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Several years ago, Ruby Russell and Louie Scheel met on an online dating site. But like many long-term relationships, the pair, both senior citizens, encountered some strife: Namely, Scheel left the bedsheets a mess, and Russell couldn't take it.
Not satisfied with living with such domestic annoyance, the couple decided to do something about it—and RR Distinctive Beddings (the home of Stayput sheets) was born. The sheets are designed in such a way as to lay easily on the bed, without needing constant tucking in.
“Our clientele is the high-end consumer who want to spend more time in bed and less time making it," Russell says.
1. Why did you start your business?
My partner, Louie, tossed and turned every night, and each morning I would be so frustrated having to remake the bed from scratch. I hated how long it would take to remake the bed every day. Sometimes I would guiltily sneak out of the house, leaving him to make the bed. One morning, as I was lying in bed fuming about the tangled mess of sheets, I came up with a solution.
Stayput was born.
—Ruby Russell, president and CEO, RR Distinctive Beddings
2. What hurdles have you overcome in running your business?
Funding and our age have been major hurdles. Louie is an octogenarian and I am 67. We are impatient to get the company going because of our age. I don't always feel we're given the same opportunities as a younger CEO would. However, with age comes experience, and we have learned a lot over the years. We're a formidable team, and we're not slowing down anytime soon.
3. How exactly does your bedding work, and what makes it so easy to use?
Our designs are all self-centering, so no more back and forth to see if the bedding is centered. Stayput one-tuck top sheet make entering and exiting the bed easy. The design also ensures minimum pressure at the lower portion of the bed. This is especially good for persons with gout, neuropathy, arthritis or diabetic nerve damage.
4. What would you want other business owners to know about starting or running a business?
Don't be afraid to try! It's never too late to follow your dreams. Louie is 89 and still going strong as a business partner. I think a lot of people believe their idea isn't good enough or that it would be too hard or too complicated to mass produce it and market it. It's so easy to doubt yourself. It's so easy to give up before you get started. If two seniors can revolutionize the bedding industry, then all you younger people have no excuses.
5. What tips do you have for business owners when it comes to launching a retail product?
I think all entrepreneurs have to be crazy optimistic. I mean, you have to be a little bit nuts to do something like this. It's a lot of work. There will be many setbacks along the way, but the reward is to stay the path. It's well worth the heartache. My advice is to embrace the crazy “glass half full" part of you, and don't listen to the naysayers. Just believe in yourself and your vision.