Home > Life > TMC Talks > TMC Talks To Lisa Furuland Kotsianis Founder Of DockAtot
What is the story behind DockATot?

When I had my first son, Ilias, in 2006, I felt there was something missing in the baby market that answered the multitasking needs of modern parents. After combing the market unsuccessfully for solutions that were both functional – providing parents a safe and comfortable spot for babies to lounge – and beautiful, the dock was born. At the core, I wanted something that could multitask, but in believing style and parenthood do not need to be mutually-exclusive, I sourced exceptional materials and fashion led designs that could live in any room of the house.

How did your journey into design begin?

I studied art history at Stockholm University and then professional photography to move on to studying architecture at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. So, there’s always been creative elements in my life. That background as well as my Scandinavian upbringing have resulted in a design sensibility that favours eclecticism. My belief is that all the solutions we make must look as good in the living room as in the nursery.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Finding the time to fit everything in! As a creative and entrepreneur, I am always exploring new designs, new mediums, and new solutions. My mind is like a buzzing beehive!

What does your day or week entail?

A typical day in my life involves struggling to get the boys out of bed in the morning – they have always stayed up too late the night before! I work from home, so I retreat to my office right after the kids leave for school – or right after a workout – and then it’s back-to-back phone calls, approving designs, checking in with all my teams around the world and answering many emails. I resurface after the kids get home and make sure to always have dinner together as a family. I used to resume work at night after putting the boys to bed, but these days the boys are in their teens and their bedtime is often later than mine! There is still plenty of night work, though; when you’re global, your teams and partners are in various time zones. This is not ideal in any way, as rest should also be a priority, but it is the way it is, and I am happy to have such a skilled and diverse team across various continents so it’s hard to stay away from the computer and all ongoing convos.

Was Aristot always in your plans and how did this come about?

The Aristot story started with a vision of creating an heirloom-quality bassinet that grows with families. As children age out of the baby stage, these pieces transform from bassinets into beautiful ottomans and tables. I thought it would be a good idea to bring fashion and style into the nursery for those who prefer the baby to sleep independently, in their own space, and then still leave you not with a redundant outgrown bassinet, but with a piece that takes shape of a statement piece of furniture.

Something you’ve learnt that is crucial to either your job or to success:

Be clear about what message you’re trying to convey to the public and stick to it – don’t compromise for mass appeal or popular opinion.

Greatest piece of advice you’ve been given? And worst?

Best advice is always “Don’t be afraid to take risks.” I always do something I am a little not ready to do. And it seems to work. That’s how I pave the way for things to happen. I stumble and fall at times, but what’s a small bruise in the big scheme? The worst advice I ever got was when it comes to parenting. Any variation on cry-it-out or separating babies from parents during the night was always something I instinctively rebelled against.

Who/what are you most inspired by?

I draw my inspiration from art, design, architecture, photography, and fashion. I take inspiration from the world around me and have been fortunate enough to move with my family to Athens which provides a plethora of inspiration. The history, architecture, flora and fauna found in Greece has contributed to a lot of my most recent work. Our entire DockATot community always continues to inspire me. I love hearing their stories and watching them grow.

How important is it to switch off?

As mentioned, it’s imperative – especially in an always-online world. As much as I can, I prioritise family time before work. I know that these precious days when the children are still living in our home won’t come back. When they are older, I know I won’t be thinking ‘Oh, I wish I had gone on more conferences and business trips when they were young.’ My boys are now in their teens and it is starting to feel as if they’re slipping through my fingers, which is incredibly bittersweet.

How do you manage your work / life balance?

There is no work-life balance, just life. And if we’re lucky, a life in harmony. The life of an entrepreneur is filled with irony. If you’re happy on a personal level, you become more productive and creative professionally. And if your professional life makes you fulfilled, then you’re more content at home. We can’t always do only what we love. But we can always find the love in what we do. And for me, this is made easier by my actual career path; that of the entrepreneur’s – where I am actually at the reins of my destiny (somewhat at least!).

What has been your proudest moment of DockAtot to date? E.g. Working with NHS?

I am very proud that DockATot is being used in a number of NHS hospitals and we are in touch with the hospitals regularly who keep us informed regarding how they are using our docks. Our initial thoughts when working with the hospitals is that we could create a much cosier space inside big hospital beds, especially for children who may have prolonged hospital stays. However, we have been delighted to hear how helpful the docks have been during procedures and scans, especially with younger babies, as the docks help to calm them during stressful examinations and procedures that may cause them stress. It’s also a wonderful tool since it lets them recover and rest, which is such an essential part of recovery.

How do you manage mum guilt?

I try not to feel guilty as I hope I’m teaching my kids a solid work ethic and a sense of pride. My goal is that my kids will feel like they, too, can accomplish whatever they set their minds to. As a mother to two sons, it’s also my obligation to show them that women can be just as much as a force as men in the work world.

Words you live by

Practise gratitude. I daily take a brief moment, sometimes several, to notice and reflect upon the things I am thankful for. We all have struggles in life, across various aspects of life, but we also have things that bring us comfort and joy and pleasure. By reflecting on things that are positive in one’s life, the way one perceives situations changes by adjusting what we focus on. In turn, this gives life a heightened sense of meaning and happiness.

Visit https://eu.dockatot.com/collections/all-docks-1

Based on what you love