Sleep. Something that everyone does but most likely does not get enough of. How many of us lie down in bed only to flip through Instagram or Facebook before completely checking out. Sadly enough getting into bed does not allow us to permanently disconnect from our gadgets. With smart-phones, ipads, and laptops we are now taking technology to bed with us. But what if taking technology to bed actually started to work for us. Well that is exactly what Alexandra Zatarain, Co-Founder of Luna hopes her company does for consumers.
Alexandra who grew up in Tijuana has seen what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. From watching her father mastermind his own career to having a genuine interest in improving the lives of all people, she has the drive needed to take her to the top. Check out our interview with Alexandra to get a deeper look at the extraordinary woman she is!
TEW: As a young girl growing up what career aspirations did you have?
Alexandra: I always wanted to be an entrepreneur because I wanted to have a big impact in the world while having control of my life decisions. My dad was an entrepreneur so I grew up around that and admired the way entrepreneurs take things from nothing to something. At the same time I was inspired by the resilience they have to keep moving forward despite minor setbacks. I was also a big admirer of strong female leaders like Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey. They always served as role models for my career, mixing studies in communications and politics as they are both my passions.
TEW: What made you move to the USA and why did you choose to launch your business in San Francisco?
Alexandra: I was born in San Diego but grew up in Tijuana as my family is from there. I always dreamed of moving to NY and “making it’ there.” It just seemed like the right place for me. So after college I moved to NY. But Luna, my current company, required me to move to San Francisco because of the industry we are in. Half of the company founders also live here so we made the decision that was right for the business.
TEW: What is Luna and where did you get the inspiration to launch your business?
Alexandra: Luna is a Silicon Valley-based technology company on a mission to change the future of sleep through innovative non-wearable tech. Creating the first smart mattress cover that makes any bed smart, this product has the ability to monitor heart rate, sleep phases, breathing rate, and more. Luna is able to improve your sleep experience and ensure you’re well rested. Analyzing your body’s reactions while asleep, the smart mattress cover adjusts to your needs by altering its temperature to both you and your partner’s liking and communicates with your home’s smart devices – so you wake up to the smell of fresh brewed coffee and a well lit room.
TEW: Tell us about your interest in technology and passion to bring it into the everyday lives of consumers.
Alexandra: When I decided to leave my job in New York to launch Luna it was with the conviction that this product would change lives. My dad had just passed away from terminal cancer and I saw how his life deteriorated and how my mom and brother had to deal with the complications of working while still taking care of him.
Because I lived far from home I always felt guilty for not having a way to help my family take better care of my dad. If we would have had a Luna during those months my dad wouldn’t have had to sleep covered in heavy blankets that made it impossible for him to move, since that was the only way to keep him warm as he lost strength and natural body heat.
If we would have had this product my mom and brother could have monitored my dad remotely, feeling a little more secure while they were out at work. It just all struck me as how much we can all make an impact if we set out to build the products and services we need. I have heard many stories now of customers facing similar situations and I see Luna as a product that goes beyond a gadget… it can truly impact someone’s life. And it is my passion to advocate for life improvement.
TEW: What healthy habits are being formed to help consumers get a better nights rest.
Alexandra: It makes you more aware of your sleep, which is the first and most important step. It also helps you truly relax in bed with this feeling of warmth and disconnection from the world as your bedtime routine activities can be taken care of on your behalf. We have heard from beta testers that are couples that it has helped with managing different temperatures in the bed and avoiding fights over blanket-hogging!
TEW: What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur? Your least favorite?
Alexandra: My favorite thing is having the freedom to shape your life while impacting someone else’s. It is a give and get: the harder you work the more rewarding it is. My least favorite is that it is really hard! No Pinterest-like quote out there will ever summarize how tough being an entrepreneur is. But it is all about enjoying your own journey and continuing to think of the impact you are having in the world as you live your own dream.
TEW: If an expat woman has a great business idea, what are the three most important steps she needs to take to launch her business?
Alexandra: First, leverage your network. Meet with people and talk about your idea so you get a sense of the reaction in the public. Second, do your research, study what is out there and what is not. Third and most importantly: make sure you are really passionate about this idea and that you see yourself working on this idea for ten years. If you don’t, maybe you shouldn’t jump into it that quickly. Take your time, the right aha-moment will arrive. Passion has to come from within, don’t push it just to be a business owner. Owning a business is far more than your name on the marquee. It has to feel right.
TEW: What three things do you like about the USA?
Alexandra: How open people are in cities like NY and SF. How hard working people are: they truly believe that if you work hard you can make it. And it is still that ‘american dream’ that continues to move this country forward. The sense of community in neighborhoods and how in times of need, people will be there to lend a hand.
TEW: What three things have you found most different in the US from your home country that have also been difficult to adjust to?
Alexandra: Food, dance, and the sense of family. In Mexico family is always first and we have very big families, so I definitely miss that! In the US family seems to not always be blood relatives, but it is a bigger sense of friends and a family you choose.
TEW: What are three fun or interesting facts about your home country?
Alexandra: Caesar salad was invented in Tijuana (where I am from!). Mexico is home to over 30 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and it is an amazing country to visit. The Tijuana-San Diego border is the most transited border crossing in the world!
TEW: What is your favorite quote?
Alexandra”It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always.” Oprah Winfrey. – Have so many could keep going forever!
Writing by Alexandra Zatarain and Martina Trejo
Photos courtesy of Alexandra Zatarain