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Monday, May 23, 2022

Strapping In For Sweet Dreams

Got your sheets tangled up to the point they’re falling off the bed? What about when you can’t tell which way the sheets go and waste time putting them on the wrong way – or you can’t even locate the correct size in the closet? It might sound like a stretch, but Gotcha Covered hopes to outsmart even the most unorganized linen closets with its new product: Smarty-BandZz. The “bandz” are two elastic straps that are sewn into the sheets to keep bedding in place, and the custom straps are labeled with the sheet size and arrows pointing consumers toward the head and the foot of the bed to avoid confusion. “We had people asking us for something like this for quite a while. Bedding, I hate to say it, is a commodity and this takes the commodity out of it,” said Lisa Bernath, who founded the Burbank niche bedding business 18 years ago with childhood friend Margalit Grunberger. After sharing their innovation more than a year ago with vendors and clients to gather feedback, they filed for a patent in May 2013 that is pending. “You have to make sure people are interested in what you have,” said Grunberger, chief financial and operating officer. “We have to make sure it’s going to work.” The women started marketing Smarty-BandZz during the Las Vegas Furniture Market last August. For now, the bands are available only for their high-end Luxe collection. Prices vary from $84 for the smallest fitted bottom twin sheet to $322 for the largest set. Lucie Volotsky, owner of the Beds Unlimited chain in Canoga Park, said that Gotcha Covered has been an innovator in the industry for years. “It’s not as easy as it looks to a lot of people. This is a hard market if you don’t know what you’re doing,” she said. “Their linens are very beautiful and quality-wise, they are fabulous.” Gotcha Covered bedding is sold primarily in mom and pop shops, but major retailers such as Living Spaces and Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. carry the products also. The two friends started their business in 1996 with the idea of offering pillowcases that fit odd-sized pillows. They each invested $26,000 of personal money and the company has grown from a home garage to its 5,500-square-foot warehouse and 2,500-square-foot offices. It rings up $3 million to $5 million in annual sales and employs 12 full-time workers. “If you had asked us all those years ago what we would be doing, we never would have thought we would be doing this,” Bernath said. “And now, we really know everything you could imagine about this industry.” – Stephanie Forshee

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