Sleep is what keeps us healthy, and the most important part of the process is the pillow that provides extra support to improve the rest. Many times, we are tired of waking up in the morning with a stiff neck and sore shoulders because of our heads resting on an uncomfortable pillow. As we age, good sleeping habits become increasingly important. Using a proper pillow helps keep the spine in alignment and ensures a good night’s sleep to wake up to a fresh mind and body. Research shows that good pillows could improve sleep quality by 16%. With many options available in the market these days, purchasing a good pillow is often a matter of trial and error. The question that remains is, how to choose the right pillow for your best comfort? Janice Shokrian, CEO and Founder of Tausi Brands, has come up with a modular comfort and support device that can be used independently or with a pillow as she believes that comfort comes first.
The inception of the Idea
Janice has a bachelor’s degree in communication from SUNY Geneseo, New York. Despite having more than two decades of non-profit management experience, Janice always wanted to be an entrepreneur as she was always full of ideas and innovations, which stemmed from the desire to find solutions to various problems. She worked for non-profits as they had very little staff and money, so it was easier to be creative there with limited resources.
The idea for Tausi came to her in 2018 when she visited her father in a nursing home and saw him slumped over his geriatric chair. Sleeping upright in that chair was uncomfortable and caused him a lot of neck pain. She wanted to do something to make him comfortable in the end days of his life but found no product in the market that could support his head and neck, and pillows and props kept slipping.
In a bid to find a solution to the issue, Janice engaged in extensive research on the matter, which led her to stumble upon a huge requirement in the market for an alternate and better way to support the head and neck. Janice re-imagined the pillowcase with straps to keep the pillow in place, as well as an enhanced foam embodiment to achieve ultimate comfort. Not one to give up, Janice decided to make it herself, and with limited sewing capabilities, she took the challenge head-on. She collaborated with her father in the initial development stages, thus giving birth to Tausi.
Janice believes that everyone deserves restful, restorative sleep, and napping is essential. The market is filled with several products that cradle either the head or the neck, but not both unless it is a specially-molded pillow that can only be used on a bed. She was aware that every person had a different preference when it came to comfort while sleeping. Some might like a feather pillow, while others
might like memory foam, and Tausi as a brand promotes comfort more than anything else.
Not wanting to presume everybody’s comfort preference, Janice wanted to go a step further with her innovation and made a pillowcase so that one could personalize it according to their needs with or without a pillow. The pillow cover, as well as the U-shaped support system, is lined with anti-microbial and antibacterial polyurethane laminate cloth (PUL), which provides a barrier between the user and the pillow. The small square pillow inserted in the product gives perfect support when reading a book or working on the computer in bed.
“We are always striving to extend our workday as workwise we always have more than we have to do. In the process, we neglect our comfort and realize that only when we stand up and our body parts start hurting. With Tausi, we do not tell people how to be comfortable, we just give them the tools to do so. People wind up stacking lots of pillows in their closets as they do not get that comfort in one single piece. My motto is, why buy more when you can transform one? You can use it when you need it. I like to read my book in bed and use prototype-2 every evening. Once you use it, you will realize why you need it,” Janice said.
Janice has had her share of challenges while building a business that was unique and needed a lot of support mentally and financially. This made her care for what others were going through in their lives, and she wanted to help as much as she could with her limited resources. Moreover, a raging global pandemic has left the world topsy-turvy, and Janice was devastated herself seeing how people all around are struggling in various aspects of their lives. She wanted to do something towards uplifting people and give back to the world at the same time. The non-profit part of her venture, Tausi Cares, does just that.
The Road Ahead
Janice has not been alone in this unique journey, and her friends and family have always been her pillars of strength. She feels she has just started out, and there is a long way to go and lots of people to help. She is now working on a smaller prototype for children, which could be used in hospital beds to keep them comfortable.
As a word of advice to women entrepreneurs out there, Janice asks them to believe in themselves first before everything else. “I gave myself permission to take a leap of faith and ventured into unknown territory. I listen to podcasts and lean on other women entrepreneurs who have done it and bounced back from all adversities. We need to join hands with more and more women to grow our network and help each other out. If you dream and believe in it, you will be able to achieve it. I would say, borrow courage from other women till you inculcate your own, which lies somewhere within you. Just get up and keep going,” Janice said while speaking with WomLEAD Magazine.
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