For the German-born and Brooklyn-based entrepreneur Kathrin Hamm, founder and CEO of Bearaby, launching a sleep-aid and anxiety-reducing home goods brand came out of one simple desire: to get a restful night’s sleep. In her previous life, Hamm was working as a frequently-traveling economist at World Bank, which meant a never-ending, out of whack sleep cycle. "I was diagnosed with chronic insomnia," Hamm says of that time period. "I obviously tried all types of different products and during my research on things that could help me sleep better, I came across a medical article on children who are diagnosed with autism with sensory disorders." In the article, she found an informational nugget that gave her an a-ha moment, about how evenly distributed weight on a child’s body can help them with anxiety and sleep.
Before Bearaby came along, weighted blankets could only really be purchased at medical shops and pharmacies—and they were, unsurprisingly, unsightly to look at and use. Hamm described her first weighted blanket purchase, as essentially a 20-pound flattened-out plastic bean bag filled with tiny pellets. (It’s the same kind of vinyl bib you’d wear at the dentist, but one that covers your entire body.) While the weight of the blanket did help Hamm doze off, she’d eventually wake up in the middle of the night, sweaty and hot under the layers of unbreathable plastic. Hamm wondered if it was possible to make a weighted blanket that actually has airflow, is sustainably-made, and is beautiful to look at. Through extensive research on manufacturers (and a subsequent a year off from her job to potentially get Bearaby off the ground), Hamm recruited a team of knitters who achieved what had previously never been done before: They hand-wove blankets of 15, 20, and 25 pounds in pleasant accent colors like oatmeal, dusty blue, golden yellow, and merlot. No plastics here—Bearaby blankets are fashioned out of organic cotton, eco-velvet, and eucalyptus TENCEL fibers. They look more akin to grandma-style knits than a surgical-setting accessory.
"We launched in December 2018 and sold out the first batch in two weeks—that’s when we were like, ‘Oh, there’s traction.’ People loved the product, the colors, the texture. One day I woke up to an email from West Elm," Hamm says of how quickly retailers were eager to see products and place orders. (In reality Bearaby was then operating out of a garage and Hamm was hauling these heavy blankets herself to and from appointments.) Despite how large-scale the operation now seems, each Bearaby product is still made with a DIY sensibility; Hamm says each weighted blanket, also known as a Napper, takes five people and three hours to knit. The brand now also offers sensory pillows and a dog bed called the Pupper Pod.
Hamm, obviously, is a fan of the ever-expanding Bearaby lineup—and, likewise of her other favorite home goods, she lives for products that blend functionality with design. In addition to shouting out the Cotton Napper and Knot Pillow, Hamm also cites homey items like a 3.1 Phillip Lim sweater, a woven trivet, and picture frames as items that not only bring her immense joy but a sense of calm in her Williamsburg, Brooklyn home (which for readers who may not know, is quite the bustling neighborhood). "[My home is] a place to recharge, even though around us everything is chaos," says Hamm. "That’s how I think when I come into my home. I wanna have it as a place of quiet sanctuary, where I can build my own little days of solitude."
"I love winding down under my favorite weighted blanket, our organic Cotton Napper, and pairing the blanket with one of our color matching sensory knot pillows for the ultimate stress relief."
"I love getting comfy in a sweater and a good cup of tea. I love clothing that makes me feel comfortable and at the same time looks as stylish on Zoom."
"My living room wall is filled with framed pictures. Lots of beautiful memories with family and loved ones. And every year I make it a ritual to keep adding and refreshing my memory wall."
"There is nothing as relaxing for me as a home cooked meal in my favorite apron and setting the table."
"I keep my favorite skincare products next to me on my nightstand. There is nothing more calming than falling asleep with a relaxing scent."
We love the products we feature and hope you do, too. If you buy something through a link on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Get the Shop Newsletter
Smart shopping for the design obsessed. Find what you love in our expertly curated selection of finely crafted home, office, travel, and lifestyle products.