by Tara Brown, Student
My name is Tara Brown, and I am a student at SDCE in Sewing Fundamentals 1. I invented a product called The Sleep Styler. It’s a sewn product that dries and styles wet hair while you sleep. I came up with the idea out necessity – as a physician with two small kids I could not find the time to wash, blow dry and style my long hair every morning. But I was also tired of every day being a ponytail day.
I started thinking about how hair that’s braided wet will keep that wave after the braid is taken out hours later. I wondered if I could use that quality of hair – its ability to hold whatever form it dries in – to passively style the hair into an appealing shape. But when do women have hours to sit around while their hair dries? The answer is when they are sleeping! So I knew I had to make the product soft and comfortable to sleep in. A year and 20 prototypes later I had a patent and a design to take to manufacturers.
The product is a fabric-covered memory foam roller. The fabric is a moisture wicking microfiber, like the kind used in yoga towels. Damp hair is divided into sections, and either wound around the roller for beachy waves, or held flat and parallel to the cylinder to straighten hair. Each lock is held in place with a soft strap that won’t dent the hair. The unique shape allows maximum airflow around each section of hair for faster drying. The plush memory foam rollers feel like sleeping on little pillows. When you wake up all you have to do is slide the rollers out of your hair, shake out your big bouncy curls, and your done. And the hair is healthier and shinier without damaging hot tools.
I knew nothing about sewing when I started discussing my product with a manufacturer in China. I quickly realized that I needed to be able to speak knowledgably about things like seam finishes and textiles, so I bought a sewing machine and enrolled in Sewing Fundamentals 1 at the SDCE Point Loma campus with [instructor] Donna Namdar. I am almost finished with the semester and not only did I get the sewing education I needed to get my product to market, but I now enjoy sewing clothes for my kids too.
The Sleep Styler is for every woman with a high hair-to-time ratio. My invention won the Pinnacle Best in Show Award at the 2015 Direct Response Expo in San Diego, the Fox San Diego Inventor’s Day pitch contest, and it received 99% thumbs up on My Cool Inventions Radio in January 2016.