Natalie Rebot is a mother, Software Engineer, ex-Googler, and award-winning children’s product inventor. Natalie is the inventor and creator of the Moonlite Storybook Project, a device that clips onto any mobile phone and turns your phone into a storybook projector. Natalie rose to fame when her video for Moonlite went viral with over 20M organic video views to date. She is now the CEO of Baby Dream Machine, the top-rated children’s sleep device that helps children sleep better and longer.
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Thank you so much for giving us your time! Before we begin, could you introduce yourself to our readers and take us through what exactly your company does and what your vision is for its future?
Natalie Rebot: My name is Natalie. I’m a mother, Software Engineer, ex-Googler, and award-winning children’s product inventor. I am the inventor and creator of the Moonlite Storybook Project, a device that clips onto any mobile phone and turns your phone into a storybook projector. Moonlite rose to fame when a video showcasing the device went viral with over 20M+ organic video views to date. I am now the CEO of Baby Dream Machine, the top-rated children’s sleep device that helps children sleep better and longer using 5 key natural, but scientific sleep-inducing functions. My passion is all things innovation in the children’s product space.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO/entrepreneur when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get where you are today?
Natalie Rebot: Growing up, I didn’t really know what I wanted to be but I was the kid with a million ideas and creating potions and inventions. I studied Software Engineering and then got my MBA. I loved what the future of computers and technology looked like and was passionate about the business possibilities in the space. I ended up getting a job at Google where I worked in various roles for 7 years. Once I had my daughter, I came up with my first invention, The Moonlite Storybook Projector, which went on to be the #1 children’s reading product with over $30M in sales to date. Baby Dream Machine was my second product and it came from a need we had in our family. Our daughter wasn’t sleeping well and I got every possible device known to help with sleep. I did so much research and couldn’t believe there wasn’t a device that combined all the ‘necessary ingredients’ for a good night’s sleep — so that was where Baby Dream Machine came in.
Baby Dream Machine has experienced wild success in less than 2 years. It has won awards, been featured as a ‘must-have device’ in many media outlets, and is loved by celebrities. It’s been quite an interesting path and journey to get to where I am today. My husband and I are best friends and business partners and run our ventures together, which is also exciting and great to have the support of someone you fully trust.
Tell us something about yourself that others in your organization might be surprised to know.
Natalie Rebot: That we are a husband and wife team! So many people are shocked to hear that, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Our goals are fully aligned, we work so well together and we have complementary skill sets. It isn’t for everyone, I know – but it works so well for us.
Many readers may wonder how to become an entrepreneur but what is an entrepreneur? How would you define it?
Natalie Rebot: To me, an entrepreneur is someone who has a desire to invent and change a traditional process/product for the better, believe in that vision with every ounce of their being, and live and breathe it every day. An entrepreneur is someone who is resilient, persistent, and on a mission to bring their product/service to the masses. They are smart, able to see solutions within mounds of problems, and pivot, iterate and solve.
What is the importance of having a supportive and inclusive culture?
Natalie Rebot: It is pretty much the most important thing. People need to feel heard and supported in an organization to enjoy the work they are doing. If you don’t value people and give them the support they need, you will fail as a company. A company is only as good as the people in it and we are so fortunate to have a team of amazing, diverse, inclusive people.
How can a leader be disruptive in the post covid world?
Natalie Rebot: COVID brought about so many opportunities. We launched Baby Dream Machine in January of 2020. Imagine that for a second. We had no idea that the world would shut down and we would be sitting on 10s of thousands of units of inventory. We realized that there was an immense opportunity online to sell our products to parents who needed a better night’s rest. COVID made online shopping even more popular than it already was and we were able to turn a hard situation into something that catapulted our success.
Now is the time to be online, there are opportunities everywhere and a leader will find these opportunities and innovate/create a path to bring them to the masses.
If a 5-year-old asked you to describe your job, what would you tell them?
Natalie Rebot: You know when you go to a toy store and see all the toys and wonder where they come from? Well, I make some of those and my job is to come up with new ideas to make better toys. Also, I make products that help you sleep better and feel more rested.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Natalie Rebot: One of the hardest decisions we had to make was investing in inventory that wasn’t guaranteed to sell. During COVID, it was hard to get retailers to commit to inventory, we had to assume the risk and pay/front-load all inventory costs. We were betting that things would be relatively back to normal by the end of the year. Luckily, this bet paid off and our retailers were delighted to know we had inventory to fulfill their orders right away. This risk put a lot of strain on the cash flow of the business and we had to make cuts elsewhere, but ultimately it was one of the best things we could do to show our commitment to our customers.
Leaders are usually asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is your most useless talent?
Natalie Rebot: This is odd, but I have an insanely good sense of smell. I can smell things from far away that others can not even detect. Kind of like a dog, I guess (haha). My husband jokes that it happens to be that I can detect very bad smells, but I also detect really good smells. I don’t really know what I can do with this talent, but I can tell you that creating our line of essential oil blends for Baby Dream Machine was a very enjoyable experience because they are so scent based.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. If you wrote a book about your life until today, what would the title be?
Natalie Rebot: Such a hard thing to answer, but I guess given where I came from and where I am today I would say “It all starts with a dream…”
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Natalie Rebot for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Natalie Rebot or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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