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Pilanky: How a single mum has made $1.1MILLION with her side hustle

A single mum’s idea of all-in-one travel bed for children has led to a business that’s turned over more than $1.1million dollars.

Johanna Constable, from Tweed Coast in New South Wales, launched Pilanky in March 2009 after listening to the needs of parents while selling handmade products at local monthly markets.

The roll-up bed is the brand’s ‘hero product’ and features a comfortable mattress, pillow, detachable double-width sheet and blanket. 

From humble beginnings, the 50-year-old only made $5,000 in the first year and now the brand turns over $200,000 annually. 

Single mum Johanna Constable, from Tweed Coast in New South Wales, (pictured) launched Pilanky in March 2009 after listening to the needs of parents while selling handmade products at local monthly markets

The roll-up bed is the brand's 'hero product' and features a comfortable mattress, pillow, detachable double-width sheet and blanket (pictured)

The roll-up bed is the brand’s ‘hero product’ and features a comfortable mattress, pillow, detachable double-width sheet and blanket (pictured) 

The brand also sells a portable nappy change bag (pictured), which includes a waterproof lining, two hand towels and washers, Paw Paw ointment, baby wipes and disposable nappy bags

The brand also sells a portable nappy change bag (pictured), which includes a waterproof lining, two hand towels and washers, Paw Paw ointment, baby wipes and disposable nappy bags

‘I thought it would be great to have an all-in-one bed with a detachable sheet and blanket that’s machine washable to make it easier for parents to carry everything,’ Johanna told Daily Mail Australia.

Before launching Johanna knew she wanted to avoid returning to her corporate job and provide for her daughter, Rosana.

‘More than anything, I wanted to spend quality time with my daughter and keep a roof over our heads. I also loved to sew,’ Johanna said and quickly started working on creating the product. 

Being a single mum who wasn’t working, she relied on Centrelink payments and said the beginning was a ‘struggle’. 

She purchased fabric from Spotlight and invested only a ‘couple hundred dollars’ to get the business up and running, as it was all she could afford.  

Before launching the brand, Johanna knew she wanted to avoid returning to her corporate job and provide for her daughter, Rosana (pictured together)

Before launching the brand, Johanna knew she wanted to avoid returning to her corporate job and provide for her daughter, Rosana (pictured together) 

The busy mum crafted the handy blankets while her daughter slept and sold the products at monthly markets. 

‘It was a struggle at first and I had to live extremely frugally,’ she said, adding: ‘It’s been a long, hard road.’ 

In the first year she only made $5,000 as the markets were infrequent, but the second year she turned over $15,000 and by 2012 she was making $50,000 annually after moving to the Gold Coast. 

‘I was selling at markets three times a week compared to once a month,’ she said. 

In 2017 she launched a television commercial to show exactly what the product is and how it works which generated $150,000. 

Since then she’s sold the products exclusively online and the word has spread. 

‘I’m quite a positive person so I never thought about giving up,’ she said. 

In 2017 she launched a television commercial to show exactly what the product is and how it works and turned over $150,000 (pictured, her daughter on one of the beds)

In 2017 she launched a television commercial to show exactly what the product is and how it works and turned over $150,000 (pictured, her daughter on one of the beds)

'More than anything, I wanted to spend quality time with my daughter and keep a roof over our heads. I also loved to sew,' Johanna (pictured) said

‘More than anything, I wanted to spend quality time with my daughter and keep a roof over our heads. I also loved to sew,’ Johanna (pictured) said

Today Johanna continues to make the products by hand using her beloved sewing machine with assistance from two part-time women who help with preparing the fabric. 

‘I work 12-hour days, 80-hour weeks, but enjoy what I do and I’m able to structure my days around my daughter,’ she said.  

Johanna has extended the product range and now makes miniature roll-out Pilanky blankets, pet Pilanky blankets and more.

In 2019 the brand won silver at the AusMumpreneur regional awards and was a gold finalist in 2020.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk