Q&A with Nested Bean founder and mother Manasi Gangan

Manasi Gangan’s experience as a sleep-deprived mother sparked the idea that has grown into Nested Bean, a successful infant sleep and wellness company.

Manasi Gangan, founder of Nested Bean, says her journey to founding her business began in 2011 with a challenge that many new parents face: her baby wouldn’t sleep. As an engineer up to that point, she was determined to find a solution.

Manasi researched infant sleep cycles and learned that babies receive calming hormones when they’re held by their parents. To recreate this sensation, she started trying out some gently-weighted accessories with her own son, starting with her hand, and then with a beanie baby on his chest.

“I started creating something that would give him the feeling of my arms around his body, just as an experiment,” she says. “And when it worked for my son, I created some prototypes to see if it would work for other babies. And we had an 80% success rate with that very first prototype.”

Fast forward to today, and Nested Bean now offers several sleep wellness products that help ensure babies—and their parents—get the rest they need. We spoke with Manasi about how she grew her business and how partnering with Amazon has positively impacted her brand’s growth.

Manasi Gangan stands against a light blue wall in a white, long sleeve blouse with her dark hair down. She is standing behind a white crib.

Manasi Gangan is the founder of Nested Bean, a company that is helping babies sleep better.

When did you know you were onto something with your new idea?

Manasi: You never know whether an idea that is taking root will have any legs beyond the concept itself. So, when I made the weighted sleepwear prototype, I tested it with around 15 babies in my neighborhood. And when those babies began to sleep like they’d never slept before, their parents exclaimed, “I’ve never really had this much ease putting her down.” Or, “Her older brother is screaming in the next room, playing, and she’s still asleep.” That’s when I realized there might be something to this. It can’t just be my imagination.

Who were your first customers?

Manasi: Initially, we sold our products through local retail stores, independent boutiques, and mom and pop shops. Then we went to this trade show event in Las Vegas, where there were about a hundred independent retail stores. Many of them were parents who truly understood what it takes to get a child to sleep. They were our first major customers, and they sold to the end user. Then word got out, and we began marketing with influencers and bloggers.

Manasi sits in a chair in front of a white crib and light blue wall wearing an army green shirt and big chunky yellow necklace. In front of her are some of Nested Bean's lightly weighted swaddles, in various white and blue prints.

Manasi shows off a line of Nested Bean’s gently weighted swaddles.

Can you share a challenging moment in your business journey?

Manasi: We were expanding, getting increased sales, and planning to shift our focus from retail stores to online sales. Then, our manufacturer decided to stop working with us. At the time, I thought, there’s no coming back from this. That was very tough.

So, we paused production and focused on finding a new and bigger manufacturer. During our toughest moments, it can be easy to get bogged down by the challenges, but in hindsight, these challenges are a sign that something fundamental needs to change. In our case, it was the way we sold our products—we needed to get online. So we used the time it took to find a new manufacturer to also perfect our online store and build a new team. And we were able to recover from that.

...Challenges are a sign that something fundamental needs to change. In our case, it was the way we sold our products—we needed to get online.
Manasi Gangan
Founder, Nested Bean

How has selling in the Amazon store impacted your business?

Manasi: We began listing our products in the Amazon store in 2015, which has made scaling our business significantly easier. Amazon has made access to the end customer so much easier. And it has not only made domestic scale possible, it’s also now making international scale possible.

I particularly like Amazon’s Product Opportunity Explorer tool. It helps keep the pulse on the landscape and the competition. And then if you are also advertising, which many sellers end up doing, there are several marketing tools that we use.

Product Opportunity Explorer overview
Learn how Product Opportunity Explorer works, and how you can use it to identify customer demand. Watch our overview for tips on using these insights to generate ideas for new products or offers.

How does your son feel, knowing he innocently inspired the idea that sparked a successful business?

Manasi and her first son are on set with Amazon. Manasi is wearing a white, long sleeve, semi-sheer blouse and her dark hair is curled. Her son is wearing a long sleeve gray t shirt and standing to the right of his mom.

Manasi and her first son on set with Amazon. Her second son, Akshay, was her inspiration for creating Nested Bean.

Manasi: My boys are 13 and 18 now and are both extremely proud of what I’ve accomplished. My younger son—the one who wouldn’t sleep—was getting his hair cut one day when I overheard him say, “I think I’m going to become an entrepreneur like my mom.” That was very sweet to hear.

What would you say to people who might be looking to start their own businesses?

Manasi: My advice is to take that leap and pursue your ideas because there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing them take off. We were the first to develop weighted sleepwear for children, and seeing a new idea take root was extremely fulfilling. It instills a sense of self-belief, knowing that putting your heart, mind, and soul into something can truly pay off. This is definitely a country that is based on that entrepreneurial spirit, and where, if you do the right things, it doesn’t put up a lot of barriers. If you put yourself out there, people are ready to receive you.

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Lola Okusami
Lola Okusami
Sr. Creative Writer