Hubert Burda Media

Dianna Lee: Sweet Dreams with Blanc

Harbouring a penchant for all things beautiful and silky, Dianna Lee has founded Blanc to introduce luxury comfort for children.

It all started with a big problem at Dianna Lee’s home – the lack of hypoallergenic, high quality baby blankets for her precious little daughters. Taking matters to her own hands, the devoted mother begin experimenting by sewing her own prototype blankets dedicated to her children’s utmost comfort for a fun mother-daughter activity they could do at home.

Driven by pure love and fervent determination, the dynamic entrepreneur launched Blanc last year through social media and received tremendous support as the first batch of 50 orders were completely sold out during its debut week. As the ideal luxury comfort tailored for your little ones, Blanc’s blankets are fully hand sewn and made from 100% pure silk.

A force to be reckoned with, Lee is also the Group Chief Executive of Country Heights Holding Berhad and one of Prestige’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2015. Between juggling a 12 hour day job and motherhood duties, her steadfast devotion to her kids has spurred the creation of Blanc for a carefree life ahead.

Tell us about Blanc and what inspired you to start it up.
Blanc is a line of luxurious 100% silk blankets crafted specially for children. It is hypoallergenic, high quality, hand sewn and most importantly, loved by children. Blanc is inspired by kids for kids. My daughters are my inspiration. Baby beddings get soiled a lot, and it was so difficult to find plain, nice, quality ones in crib size. So I thought of giving it a try myself. My daughters Nara and Yana are still using my very first prototype till today. The name Blanc actually came from Nara, because at about 19-months-old, she couldn’t really pronounce “blanket” so she would call it her “’blanc”.

What was the creation process like especially when it came to selecting the fabrics?
I was very excited to get my first sewing machine. I went crazy on fabric shopping and started YouTubing DIY sewing techniques. I created many prototypes using almost 10 different fabrics from pure cotton, bamboo cotton, rayon and many others. The only one my daughters could not sleep without was the silk prototype. That’s when I decided to just focus on silk. It is something that we cannot really find in the market for children. It took me a while to get the best pure silk insert and the right type of silk for the cover. I had to trial wash it a hundred times with different detergents. Silk is very delicate and it is always recommended for dry cleaning, but to be realistic, my daughters like to drag their blankets everywhere and being a clean freak, we almost have to wash them every two days. Hence, dry cleaning was not an option. Therefore, I was very particular about picking this very silk that allows me to hand wash it at home to retain its silky smoothness.

What were some of the challenges you faced leading up to the establishment of Blanc?
Time. I have a very demanding full-time job. It started because I wanted to just do something for my children and it was quite therapeutic for me to sew after a long day at work. But after a few inquiries, I thought maybe I’ll just do a few for my friends. So it was a late night pet-project, provided that I can still keep my eyes open. Anything Blanc related only happens after 11 at night when the kids go to sleep and I finish up on some work. Therefore, Blanc’s setting up process was really slow, because I only do it as and when I have the time. To be frank, it is still setting up.

As a mother yourself, what do you hope to achieve through establishing Blanc?
Starting Blanc with my daughters is a really good experience and teaching tool for me. It is a platform for me to teach them that they have the ability to create anything once they put their hearts into it. They learn about creation, hard work and patience. They learn to appreciate the value of money. And of course, seeing how much other mothers love Blanc and how adorable the kids cry when you take away their Blanc, as a mother myself, I just hope every child will have the opportunity to be draped in Blanc for a good night’s sleep.

What are your plans for Blanc this year? Any plans to expand the line to other baby products as well?
To be frank, I’m still finding the sweet spot in between motherhood, work, husband, family, friends and now Blanc. I have no big ambitions for Blanc this year but to just to let its organic growth take place. We received so many inquiries from London, Los Angeles, Taipei and Jakarta so we need to work on our distribution channels to reach mothers overseas.

Check out more of Blanc’s products on their Instagram @loveblanc