S2E9: Joanna Griffiths: KNIX Wondermom on Postpartum and Sleep | Baby's Best Sleep

Amanda: (00:00)
Hey everybody, welcome to another edition of slumber party. I invite you to my slumber party, except unlike the ones you attended in the 90s. This one actually includes sleep for you, your children, and the entire family. Every week I have a unique guest or I answer a fun question about sleep to get you in your family the sleep that you need today. I’m fan girl-ing a little bit because I spoke with Joanna Griffith from the famous KNIXwear. Joanna is the CEO and founder of KNIXwear, she is a former client and everything that she’s doing is amazing. Really, I’m just so impressed with her business, her vision, you know, she makes underwear but has a real vision to change the world. I mean, how many people can say that? I just have always been so attracted to everything that exists, done in normalizing women’s bodies, all types of bodies now, postpartum bodies with the life after birth project. Everything that she’s doing is pretty incredible. I think that you’ll really find value in this. We talk a little bit about her little guy, Cole and his sleep and Joanna’s sleep needs. And then we, we jump into big conversation about bodies, which oddly enough tends to be a theme this season of Slumber Party. But I’ll take it, if you just had a baby, if you are a lady, if you wear underwear, this is a podcast episode for you. This is a judgment free zone. All types of sleep are encouraged. So put on your headphones, walk around for the duration of a crap nap and just enjoy yourself.

Amanda: (01:53)
Hi Joanna.

Joanna: (01:54)
Hi. How’s it going?

Amanda: (01:57)
Great! How are you?

Joanna: (01:58)
Good, great. Yeah. Awesome!

Amanda: (02:00)
Awesome. Well, I’m super excited to talk with you today for such a multitude of reasons. One, you are a past clients, so I would love to talk.. I mean, to be honest, you came to me and your guy was so amazing to begin with. So I want to talk about what you did early on to make him really amazing. And then I that I want to jump in obviously to KNIX’s, and your mission with.. I mean, I spoke to you earlier about this. I’m just so in love with everything that you’re doing for women’s bodies, postpartum bodies, and I would love for you to talk about that today. So I’m super excited. Thank you so much for coming on.

Joanna: (02:41)
Thanks for having me. Of course.

Amanda: (02:43)
So let’s talk about Cole. Who’s now five months, just under five months, right?

Joanna: (02:49)
That’s right. So next week he’ll be five months old. Yeah. I haven’t even messaged you. Coz We’re now at night number five in a row or he hasn’t woken up for a feed.

Amanda: (03:00)
No way. And did I not tell you like when we do it, they’ll just take it out on their own?

Joanna: (03:05)
Yeah. Yes. So we’re at five consecutive nights at like 11 to 12 hours of sleep.

Amanda: (03:11)
How do you feel?

Joanna: (03:12)
I feel so good! I feel like he knew I needed it or something.

Amanda: (03:20)
Well, I, like, I didn’t quite realise that when we work together you’re like, “Oh, I have a couple of big projects.” And you had the, life after birth project launching literally like the day after we ended working together. And you’re like, I need to sleep.

Joanna: (03:37)
Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s why I’m in part, we were helping to, to figure a few things out before we started traveling with Cole, because had that big trip to New York lined up and, yeah, like I, you know, I don’t know how it happened, but this is certainly like the busiest time I’ve ever had with the company. And then also like a pretty big transition on my, on the personal side. So, yeah, when I first reached out to you and you know, he was waking up every 90 minutes and I wasn’t getting any sleep, I was like starting to lose my mind.

Amanda: (04:17)
100%.

Joanna: (04:19)
Yeah!

Amanda: (04:19)
So how many hours of sleep a night do you think that you need to function?

Joanna: (04:24)
I need eight.

Amanda: (04:26)
Okay. Yeah, that’s good. And are you a morning person or like a night person?

Joanna: (04:31)
No, I’m a night person. So I’m trying to wake up right now. I’m definitely a night person. I struggle to go to bed before midnight. And then I struggle to wake up before 8:00 AM. So obviously like all of that is, it’s changing right now.

Amanda: (04:49)
I wanna tell you something hopeful, but I don’t have it for you. I mean, I think part of my hope of having children is that I would become a morning person and it, it’s been like five years and it hasn’t happened yet, but there’s actually, there’s a researcher who’s given people, I’ve talked about it on this podcast already, giving people these identifiers like you’re a lion, you’re a dolphin, you’re a wolf and basically people have like a sleep profile. So there are people who love to get up early, go to bed early, and people who like to stay up late, get up late. There are people who basically don’t sleep and people who are like happily awake, like they’re rare, but they don’t need a lot of sleep. So I’m like you. So I think yours and my profile’s probably considered a bear, nocturnal, very sun oriented. Like I can’t get up when it’s dark.

Joanna: (05:43)
Hm. Interesting. Yeah. Yeah.

Amanda: (05:47)
Anyway, so something, something to look into later. So when we, when we started with Cole, I mean he was getting up, quite often, but prior to that he has some pretty swee t sleep skills. And I wondered, you know, what were you thinking or what were you doing to kind of cultivate that prior to our work together?

Joanna: (06:10)
Honestly, I do not think that we did anything. I think it’s just him.

Amanda: (06:20)
Yeah.

Joanna: (06:21)
Yeah. I mean there we were. I don’t think we did anything right. I spent the first two months of him being born, living at my parents’ house. You know, he slept in the bed with us. Although in like a DACA tie. He was on no kind of schedule. He was coming to the office with me every single day. He was like hanging out in our stock room, in our showroom, in my office, in like, you know, all over the place. There was absolutely no schedule. It was just kind of a free for all. He’s a huge baby. Like he was born 9 pound five ounces, so he’s a really big guy, and so he can like eat a lot. And I think that that maybe helped with his, his ability to sleep as well.

Amanda: (07:25)
Totally. Totally. And I do think, you know, although, so I have two questions for you. When did you go back to work or did you take any time off after Cole?

Joanna: (07:35)
So my first day back in the office and I brought him with me with at five days postpartum. That was his first day in the office. And then I came in like kind of one day a week for a few hours, and then scale back to two days and around like two months, and three days, around three months. And then by four months. And with this specific project I was sort of back working, you know, more, more than a normal person.

Amanda: (08:09)
Well that’s actually a great way to do it, right? Like just slow and steady still having your, your, you know, finger in the pot, seeing what’s going on, but taking good rest. I feel like that’s a good way to do it.

Joanna: (08:22)
Yeah. And, and you know, to be totally honest with you, like I’m in such a fortunate, fortunate situation where I sort of like get to decide if I’m not feeling great or like if it’s a bad day, then I’ll, I can stay home or, you know, I was lucky I got to bring him to work with me and you. So, and I still can if I want to. I’m putting his schedule ahead of what I want, right now. But yeah, I’m really, really, really lucky that like, I can kind of adapt my surroundings and my life around what I want it to be. And so I feel like very, very, very grateful for that,

Amanda: (09:04)
For sure. And I know that you, you know, you’re joking and saying, we didn’t do anything. There wasn’t, you know, a lot of structure or whatever, but I actually think that there is some advantage to that in a way that maybe you’re not going to experience just yet, but you have always valued flexibility and being able to roll with the punches. Right. That seems to be, that needs to happen for you. And I do think that babies pick up on that. Right? They pick up on, I always joke, you know, I had a very similar situation. We did work on my daughter’s sleep early on, but like you, they were really big girls. They’ve always generally slept well, I think that my kids picked up that I needed sleep. So in order for them to survive, they needed to sleep. And I think what I’m hearing for you is like, you needed your, your life to not be, you know, kind of stuck at home. He needed like the fact that you introduced him to many different sleeping environments early on mean that he can, like, he goes to the office with you now and sleeps.

Joanna: (10:39)
Yeah, he does. That’s true. Yeah. I think, you know, in general, the one thing we sort of noticed is like he’s, he’s very chill, he’s like content, happy. And I think we like, it has been a really, really crazy five months for me and for us. You know, like we moved houses, we’re in the middle of a renovation, we come to work, like we traveled with him. And yeah, and I think my life is so intense with work that I like to just have, we have no choice than to kind of like be chill about this stuff, like that normally you can’t, you can’t be chill about, you know what I mean? Like honestly my instincts went there to like freak out about, you know, maybe sleep not going well or him being awake or like whatever it was. But like I also just, I didn’t have the mental or physical bandwidth to freak out about that because there were other things that I was trying to freak out about. So yeah, you might be right there if it like this weird kind of flexible, like everything’s fine attitude is, is rubbing off on him.

Amanda: (12:03)
I can’t, like I say this all the time, but if I’m like, let’s say I’m doing an in home consultation, I walk in and I can get a really good vibe of it. How well or how much the baby’s going to cry based on how the parents energy is, right? Like if we’re a 10 out of 10, I gotta to bring them down a little bit. So I really, and I tell my clients all the time, it’s in my sleep plans as you know, like really your energy is going to make or break it. So you just kinda gotta let it go and see what happens. And your child will respond. But I want to talk so much about, KNIX I want to talk about the life after birth project. I want you to publicise the crap out of all of these things because I’m just so excited. It’s just so great that this exists. And I was telling my husband this the other night on the couch. I don’t know if you saw this post by Demi Lovato last week. Did you see this post by her?

Joanna: (13:00)
No but let me try and find it! Yeah.

Amanda: (13:02)
Okay. So it’s her, in an a bathing suit in a bikini with all her like thighs and cellulite. And she just writes about like, I’ve never shown this before. And it was just, it was a really raw post. It was, it was great. If you check her Instagram, you’ll, you’ll definitely find out. Um, but I said to my husband, like, honestly, the more I see these bodies, the more I’m into it. And so, it’s not that, you know, these bodies are not what I want to see. It’s like, I don’t see this, you know what I mean? And, and I feel like the, what KNIX is really doing well is we see all the different shapes and sizes of women and it’s so goddamn refreshing.

Joanna: (13:48)
Yeah, no, totally. I’m just looking at this photo that you’re mentioning right now. Yeah. It’s like, you know, it’s just so interesting where the world is at because like five or six years ago, we would never see images like this. Like when we, I know we’re about the same age. I’m 35. I think you are too..

Amanda: (14:09)
I’m 36

Joanna: (14:11)
I feel like when we were growing up, like I’d never, I don’t know about you, I never saw that. I just, I saw like you have to be skinny and this is what life looks like. This is what beautiful looks like. This is what happy looks like. And I don’t know, it’s really isolating. Like it’s I love this woman named Sarah, @thebirdspapaya, who’s become like a really influencer in this space.

(14:44)
I know, I love her!

(14:44)
Yeah. And she was writing a post yesterday about how like literally we’ve been bullied by society. Like everyday, it was ingrained in us to be, to feel like crap, so that we would buy the makeup and go on the diet and like spend money on the exercise thing and you know, like aspire for this thing that just isn’t even worth aspiring for because it doesn’t make you happy. So I think that, um, you know, I think in part because of my, my background before next and working in media and entertainment, or being really interested in like the digital side of, of content. I have always really appreciated, the platform that we have as a brand. And a lot of it had to do with, you know, one of the shifts I’ve worked on when I was working at CVC with Dragons Den and I went on Dragons Den and I pitched on this show and a couple of years ago we passed like the inflection point where basically like our email list was bigger than the Dragon’s Den nightly ratings. Everyone was like, always wanting to talk about Dragons Den. They’re like “Dragons Den, Dragons Den this is so huge, I can’t believe you were on that show.” And then I was like, yeah, it’s a big deal. But actually like we have that platform every single day, right now. And so it’s like, for what do we, what, where do we want to do with that platform? What, what’s the goal that we want to play? And I think at KNIX, we’ve always just tried to play this role, which is like, yes, of course we sell bras and underwear and that’s like what keeps the lights on. But what keeps like the energy flowing through the building and what keeps me motivated and like getting my butt out of bed every morning is that like, were here to like have a narrative and create a dialogue so that we fundamentally changed the way that women feel about their bodies. And that’s how we built the brand. You know, it’s like why we decided to use our customers in our photo shoots and to really have them tell their stories, which I think has helped create like the insane ripple effect. Like, like what Demi Lovato’s post just did. Do you know what I mean? If we all do that, every single one of us does that then the world has changed, you know? And then it’s also what, like kind of insane spin off passion projects. Like our Faces of Fertility campaign that we did last year, which is about creating and you know, sharing stories and information around fertility challenges, which are like, it’s so complicated and it affects every single person. And also sleep is really important when it comes to all of those things! And then also I’d say like more recently with the, the Life After Birth project, it all just like come down to this understanding that like we are so lucky to have the platform that we have and what do we want to do with it and how do we want to use it as a force for good and to change the way that people feel about their

Amanda: (18:02)
Well, and I think that’s, it’s really abundantly clear, right? I think I read somewhere where, you know, you basically said, yeah, like you said, we, we sell bras and underwear but we can also change the world. Right? And I think that, I feel like companies that are, are, you know, moving towards that, like people want to get behind, right? And, and you are changing lives. Like I, you know, again, you said we were the same age. I think back to, you know, my adolescence of like the Kate Mosses and the, you know, the, I remember when Jennifer Lopez hit the scene and what a like stir that was to have someone with an ass who is allowed to be out there. Right? And I remember at the time just being like, “Oh good, like I have an ass, I might have an in at some point in my life to being beautiful.” And I, you know, I feel like it’s, I’ve never felt better about my body ever in my whole life then at this point in my life, which is bizarre, but it, I have, it just shows you how I think a lot of our body image is actually constructed on what we’re being told is beautiful. Right? And the more we are told that no, you are beautiful as you are and you are sexy the way you are, I feel like you, you are really changing. Like it’s just such a, it’s a stressor gone or like a part of my brain that doesn’t have to be on anymore, which is really great.

Joanna: (19:37)
Yeah for sure! I just totally agree with that. I totally agree with that.

Amanda: (19:50)
And I, I feel like, so tell me a little bit about how you came up with KNIX wear, I mean like you’ve had an insane five years. I mean I can’t help but like we’re the same age and we both went to the same university. I’m like, Oh my God, we did not have the same five years. How did you do this?

Joanna: (20:13)
You know, I think like honestly when I set out to build the company, if you told me where it would be right now, I never would have done it. Because it would have felt far too intimidating and like, who the hell am I to be able to do something like this? I think like it’s been an evolution and I’ve grown a lot as a person over the past five years. And you just like everyday make ideally progress. And then all of a sudden you’re sitting here like really far from where you started. Yeah, like it, it started based on real human needs and learning that one in three women can leak a little after they, while they’re pregnant or after they have kids, and then beyond when they like laugh or they sneeze or they exercise. Yeah, like really feeling like holy cow like how does this affect so many people and the only option for products, it’s to like go to the drugstore and buy Depends. Like that can’t be real. It just didn’t make any sense to me. So I started with that and then I was doing an MBA at the time. And so I had a lot of space to work on it and a lot of space to like do the research. And so through the course of that research, I interviewed a couple of hundred women, um, and basically like came away with two really huge ‘Ahas!’. The first one was that women were really dissatisfied with the intimate category from a product stand point, like the most recent innovation was a thong and like that’s not really that innovative to move the fabric between the butt cheeks.

Amanda: (22:05)
I feel like there was a huge rumour for like 10 years that thongs are more comfortable and I mean I’ve definitely tried them and I, there will people be people who argue with me, but I’m like, I can’t make this comfortable. Like I tried, I don’t know what you’re telling me.

Joanna: (22:23)
It’s just not for everyone. And certainly like, you know, our, like our lives have changed, like women’s lives have changed so much. The way we work has changed. The way that we like commute has changed, the way, like everything has changed and yet the products that we wear every single day hadn’t, and so I definitely saw this opportunity to kind of innovate at the product level. And so we did that starting with, with leak-proof underwear. And then the second kind of theme that I picked up on through the research was that the intimates category was making women feel pretty badly about themselves. This was the whole, it was kind of like the height of Victoria’s Secret and the angels and like, just like people not connecting with the images that they…

Amanda: (23:12)
How relatable!

Joanna: (23:12)
Yeah totally! And so there was like the, you know, this desire creative brand that was like made by women for women and all encompassing and representing who we are, and inclusive, and like, I don’t know, smart, that spoke to women as though, you know, I think, I think if you look at our brand and you look at a step, you take a step back, you’ll actually see that. Like we really value humor, like I think that people like to laugh, you know what I mean? We value like being honest and real and like, I just don’t really know if there was a brand, at least I hadn’t seen a brand that was kind of talking to me that way that I wanted to be communicated to.

Amanda: (24:05)
Totally. Yes. I feel that a lot. I feel that way about my own branding as well. I remember even before I started my business, I said, I don’t want sleep and like, I think that there’s something very emotional, about helping your child sleep. And I acknowledged that. And a big, you know, my big motivator for my business is helping women’s maternal mental health. Like that is my, you know, always in the back of my mind. That’s my goal. But also we can laugh about this. It doesn’t have to be so serious. You know, I don’t want you to be thinking about sleep training a s like this horrible dark thing. It’s actually, it’s full of light because at the end everyone is awesome and rested and we can, we can have fun with that. And I think people appreciate that.

Joanna: (24:59)
Yeah, I think they do too. Exactly. I think if you approach something, especially like when we, we just did the same thing, you know, body image isn’t like a light topic, you know, fertility and loss. They’re not light topics, so its important that we’ll come at it in a way that makes it feel like people are open and they’re welcome and make like can be part of part of a dialogue and a conversation. I totally can relate to that.

Amanda: (25:32)
Awesome. Well I, I mean where’s, what’s next for KNIX and what’s next for you?

Joanna: (25:41)
Yeah, so we’ve got lots going on! We’re launching a new product. A new bra!

Amanda: (25:47)
Oh yes. I read about this! I read about it because I follow Sarah on @thebirdspapaya and I was like, I want to know about this!

Joanna: (25:58)
So that launches tomorrow. We are bringing our Life After Birth project in the gallery tour, which is, basically a photography exhibit that features submissions from over 250 postpartum women and people, including like Amy Schumer and Christy Turlington and like all of these amazing sort of notable names. But like the stories across the board are just so beautiful and so we’re taking on the road, so Toronto’s our next stop, but then we’ll be taking that to {inaudible} and like a whole bunch of other cities later this fall. And then what else is going on?

Amanda: (26:42)
Oh yes. I can’t wait for this!

Joanna: (26:44)
Yea so that’s kind of terrifying and exciting and yeah, like I think we have that going on.

Amanda: (26:56)
You do!

Joanna: (26:56)
But it’s all really cool. It’s all really cool stuff. Yeah, it’s, it’s energizing.

Amanda: (27:08)
Well you seem calm, cool, collected. It’s all gravy with you.

Joanna: (27:17)
That’s today. I mean, I try to be. I mean I was thinking this morning that I was gonna get like a poster printed, which was like…not one of those lame ones, no I shouldn’t say lame, sorry. Literally like a ‘stop and breathe’ and like, you know, cause it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed, like, and thats, not to bring it back to Cole and sleeping and like that’s so true of work, but it’s like this is actually true of raising a human. It’s just like, so easy to feel like you’re drowning.

Amanda: (27:52)
100%

Joanna: (27:54)
You know? Yeah and so, I think like what’s next for KNIX and what’s next for me is like I’m honestly just trying to remember to take a minute and….

Amanda: (28:04)
Drink some water!

Joanna: (28:04)
Exactly! A little more water, a little less wine.

Amanda: (28:11)
But some wine sometimes because that’s also part of the process.

Joanna: (28:19)
Oh, I’m definitely meaning less, I’m not like, no!

Amanda: (28:22)
Absolutely nothing in absolutes! That’s what I say. Well thank you so much. I’m so excited to see where KNIX goes where you go. Where can people find you and KNIX?

Joanna: (28:41)
Yeah. So the best place to find it is on our website, which is KNIX.com or KNIX.CA If you’re in Canada, K N I X. Or you can look at that from Instagram to get a full sense of the brand and our handle is @knixwear. And then there’s not as many links for me. I’m @JoannaKnix on Instagram. I feel like that’s where I share the most.

Amanda: (29:10)
Where are you building your store right now? Are you allowed to say?

Joanna: (29:12)
Yeah, for sure. We’re building one on Queen Street West and we’re building one on Fourth in Kitsilano in Vancouver.

Amanda: (29:26)
And when are they said to open that?

Joanna: (29:28)
Yeah, yeah. Open sort of beginning like in about four weeks time. Oh so I don’t know when the podcast will air but if you’re listening later, October, 2019!

Amanda: (29:42)
This is awesome. This is all clearly I’m asking questions for myself, but I’m sure there’s some people who have benefit as well. Well, thank you so much, so much for your time. You’re a busy woman. I appreciate your 20 minutes. Exactly the amount of time for crap nap. So we are going to call it and I will link all of that into our liner notes so people can find you, and go have some water. Thank you. See you later.