When Spanish Springs resident Ruby Russell met Louis Scheel they found more than companionship—the pair stumbled upon an idea to market their own line of bedding.
It all started about two and a half years ago. Russell, 64, was looking for friendship. Scheel, 87, a former aircraft engineer from Minden, was looking for an acquaintance after his wife died. After meeting on Match.com, the two blossomed into what Russell called the “real odd couple.”
Yet in spite of age difference, they both kept a busy retirement. One day Scheel went to visit his daughter’s house to build a backyard deck. After stepping down a ladder, he missed a step and fell on his back. He was not injured. In fact, he finished building the deck several days later. But his back problems later progressed. He struggled getting up in the morning and making his bed. He’d often get his toes stuck in the bottom of the sheets.
Russell said she felt guilty at times sneaking out of the room to leave him to make the bed. So, she decided to find new ways for him to make a bed easier without him stooping or bending over. She found that conventional sheets were too short. That’s when she took her own sheet and sewed it together with a piece of another sheet. After a little brain storming and refinement she and her partner made plans for their own brand of sheets.
During her research, Russell discovered that sheet technology hasn’t changed since 1959. That’s when someone first patented the idea for the fitted sheet. She also discovered that 60 percent of people disliked having their feet tucked in the sheets.
“With our sheets instead of having to do the ‘hospital corners, where you have to lift the mattress on each side, you only have to tuck the very bottom so it really simplifies making the bed,” Russell said. “This means no more moving from side to side to make the bed because with our sheet technology, everything is self-centered and stays that way.”
She explained that bed making normally requires seven steps from lifting the mattress from each side and tucking in the corners of the sheet. But she said that sheets do not always stay in place with this old traditional way. That’s why she said they named their new bedding idea ‘Stayput,’ because everything stays into place.
She said this sheet can help anyone make a bed easier and faster. In fact, she said she can now make hers in 30 seconds. With the new sheet, Scheel has also improved his bed-making skills since hurting his back.
After patenting their idea, Scheel said they both sent out hundreds of e-mails to fabric mills around the world to find the proper cloth at an affordable price. But none of the U.S responded. After calls to Egypt and India, they finally settled on a fabric manufacturer in China.
Next, they searched for someone to sew the cloth together.
“After three months we finally got a call from the only manufacturer in Turkey that specialized in making hospital bedding,” Scheel said. “The fabric had to be made to order.”
They are waiting for their first batch of 350 sheets so they can begin selling their Stayput bedding on their web site to consumers. Eventually they want to produce a variety of different sizes and styles of bedding sheets. They’re also targeting hotels, weddings and birthday celebrations with specialized monographed names and messages.
“Our biggest goal is to go upscale where our sheets can appeal to a wide variety of people,” Scheel said.