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Episode 12 – Shem Richards

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#SeriouslySocial The Podcast

with Simone Douglas and special guest Shem Richards

Our guest today is Inventor Shem Richards, founder of Goldilocks. He details the exciting new product the Goldilocks Suit, designed for new parents to give them an all new way of monitoring their babies’ health. 

Special guest: Shem Richards

Check out our page for updates and teasers about upcoming episodes,

Hosted by Simone Douglas

Videography by Marie Carbone

Audio by Chris Irving

Music used in this episode is “Alte Herren” by KieLoKaz, used with permission under a Creative Commons Licence

This production is protected by a creative commons CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence.

Chris Irving 0:00
Welcome to the seriously social podcast with your host, Simone Douglas. Our guest today is inventor Shem Richards, founder of Goldilocks. He details the exciting new product, the Goldilocks suit, designed for new parents to give them an all new way of monitoring their baby’s health.

Simone Douglas 0:18
So today I’m joined on the red chairs by Shem Richards from Goldilocks suit. Shem, now, this is a pretty fascinating piece of technology that you have in development. And I understand that you’re in the middle of finalising a round of venture funding, Yeah?

Shem Richards 0:34
Yes, that’s correct. Yes.

So we, we’ve got another week to go on equity crowdfunding that we’re doing. But that’s part of a bigger seed round that we’re getting from more traditional investors. But we fell in this kind of environment of a fair bit of uncertainty to kind of ask money from a small amount of money from lots of people rather than a large amount of money from one person. So that’s kind of why we went the crowdfunding route. But yeah.

Simone Douglas 1:00
yeah, that makes sense. And I if there was ever something that is going to be successful in crowdfunding, it’s a piece of technology that’s going to help me be a better parent, I would have thought.

Shem Richards 1:10
Yeah, yeah. That’s the beauty of Goldilocks, like that. It’s very much a consumer facing product. And, yeah, it’s perfect for something like crowdfunding.

Simone Douglas 1:22
So can you give us a bit of a backstory as to what the Goldilocks suit is and how you started thinking about developing a wearable of this nature?

Shem Richards 1:32
Yeah, okay. So about four years ago, I guess it was, we were in the hospital with our firstborn, Marley. And it was everything was perfect. And she was really cute. And you know, we had all the support, we had the hospital. And then we brought her home. And when I walked in the door, and she started crying, and we’re like, I learned all about this before, but I’ve just forgotten, because I’m sleep deprived. And you know, just over sensitised. And this is all completely new to me, and nothing can really prepare you. So, I guess, you know, in hindsight, this is probably my male side, engineering side coming out and like, “right, let’s come up with a solution to this.” And, you know, in hindsight, maybe empathising, with my wife a little bit more, and working her through would have been better. But yeah, yes. So I’m a medical device engineer. That’s, that’s my background. And I work with doctors all the time about giving them information about their patients, how they’re feeling, and then coping, when the patient can’t communicate with them. So I thought “well, that’s what I do. Why can’t we do that with babies? And why haven’t we done it before?” So we chatted lots of parents, you know, to get an idea of “yeah, do you have the same problem? And how would you like it to be solved?” And so the solution we came up with was building into the same, let’s say something the baby wears anyway. it’s not anything new. We’re not adding anything to the process, building into the singlet sensors, which picks up how hungry they are. So looking at their feeding patterns, looking how well they’re sleeping, looking at, you know, their core temperature, the temperature of the room, and then development goals. And I guess our real core thing is just letting parents know, “this is normal,” you know, “your baby’s crying, they could be hungry”. That’s, that’s perfectly normal. And you can understand that. And and then if it’s not normal to say, you know, hey, this isn’t normal. You need to get this checked out.

Simone Douglas 3:36
Yeah, cool. So in terms of the market for this, are you still developing the suit, is the suit developed?

Shem Richards 3:47
Yes. So we put our order in yesterday. 100 suits, which will be part of our pre production run. And a pilot release that we’ll do in November. So the money we’re raising is really defining the commercial launch, all the production, all the prototyping has already been done.

Simone Douglas 4:08
Yeah, fantastic. Where do you expect to be your biggest market? Like, is it gonna be national? Is there a specific country that you think this is going to take off faster than others?

Shem Richards 4:21
Yeah, well,

to be honest, the Australian market is really good because of the amount that parents spend on babies. it’s quite a high value market. And it’s also local, so it’s easy for us to access and most of our contacts in there. So we’ll definitely start in the Australian market. And at the moment, it’s a really good time to approach the Australian market because when you look at all your Google Trends and analytics, from the first lockdown that we had, close to six months ago, if you look at all your Google Analytics and trends, there’s a real spike of people searching for gynaecologist and in a couple months later, harmony test and a few things. So we’re expecting a bit of a baby boom to happen about when we launch as well, which, you know, when we’re still when we’re still social isolating, and we’re still, you know, particularly Victoria still locked down. This is really helpful; helpful to complement your midwife or GP that you normally go to. You can’t access at 3am in the morning nor, you know, in lockdown.

Simone Douglas 5:25
absolutely. And I guess, you know, coming from that biomedical engineering background to where you’re used to interfacing with doctors and nurses. Is the app that’s attached to this gonna equip the parent with the language that they might need to use? If it says, you know, your babies are this; this behaviour is not normal. Go get some advice. Will it give you some indicators, like their temperatures x and it should be y or is it..?

Shem Richards 5:54
Yeah, yeah, that’s a good point. Because there’s no point saying, your baby’s got a high temperature and then just leaving it at that. So we partnered with some local midwives. The baby manual is one of them. And then another one is sleep psychologists from Flinders. And we’ve created videos and little self help things with them so that when it says “your temperature is higher”, there’s a little video from them saying and a checklist saying,”Hey, have you tried, you know, putting a wet flannel on them, have you tried taking their clothes off? Have you looked at putting them in these fabrics instead of these fabrics?” And then you know, at the very end, check with the GP and midwife, you know, if this persists type of thing.

Simone Douglas 6:38
so what I’m hearing is that you’ve kind of created the perfect marriage of sensors and almost a baby manual that, as new parents, we all go looking for. And everyone goes, “no, it doesn’t exist!”

Shem Richards 6:50
But yeah, if it turns out like that, that’s, that’s what we’re aiming for.

Simone Douglas 6:54
yeah, that’s fantastic. If you woke up tomorrow, and you pre launch and everything had gone 100%, according to plan, what will be the best outcome for you?

Shem Richards 7:07
I mean, the best outcome is for a couple of parents to come to me and say, “Hey, this, this saved my life. This, this really helped me and helped me get through this.” you know, kind of tricky period that we have, I guess, like kind of indicator of sales; we’re probably looking at around three to 4000 units to sell over the first year, that’s kind of what we’re kind of aiming for. We’ll say how that goes. Because, you know, seeing with Corona recently, a lot of things are out of our hand, and, you know, supply chain, for a lot of our supply chain on to Australia, in response to getting a lot of things stuck overseas, when we’re doing that. So that should help from that point of view. But that’s kind of what we’re aiming for; what our marketing research kind of shows we can achieve.

Simone Douglas 8:10
yeah, fantastic. That’s a, you know, a pretty amazing first step. But I think also, if you haven’t had kids, and gone through that first child and first baby experience, it’s really hard to explain to someone just the amount of mental angst and uncertainty you go through. So I think anything that you can do that mitigates that it has a ripple effect on the rest of society as well. So if you think about, you know, who are all those people, that those new parents are interfacing with you? Are they employers, they’ve got staff, all these other things, and just this level of uncertainty around their child, that like flows on everywhere else. So that’s really cool.

Shem Richards 8:53
Yeah, absolutely. And like you look at the research and happy confident parents have happy confident kids, you know, like that. It’s just kind of a flow on effect that you think it’s a small thing; coping anxiety, but actually really helps with the development of the child. Yeah, so yeah, that’s kind of what we’re hoping for, as well to kind of help the future of Australia with the future of families around the world really, to be more happy and confident in these kind of fairly anxious times, I guess, that we’re in at the moment.

Simone Douglas 9:27
Do you think that there’s an opportunity down the track, with the evolution of your company to get to a point where maybe you come up with a wearable indicator for you know, preteens and teens around that kind of stuff? like I just (and I might be biased), like I have a 10 and a 13 year old son, but they’re, you know, I notice them having some kind of an indicator of what’s going on for them. So rather than it being for parents, because I think they get to a point where they’re individuated, they’re you know, they You need to learn their own mood moderation and things. But I think giving them biofeedback, about their moods in terms of what’s happening for them would give them a quicker path to that moderation, if that makes sense?

Shem Richards 10:14
Yeah, I can definitely see an application there.

But I think once you’ve got

a product, which, you know, can help someone understand other people’s feelings, there’s so many avenues that you can go from just babies. Disability sector thing, aged care, ICU patient. There’s so many different aspects where you can go and, we certainly have a pipeline with a number of different avenues. And teens is, you know, really an interesting one to understand. Get them to understand their emotions and what triggers them.

Simone Douglas 10:55
Yeah, exactly. And I think, I think the biggest challenge you guys may well have as a company is deciding which ones to pursue and not to pursue, because like I said, the possibilities really, for the tech that you’ve developed are pretty endless. But as a company, the challenge is diverting from your niche too much to a point that you cease to be successful, you lose market relevance. How are you going to balance those two?

Shem Richards 11:23
Yeah, good question. I think it’s just being really focused on your problem and your problem statement and what you’re trying to address. And when you feel like you’ve addressed that, well, then you can play somewhere else. I mean, that’s why we’re really focused on the baby market at the moment, because we feel like we’ve done the research to get the pain point, we feel like we know where the market bulk benchheads are, and we can target that. And there’s so many more avenues in the baby space, as well, that, you know, we’re looking at for future developments.

Simone Douglas 12:01
I love that you’re working with midwives, too, because, you know, they are so critical in that whole birthing process, but also the post partum care. And it’s great to have (pretty much the people that are on the front line) working with you and informing you guys as you develop that product as well.

Shem Richards 12:21
yeah, for sure. We, wouldn’t be where we are without midwives. You know, we because we have a good insight into what questions we had as a parent, but like, they have insights into hundreds of parents. And just can just give, you know, in a 10 minute conversation can give so much better insight, than what we can get from, you know, speaking to 100 parents, because they live and breathe it, and they’ve been doing it for years. So yeah, would be lost without, you know, their insight and their expertise. And they’re also really good at knowing what helps. What helps with the parent as well, because they’ve answered the question so many times, they know the best way to kind of answer that question, which was kind of interesting as well, because when we first started out with the product, we’re like, we the temperature, you know, take temperature, for example, right? Parents want to know what the temperature is. So we’ll tell them it’s 37.6 degrees. And the midwives were like, “No, no, no, don’t do that. Tell the “It’s in the green zone.” Don’t tell them the exact temperature, because then parents come to us and say, hey, it’s 37.6 degrees. And normally, it’s 37.3 degrees. what’s causing this? What can we do?”

Simone Douglas 13:43
There’s a variable. Yeah.

Shem Richards 13:45
And so they say, yeah, just choose traffic lights, it’s in the green zone, it’s in the orange zone, it’s in the red zone. Red Zone, you need to do something about that. But before that, you know, like, you don’t need to Yeah, and you don’t need to worry about it. It’s not something you need to look at all the time and obsess about it. It’s just yeah, it’s just something that babies have fluctuations in temperature. And same as us. Exactly.

Simone Douglas 14:08
Yeah. Well, I think that the Goldilocks Suit is probably going to become the baby shower gift of choice very quickly post product launch officially. And I think it should definitely for first time parents. Thanks so much for joining me on the red chairs today. And yeah, hopefully your crowdfunding goes superbly well. We’ll definitely share it on our channels and see if we can help get it and boost.

Shem Richards 14:30
Yeah, now thank you for really appreciate it.

Chris Irving 14:35
Thank you for listening to the seriously social podcast. See our website for more details at WWW dot social media, a slash podcast. Check the show notes for credits, music used in the programme and more details about our guests.


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