If you’ve been following my blog since the beginning you’ll know that about a year ago I invented and developed a product for babies. My friend was complaining that her baby only falls asleep in bed with her, but she’s so afraid of smothering him she can’t relax – and then when her baby falls asleep he would wake up if she tried to move him to the crib. I designed a baby bed that was safe to keep in the bed with the parents. It has sturdy walls to prevent smothering, a stable base to prevent it from toppling over, and a catch to prevent blankets and sheets from riding up over the baby’s face. I did all the research and found the perfect slope to hold the baby in a position that prevents acid-reflux and SIDS. All this, and it has handles so you can move it into the crib without waking up the baby. Eventually the parents could ween the baby off falling asleep in the bed by keeping the product in the crib. I called it BeddyBye. After reading that some parents use car seats in bed with them, I realized that my product would be filling a void in the market place.
There were a lot of highs and lows. I took an idea and developed into an actual product. I created four prototypes; the last one my cat still sleeps in every day. I held focus groups, I worked with consultants, I formed an LLC and bought the domain name for Beddybye.com. Whenever something was too intimidating and stressful I just thought of how much I wanted to see my future kids sleeping in it. I knew that I would need to get investors because the start up costs were extremely high, however, eventually there was a hurdle I couldn’t get past.
The baby product industry is tightly regulated (fortunately), and after speaking with a woman from one of the 8 safety boards I would need to get approval from, I realized that my idea was not going to get approval. The woman at the safety agency told me that they need to predict and prevent the most dangerous situations such as what if the parents put it on an unstable water mattress, or if they’re sleeping on a twin size mattress with the BeddyBye hanging over the edge. Or what will happen if the parent is a sleepwalker and kicks it off the bed in his/her sleep? These were all considerations that could only be addressed by completely changing the design and concept. Without safety approval I would never be able to sell the BeddyBye in stores, and the cost of insurance would be crippling.
I decided to take a break from the project (over 6 months ago). As I got some distance from it, I realized that I really hated working by myself. It’s extremely lonely. Several times I’ve thought of taking up the project again (I still think it’s a great idea, and when my cat sleeps in the prototype it breaks my heart), but honestly I don’t have the energy for it. I was at a TED talk the other day and a woman who started an art dealing business talked about how it takes delusional self-confidence to start your own business. After talking to the safety agency I lost that delusional self-confidence and it’s nearly impossible to work without it.
I know people have the best intentions when they offer suggestions for working around the safety regulations, but to be perfectly honest it’s a really sore subject for me and I don’t like talking about it. It was very hard for me to give this project up. It was hard for me to focus on the things that I learned rather than look at it as a failure. But I want to move on. So for the record I’m done with BeddyBye.