I am a light-sensitive sleeper who once used traditional sleep masks that always fell off with the first turn on my pillow. When the sun came up at 6:00, I was awake with the birds. In frustration, I would press my face into pillows and or bury myself under blankets – close to having oxygen deprivation. One day, I put an inverted t-shirt on my head. Yes, I did! The neck hole fit perfectly over my face, just above my nose so I could breath. The rest of the shirt flopped up out of the way. It worked! And I did this for about a year, always thinking,”This is something but it could be better if the ribbed neck fabric was softer and the fit less floppy.”
I started to sketch things out and then moved to paper patterns. Once I had what I thought was a good design, I went out to find the most comfortable fabric, one that you would want next to your skin and quickly found that bamboo (that hard material they use to make scaffolding in Asia) can also be a delightfully soft, breathable and anti-microbial fabric. Perfect – except that it is fairly expensive. I made a couple for myself and found it worked like the t-shirt, but better – much better!
I told some friends about it and they were curious but thought perhaps that I was crazy as well. It was just before Christmas and I decided to make 30 and give them to friends and family. The first design was very much like it is now – kind of like a old time sleeping cap except you pull it down over your eyes.
Everyone was pleased to receive his or her own proto Nite Hood™ and as weeks passed; I heard back some very positive responses; “This is a product” or “You need to patent this!” These were encouraging notes but I wasn’t all that sure about building my own product and business. I crunched some numbers and sat on it for a few months.
One day while sniffing around at Designer Fabric Outlet on Queen Street West in Toronto, I found 150 yards of very nice Bamboo fabric on sale at a crazy low price. I made a few samples with it – washed it – wore it and it performed very well. I went back the next day and bought the whole lot as I saw this as a sign to move forward. Even the guy at the cash was shocked at the price and said that I would never find this price again.
I was lucky enough to find a small factory that could sew my pattern at a decent price. I designed an eCommerce website and packaging and had things ready for the next Christmas. Needless to say it went surprisingly well and things grew.
A bit later, I found a local knitting mill that made the best bamboo fabric I have ever seen. This new relationship also allowed me to understand the nature of Lycra and how to apply it for best results to the bamboo. This made a huge difference, one that I wouldn’t have found if I had been importing the fabric. Every detail that goes into the Nite Hood™ has been considered and refined for the best sleep possible. It is a product designed, knit, sewn and distributed all in Canada.
As a product, the Nite Hood™ is a very simple and effective idea. People like it, the business continues to grow and I still hear very encouraging things from happy sleepers all over the world! If you have any thoughts or questions about the Nite Hood™, I would love to hear from you. Thanks.
Nite Hood Test Pilot and Designer