It all began when my husband and I were on our return flight home from an overseas holiday. Flying home to Australia on an overnight flight was one of my worst experiences, due to the lack of sleep and most uncomfortable flight ever. I didn’t have a travel pillow with me, as I have never been able to find a travel pillow that supports your neck and head.
We didn’t get any sleep at all, and tossed uncomfortably from side to side, trying to get some rest and support, but to no avail. Arriving home, with stiff and painful neck and back, I promised myself to design/invent a deluxe travel pillow that worked.
My first thoughts were, ‘what does a travel pillow need to do’. Well this is pretty easy to answer. It has to provide total lateral head support. As a Registered Nurse I appreciated the importance of neck alignment and good posture, therefore this was also a major consideration during my design. These issues were the main requirements of a travel pillow. Whether this is for kids or adults, our needs are the same. Head support, no more stiff and painful necks while sleeping during travel.
Over the next few weeks I put some serious thought into possible designs and solutions. Sketching and writing down ideas and asking for feedback from family, friends and colleagues. I even had my husband on the lounge room floor tracing the shape and size of his head, neck and shoulders to get a pattern. After a lot of amended drawings and discussions I chose my final design, purchased fabric and began sewing my first travel pillow prototype. I was then at a dilemma of what to use for the actual head supports.
I knew it had to be inflatable as I wanted the travel pillow to be compact and light-weight. I needed inflatable cylinders for this, but of course you can’t buy such things off the shelf, especially with custom measurements, so I had to improvise. I came up with the idea of cutting up kids swimming arm floaties to use as the side inflatable supports. This idea didn’t really ‘cut-it’ even though it gave me a great feeling of, “yes this is possible”, I just have to find all the right components. I then improvised once again and bought round cylinder shaped foam in the correct size and shape, just to get the idea of how it would all sit together. Once again, I was inspired and enthused about the possibilities, and embarked on the massive task searching for a manufacturer of inflatable PVC products and a pillow cover to hold the side supports. This is a story on its own.
Over the next months, turning into years, due to work and having other commitments, my plans and progress lost momentum. But I constantly thought about my project and took every opportunity I could, to do more research, knowing that one day I was going to launch a unique travel pillow that worked.
Time passed and fortunately my working situation as a Registered Nurse changed, which allowed me to spend every spare minute on my dream, researching, designing and organising the manufacturing of the components for my travel pillow. I regained momentum, enthusiasm and passion as I could now foresee my dream, hard work and time all being worthwhile, as now my TravelComfort Travel Pillow was destined for mass production.