As the well-known proverb states, necessity is the mother of invention. And necessity is what drove Deb Nagy-Bellman, of Indiana, to create My Side By Design sheets.
“My husband (Lou Bellman) wanted warmer sheets on the bed,” she said. “But I had started having hot flashes and could not sleep without cooler sheets.”
In 2017, after getting tired of having the argument with her husband, they decided that they didn’t want to sleep in different beds, but each still wanted the sheets they preferred. So, determined to reach a compromise, Nagy-Bellman cut two of their favorite sheet sets in half and sewed them back together. One half of the sheets featured her husband’s preferred warm flannel and the other half was made from cotton sheets to help her keep cool. In the end, she had created a customized and unique sheet set.
“After I did that, we both slept really well,” she said. “Eventually I told my daughter about it and she has the opposite problem. She freezes and her husband is warm. She begged me for a set of sheets, so I made her one and she told me I was crazy if I didn’t market these.”
Thinking that other couples would benefit from the design, Nagy-Bellman set out writing her provisional patent in 2019 with encouragement from her family. Working full time as a speech therapist and while her husband manages their kennel, Bed & Biscuit Kennels, it took a year to hammer out the details of the patent. So, in 2020, she wrote and submitted a non-provisional patent. As of writing, the patent for the sheets is still pending.
From there, she set out to find a manufacturer who would be willing to work with her and make the product.
“It was a difficult process,” she said. “So many places manufacture in China these days and I had to do a lot of searching and found only three in the U.S. that can make this for me.”
It took six months to find the company, one that takes on entrepreneurs and helps them to make their products. Nagy-Bellman supplied the company with a scaled-down version of the sheets that she had originally sewed and the company created the first prototype.
“We only had to tweak a few things and we then made a larger order, which we are selling currently,” she said. “The sheets are shipped from the manufacturer directly to us. We then get them out within a day or two after the order.”
Right now the fabric combo available is flannel and cotton, with hopes to expand in the future.
“We hope to eventually take custom orders for people that prefer other fabrics or have sensory issues with fabrics that differ from their sleeping partner,” Nagy-Bellman said.
Another current production feature is a slight mismatch of colors.
“You will see the flannel and cotton are not a perfect match and that is because manufacturers never had to think about combining the two fabrics,” she said. “The supply chains are very slow when it comes to material, therefore making it difficult to get exact matching materials. However, once they are on the bed with a blanket on top you don’t even notice it. The quality of the material is so soft it’s a treat to sleep in them.”
What looks to be a promising endeavor, Nagy-Bellman wanted to thank her husband.
“If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have created these. It took the both of us to come up with this,” she said.
My Side By Design sheets can be ordered on the website www.mysidebydesign.com and can also be found on Amazon and Etsy. The sheets are not currently available in stores, but Nagy-Bellman hopes to eventually get them onto shelves and to maybe sell some at local Christmas marketplaces.