right now), or journal. Then I’m back at my kitchen table for several hours.
 
Our team is remote so we keep in touch with email, Slack and phone. I really appreciate that each person has their own freedom yet feels committed to what we’re doing, so I can feel that connectedness from halfway across the country.
 
We are just entering our second year of business and so naturally most hours that I’m awake I’m thinking about work and problem-solving. Socializing and exercise are two things that have lost out in the last year, so I’m just now starting to add those back in.
 
When I need a change of venue from my apartment, I’ll head to the Wing to work, or use the app Croissant to find a coworking space. I have a lot of female friends who are also running e-commerce businesses, so making time to connect either for coffee or skype is so helpful; of course, we always talk shop but it’s completely energizing and makes this journey ten times more joyful. Whether I go to dinner out or stay home and work through, I’m usually in bed by 10pm. I just love the early mornings too much to miss!
 

What's your sleep routine like?

I’m early to bed, early to rise. I travel a lot but I will often have a weighted blanket with me, naturally. And yes I love sleeping with it!

What was your upbringing like and how did it affect your point of view, career path, etc?

I had a lot of freedom growing up to be creative and push my boundaries. What that looked like was running around the neighborhood, riding bikes, camping in the Texas Hill Country and exploring creeks and thickets, catching tadpoles and fishing, riding horses and feeding cows. My dad had a workshop, and I’d use his tools to make flimsy furniture from wood scraps for my treehouse. I spent a lot of time with my grandmother in her art studio, drawing and painting, or cooking in her kitchen.

I think being free to be so independent and to explore so many creative projects gave me the confidence needed to try new things like creating a business, to know that I’ll figure it out as I go. I’m also very appreciative of nature, trees and animals. Children are so open and being outdoors and observing nature has had a big impact on me.

What surprised (good or bad, you choose) you about this journey?

I’m surprised repeatedly by how many open-hearted and supportive people there are. I had no idea that once I took the leap, that others would be there to guide me along the path. I would have done this much earlier if I’d known that I didn’t have to figure it out all by myself.

What’s in store for the rest of 2019 with Baloo?

I’m focused on building out our team to spread our message further and connect with those who feel our mission resonates. We’re exploring ways to make Baloo’s blankets available for people to experience in person, either in private or in groups with events among community. We’ve just launched in the UK, and will be launching in Canada in a few weeks, which is very exciting. And we’ll be expanding our giveback to Pajama Program, a grassroots nonprofit that gives kids in vulnerable situations like homeless shelters a reassuring bedtime routine.


QUICKFIRE

My ideal # of hours of sleep is: 8
Sleep season for me is: Any time I’m at my parents’ house I sleep so much it’s silly!
How many pillows: 2, one covering my face
AM or PM?: Definitely a morning person, I wake at 5 or 6am and do my most creative thinking in the morning
Fav podcast?: Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness
Nightcap?: Port
Bad sleep habit: Setting my alarm too early so that I know I’ll snooze through it
Good sleep habit: Going to bed early
Side/back/stomach sleeper: All of the above
Mantra: Breathe.