Pillow Talk: Local inventor creates product to aid aging and recovering chests

TRAVERSE CITY – Six years ago, Rebecca Mann Kass overheard her mom's friend complaining about upper chest wrinkles as she aged. That's when the Traverse City native came up with the idea of a contoured memory foam pillow that women sleep with between their breasts. Last month, after countless meetings with an attorney, an accountant and an advertising agency, Mann Kass debuted Bosombuddy.

"I decided to take a risk and finally run with it," says the entrepreneur. "It has been a lot of fun and very rewarding." In its first week, the company sold 50 Bosombuddy pillows.

Starting up a business has also been a lot of hard work, which included testing 25 different prototypes and conducting consumer research. However, Mann Kass' hard work paid off when she realized there were large numbers of women who could benefit from her product, not just those worried about wrinkly cleavage.

"I heard several stories about pregnant women not being able to sleep because their breasts were so sore," she explains. "My product can help relieve that pain." One testimonial on the company's website reads, "During my pregnancy I found the only way I could sleep was to sleep on my side with socks between my breasts, until I found Bosombuddy."

Another user writes, "The Bosombuddy has helped significantly prevent the development of chest wrinkles. Just like using my wrinkle cream on my eyes, it's part of my nightly routine now."

Mann Kass adds the compact, curved pillow is also ideal for women who have a C-cup or larger, are recovering from cardiothoracic surgery or have had breast augmentation or reconstruction surgery.

Along with creating the one-size-fits-all product, the owner says she also wanted to keep it local from start to finish. She chose Traverse Bay Manufacturing to make the product, IdeaStream to market it and Byte Productions to run her website.

"I could have taken my product to China for less, but I really believe in driving our local economy," she says.

Mann Kass hopes more organizations and stores will sell her product in the coming months and says meetings are already set up Munson Breast Health Center and Target.

For now, Bosombuddy is available locally at Thompson Pharmacy and online at bosombuddypillow.org.

Bosombuddy sells for $39.95 (retail) and $26.95 (wholesale). A portion of the proceeds go to Traverse Health Clinic, which provides medical care for uninsured patients. BN