As the mother of two Michele Wytas knows the struggle of trying to keep a top sheet on a bed.
Every time she would do her final night check on her sons when they were younger, “the sheets would be all over,” despite her having made the beds with tight, folded top sheet corners.
Her sons didn’t want to re-make the bed and neither did she, as one bed was up against the wall and had to be pulled out to tuck the corners.
With those vivid memories in mind, Wytas would come up with a solution that “I fell upon by accident,” and turned it into a business.
Her “Toesty Sheets” – sold in full sets – include a top sheet with fitted sheet corners on the bottom so the sheet doesn’t fall off, yet the toes are free.
Crowdfunding to expand the business
The business is doing well, Wytas said, but she’s launched a crowdfunding campaign to take it to the next level and is looking to partner with a mattress company or other relevant business.
The sets are made of 100 percent organic cotton, percale weave, so they’re wrinkled like grandma’s sheets, she said.
But, “They’re cool and crisp,” she said, and, “the more you wash them the softer they get.”
Wytas has been a longtime self-employed art director/animator, owner of Render Woman.
Her sheet product is patented and she was able to make it all happen with “great” assistance, she said, from Connecticut Small Business Development Center.
“When I came up with is idea I had never made anything tangible,” said Wytas, of East Haddam. ” I put my whole heart into it.”
For the first run in 2021 they manufactured 1,000 sheet sets and she started selling them at farmer’s markets, through Amazon and other online sources.
With well over 650 sets sold she’s ready for more and to expand the offerings, but needs about $40,000.
She started a Kickstarter campaign May 1 and already she’s at more than 38 percent of the $10,000 goal stated on the campaign.
“What I really need is a partner,” Wytas said.
A mistake sparked the idea
The product lightbulb went off for Wytas after she mistakenly packed two fitted sheets for a camping trip.
She had to improvise when she made the bed, so after putting on the bottom sheet, for the top sheet, she fit the corners at bottom and folded the other end of the sheet over.
Michele Wytas demonstrates her “Toesty Sheets.”
” I thought, ‘why don’t we have that? I thought of my kids,” she said.
When Wytas woke up the next morning she was “surprised” the sheets were intact.
The sheet stayed in place all night, she got in and out of them easily and her toes could move while she was in the bed.
Customer and friend Cheryl Haase of Higganum said she loves the product, as it’s “quick and easy” to make the beds.
“I like them because I grew up in boarding school and we had to make our hospital corners,” Haase said. “I use them every day. They definitely have a great feel.”
Haase said she loves that Wytas had an idea and put it into action, as many people have ideas they don’t carry through.
Wytas is also conscious of the environment.
All the packaging, even the tissue paper, is from us of recycled, repurposed goods
The sheets now come in white with an accent of blue, but she’s looking to expand the colors.
Wytas said most sheets these days are blended using synthetic products “laden with chemicals.”
“This is cleaner living,” Wytas said, noting people spend a third of their life in bed.
The sets cost from $110 to $160 and come in the standard twin through king sizes. The second run will include sizes for campers, dorms and mattresses with more depth.
A large part of her market
Wytas said she’s learned a large part of her market is the over 50 set and the RV community. For the older crowd they’re good because they don’t have to lift the heavy mattress to make corners. The product is also for small spaces, she said.
Wytas said the business is doing well, but it’s harder than she thought it would be.
“It’s a very big learning process. I’ve learned a lot,” she said. “My hardest challenge is getting people to see the product.”
Wytas said even if she were not to succeed she knows she tried it, instead of regretting not trying.
“It’s knowing I’ve made a difference,” she said.