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How Hatch leaned on UGC, celebrity love & gifting to go from baby brand to viral TikTok clock

Ten years ago, Hatch Baby was a fledging company looking to build tech-enabled nursery products. By 2020, its light-up sound machine had become a baby registry must-have. But these days, Hatch is seeing celebrities like Lizzo and Jimmy Fallon raving about how its Restore alarm clock has helped them improve their sleep.

“There are not a lot of brands that go from kid to adult most of the time,” said Hatch CMO Eric Pallotta. “They start with a core adult product and they expand into kids, or they stay in their lane strictly as kids.”

But since it began devising its first alarm clock — which launched in 2020 — Hatch has been finding ways to reposition itself. That has required some branding changes, like dropping “Baby” from its name in 2017. And, it changed its brand color palette from childlike pastels to earthy blues and tans. But, most importantly, it flooded the zone with user-generated content, celebrity seeding and gifting to help reposition from a baby brand to a wellness and lifestyle status symbol.

As a result, videos and mentions have hit more than 3 billion on TikTok, where fans show it off and tag the brand in their daily routines.

In turn, Hatch hit about $140 million in sales last year. That’s triple what it saw in 2020 as it made its adult pivot. Its biggest play right now is the Restore 2, a half-circle luxe alarm clock launched in 2023 and costs around $200. It is controlled by an app to set sounds and colors for sleep routines and for morning alarms. Customers can use the app for free, or pay a monthly subscription for a bigger catalog of features.

The company’s recent sales lifts show the power of what organic social media content can do when a brand is able to jump on the trends. Hatch has seen traffic lifts as high as 57% when an influencer or celebrity posts about the Restore 2. It wouldn’t share exact sales lifts, but a spokesperson said there were “substantial” lifts after the likes of Lizzo or influencer Sydney Adams posted videos that included the Restore 2 in their daily routines. (Neither were given a clock or had a paid partnership with Hatch — they were simply posting unprompted.)

In those moments, Hatch’s social team goes into action. “It happens organically, [we learn] that we’re just featured in their wake up or ‘get ready with me’ or ‘go to bed with me’ routines,” said director of social and community Chaia Raibon. “We really love having those relationships.”

Sometimes that means acting quickly — and being willing to go off-platform. When a video of a Hatch user’s dad making fun of the ocean waves sound went viral, the Hatch team saw an opportunity. It asked the creator for the video and set up a new sound on its app called “Ocean Waves by Dad.”

“People who didn’t even know [the viral video] were like ‘this is so funny,’” Raibon said. “We really just keep our ears on the street and do intentional media management and social listening to identify those moments to amplify across channels.”

In another instance, it took a user’s video of the morning wake-up call from Jaida Essence Hall, of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame, and turned it into a paid ad that yielded 1.9 million views.

In addition to capitalizing on UGC, Raibon said Hatch also aims to send products to celebrities and creators that could benefit from it or highlight it in a unique way. The company has long sent celebrities its original sound machine, the Hatch Rest, when they welcome a new child; Gigi Hadid has said it’s her go-to baby gift for her friends. Raibon said the brand is now often tapping influencers in the health space with its Restore 2 to establish the link between rest and wellness.

Sienna Santer, a content creator and brand strategist with influencer agency Buttermilk, said brands are increasingly trying to work with micro or nano-influencers. These accounts boast fewer than 25,000 followers but often have ardent fans in specific subcultures, like moms who craft. 

But whether working with a celebrity or a micro-influencer, Santer said brand success on social comes down to authenticity. Those who are unprompted in their love for the product — or those who are doing paid ads that don’t come with a strict rulebook — are the ones most likely to make content that resonates.

“I think we’re seeing a much more humanistic approach in making brand and consumer connections,” she said. “It’s become so much more about human emotions and being relatable.”

Despite the successful repositioning, Hatch still has a long way to go to achieve success in the adult sleep realm. It estimates that the baby product is in one of three kids’ bedrooms in the United States. Restore, by comparison, is in about 1% of bedrooms.

CMO Pallotta said the current Hatch audience is someone the company calls a “poptimizer” — someone plugged into pop culture as well as interested in optimizing their own wellness. This, too, feeds Hatch’s strategy to reposition itself as a company that belongs in the bedroom of an adult.

“That’s the interesting overlap we found with that audience,” he said. “They’re very social, they love to take a picture and show off that they’ve got this gorgeous device on their nightstand.”