Putting my plan into practice has taken far longer than I thought. Four months after buying out the fabric store, we moved to Reading, Pennsylvania. Ryan started college in Nebraska and Cody lived at home and commuted 25 minutes to Blue Mountain Academy. The house we bought needed a lot of work, and the renovations took longer than we expected. A job opportunity came along that was too good to pass up, so I entered the work force as an employee rather than my own boss for the first time in nearly 20 years, working part-time as a hospice chaplain and volunteer coordinator at first then as a medical records assistant when the hospice was phased out. The 10 very large blue bins full of fleece migrated with us as we moved, started in the basement, then moved upstairs to Ryan’s room, then back down to the basement, then back up, then out to the shed, back into the garage, and finally were unpacked onto a very large shelf unit in the basement, covered by a hanging curtain, awaiting final transformation.
Even though I didn’t work on it steadily, I continued to do research and development. A friend helped me make several “snugglers” (our original name for them) so that people could wear them and make suggestions and give feedback. The design changed slightly as we took the feedback into consideration. Sizing, pricing, the patentability of the “snugglers” were all studied. Fall of 08, the “Snuggie” hit the market, and our carefully chosen name went out the window. Even though our product is very different than theirs, the name was too similar—we had to change ours.
After many frustrating discussions, lots of internet research and one road trip filled with very silly suggestions and a lot of laughter, “Bookworm Sleeves”, “Sleepy Sleeves” and www.youregettingwarmer.com was born. The days since have been filled with permit and license applications, decisions about shipping, sizing, web hosting, domain names, colors, logos, etc, etc. This has been very much a family affair. My mom provided the original idea and gave me permission to run with it. Mike has been there in many ways large and small, lending a hand and providing encouragement. Ryan, a graphic design major, designed the logo and is giving feedback on the website. Cody, a photography major, has taken photos for it. My husband, Mike, has always had confidence in me and cheered me on. My sister has a great business head and continues to be a valuable resource. My friends have been very supportive as well. But much of the impetus has come from those who have tried one of the “Sleeves” on and had the same response that I first had… “Ah-h-h-h!”
(to be continued…)