The day the concept for the Babee Covee blanket was born, Alma Moussa, was heading to former ICU nurse Romeda Arsanjanis house for a play date with her 2-year-old and infant. It was pouring rain, and a gust of wind blew off the blanket Moussa had draped over the car seat carrier to keep her son dry.
Her frustration turned into a business venture, as Moussa and Arsanjani, RN, BSN, brainstormed about a different kind of blanket. “I came up with the sketch and the prototype, and we tested and retested it and came up with a blanket that never falls off, basically. Its a six-in-one blanket,” said Arsanjani, co-founder of Babee Designs LLC.
The women started developing the blanket concept in 2010 and launched Babee Covee in 2011. Arsanjani said the versatile blanket, available on Amazon.com and in specialty stores, acts as a car seat cover, nursing cover, shopping cart cover, highchair cover, stroller blanket and playtime blanket.
“We had a product that would simplify parents lives, save them money, space and time, while always providing a germ-free area for children,” said Arsanjani, who practiced nursing at University of California San Diego Health Care until she had her first child in 2007. She now lives in New York. “If buyers were to buy separate blankets to do all these things, it would cost $75 to $225 just to buy separate items for these purposes. Our blanket ranges from $39.99 to $49.99.”
While Arsanjani said the dedication and motivation she learned as a nurse helped her to pursue this business venture, she admits going from imagining a concept to running a business hasnt been easy. But being a nurse helped.
“Most nurses by nature have a strong work ethic, are dedicated and motivated, and most of all, have a positive and bright outlook. These are all attributes which are instrumental for making one successful in business,” Arsanjani said.
The stay-at-home moms financed the business at first, sewing the blankets in-house and hiring a small local business to help with product manufacturing. But demand for Babee Covee grew, and the partners had to outsource. They outsourced blanket manufacturing overseas to keep up with demand and sell at competitive prices. Since then, theyve secured a small business loan and won a grant — the Huggies MomInspired award — to fuel the companys growth.
Arsanjani and Moussa still are putting profits back into the business, but hope to draw regular paychecks soon.
Babee Covee can be found in some hospital gift shops, and many doulas and obstetricians offices display the product postcards. The reversible blankets, made with cotton on one side and a plush blanket material on the other, are available in different colors and patterns.
Fellow nurse Karen R. Herrera, RN, RRT, MSN, who works at Childrens Hospital Oakland (Calif.) Research Institute, started to use the Babee Covee after she had her second child.
“I was always carrying around at least two blankets, a nursing cover and a shopping cart [or]highchair cover,” Herrera said. “It was so much easier to carry around the Babee Covee, rather than four different types of blankets [or]covers. Also, I only had to wash one item instead of multiple blankets.”
And another blanket benefit attracted the nurse in Herrara. “We learn about all the different bugs out there that can get our little ones sick, which has made me a germaphobe,” Herrara said. “And with the cold weather that means cold and flu season, and the Babee Covee is a great way to keep your car seat covered so you limit the exposure of these bugs to your little one.”
Because of the nature of their work, Arsanjani said, nurses might have one missing ingredient necessary for business success. That ingredient is the ability to take a risk.
“My advice to any aspiring nurse entrepreneur is to keep working hard, build a strong foundation and framework for their idea, develop a sound business plan and then go for it!,” said Arsanjani. “Be sure to also protect your investment and obtain a patent.”
For information, visit www.BabeeCovee.com.
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