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July 25, 2023
John Rizvi, Esq.

Sooth Your Eyes with Nancy Brunetti-Blomquist – 877-728-7763 – Inventor of Soothing Eyes TM

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00:00

Happy Friday. Nancy, how are you?

00:02
Good. Happy Friday, John, thank you for having me on.

00:05
Good. It's such an such an honor to have an inventor like you on on today. And I know, having known about your story, it's I think it's going to be wonderful for everyone to hear how you got to where you are now with this with this product and without, I guess, guess without further delay, you have, you know, a quick intro and then, and then we have a video of yours that we're going to play. But basically, Nancy's parents owned an Italian restaurant first in Italy, and then in Chicago. And she found as an adult that bright lights would bother her like during facials for example. And that's what were the inspiration came for soothing eyes. And customers are, of course, raving about the comfort, the fit and the ease. But Jenny is our Assistant. Let's go ahead and play the video. And then we'll go right into asking about your journey.

01:09
Hi, my name is Nancy. Women I truly enjoy going for facials and I cherish that hour of relaxation. Unfortunately, every time the bright light would be on my face, my eyes are extremely extremely sensitive and I could not relax. So after trying many different salons and different techniques, some hesitations with extra content some were added by the end result the light was always shining or the product would fall off and it was always disappointed in that relaxed. I decided to go home and create something that would block out the lights and help me have that our relaxation. Let me show you how it works. Here we have soothing

01:57
eyes, they're 100% handmade, our patent pending design in core block so 99% of all direct visible and UV light. So let me show you how to turn off the light. Okay, so here we have cotton and the light through and as you can see the light is showing right through. Now we're going to pursue the eye right on top. You can see the light is completely blocked out.

02:34
Soothing eyes are also hyper allergenic. They're made of all natural material. They're flexible so you can bend them. They're shaped to the contour of the human eye that can be reused. So you can put them in the freezer or some for the nice cooling feeling. You have a migraine or if you just want to have that cooling feeling. So you can see they come in different colors. And if you're a Spa Salon or organization we can customize with your logo just like how we have for hours to reflect your brand. And we want to thank you for helping us bring this product to market. Thank you

03:23
oh it is going to be our model today. Okay, what's your favorite color? Okay, so laid back was just easy put the soothing and the OS that locks out the light. Do you see any light? Yeah. Do you feel relaxed? Thank you very much.

03:48
Yeah, that was that was terrific. I love how you involve your daughter in in the business as well. So it's so funny that that having seen that demonstration it just looked too good to be true. Like you see the light going through the cotton. I have a ring light here and here's one of the soothing eyes. You can literally put this onto my eye and I could go right up to within like an inch of the ring light and see nothing so this is really amazing. And you know the flexible parts there. I haven't tried it in with the freezer. But I think that would I definitely can see that being soothing. I also was wondering and you don't talk about that because I don't know if that's something you would encourage but is warming it at all. Is that done? Do you have customers that that warm it and I don't know how whether through hot water or microwave

04:51
Yeah, so we don't recommend heat because it goes on the eyes. So you want to be very scent. You know eyes are very sensitive, so we don't you know it is made of the Scylla concern medical grade, it can be heated. But we don't recommend that on the eyes because it's so sensitive. And you know, you don't want to burn them. Yeah, the crawling feeling is nice.

05:09
So and So going back, we kind of jumped ahead of ourselves just because when you have, like this is, you know, an amazing product like this, it's really easy to jump ahead and dive into the aspects of the product. But I want to go way back in time to your your, your upbringing, and in the restaurant business. And because there's a lot of lessons, I mean, it's hard as an inventor, to point to like one quality, that that's the key quality for everything, there's a lot of different sometimes you wear multiple hats. So tell me about that how it was growing up in in Chicago, and in and then bring us to where the inspiration for this first began.

05:53
So I was born and raised in Southern Italy. And I've been surrounded by entrepreneurs my whole life. My first 18 years were in the restaurant business with my family. So in Italy, for the first 10 years, we had a restaurant on the beach. And we owned it with my aunts and uncles, with my grandparents with my cousin. So it was a whole family affair, complete Italian stereotype altogether. And each one of us had a job. And you know, at that time, I really didn't think anything of it is when I talked to other people now in my age, I say, Oh, you didn't go sell food. You know, you didn't do this or like No, not at eight. So it's really funny, because it's just part of life. But if I talk to other people who also had businesses, then they say, Oh, yes, I understand. Certainly, you know, I learned a lot about teamwork. I learned about the ups and the downs. Because we were just three months out of the year. So those summer months, were the golden months. And those months had to take you through the rest of the years. So we really had to work hard. But I remember just my parents, you know, everybody working together. And everybody, like I said, had a job and nobody said, Oh, I'm gonna just go and lay out at the beach. And you guys do everything? No, we all had to work. Then when we moved here, I was older. And it was just our nucleus family. And again, I got to see more with my parents. And, you know, good days and bad. So I saw that the entrepreneur life, it's not what everybody always dreams, like, Oh, you're gonna be a millionaire. And everything is so great. Right? Now, I saw my parents, you know, under struggling days, and I told my parents when we had a good day, and so but still, I really enjoyed being my own boss. And, you know, just seeing those aspects. And so when we sold our restaurant when I was 18, that I went to college, I went for my marketing degree. And then I said, this is what I want to do. And I opened my teaching business because I really liked again, teaching and having come from another country and learning another language. I felt that was very important. Soothing eyes just happened like it does to many people who are watching here as other you know, inventors, it was out of necessity. It was something my eyes were so are so sensitive. Being here in Southern California, living in Southern Italy, I'm always surrounded by the sun, which I love. But my eyes are completely sensitive. So I'm always with either sunglasses or something I sleep with, you know, a mask over my eyes. I'm always covering my eyes, and I suffer from migraines. So when I you know, as a busy man, I went for facials, but I was not relaxing. And I was like, okay, something has to be out there. And I looked, I talked with my esthetician I talked to other people cannot find anything that would solve this problem. You know, we just would keep pouring more, you know, we even found black cotton. Nothing, you know, would do it. So I came home. And I talked to my husband who you know, as an engineer, very engineer mind, I talked to my kids. And together we came up with this and you know, throughout, obviously a lot of lot of different prototypes. We just kept trying. And then we found that to put the inner metal core was where it was the aha moment where we said, oh, we really now can block out the light. Because at first it looked really nice, but it wasn't doing it and for me again being in this field for all of my life. I'm a perfectionist, and I'm not going to just sell something that I will not buy. So that's kind of how the whole thing started.

09:52
So it's so funny you mentioned the multiple prototypes. It reminds me of, you know this product WD 40. And the name stands for water displacement formula. And it's like a lubricant. And the 40 is that it's the 40th attempt at the formula that finally worked. It started with WD one, WD two. So yes, prototyping is is a journey. And so a lot of trial and error goes into that. The and you're absolutely right about the the image of a business owner and an entrepreneur, sometimes, it's quite different than the reality. Like I remember back before, I guess, just going back like 25 or so years, when I did was working as an attorney at another law firm. And I remember thinking, you know, I'm tired of, of having people telling me what to do I want to run my own law firm, and make all the decisions. And it's, it's funny, when you have your own law firm, you'd be surprised how often I was, I hope that somebody would tell me what to do. Because there's no, you know, like, which phone system should I use which software which somebody just who has done this and figured it out before? What docketing software, what you know, when you have two candidates that are close, and you're trying to figure out which one would be best with your team, but just to get that outside input, it's that it's very lonely, making all these calls yourself. And, and you have to draw on every aspect of your prior experience possible. So that's why I think it's, I can't imagine a better training ground, I think, for inventors, for really, for any business than the restaurant business, because you've got so much, and you've got timing is crucial as well, like you, you know, sometimes you have a busy lunch. And I'm just thinking, you know, it can't be short on tomatoes, because you get tomatoes at two o'clock, it's too late, you got to everything's got to be there. And then things go bad. So that's completely different than a lot of businesses where you could just have inventory. Just stored, like even even, you know, now you probably find in some aspect, this is easy, these don't go bad. If you have excess inventory, they can see they can weather, the slow period a lot better than in the restaurant business. Right?

12:24
Yeah, so time management. And multitasking is what I learned early on, because, you know, since our restaurant was seven days a week, when I was in high school, you know, for my mom, she obviously had to put on her mom hat and go back, all the laundry and the things you know, that nobody wants to do. So when she would go, I would come straight from school at 3pm and work till nine. And I had to do my homework. And so I had to learn to be able to do my homework, while Oh, there's a customer put that homework on pause, come back to that, you know, imagine. And so that's how I have just known my life. And that's how it is here. I have two businesses, and I'm able to the only way survive is by being very organized and very, you know, multitask and separate everything. And it's funny because my kids see it. And during this pandemic, because I always do my lessons in the morning before they come home from school while they sign. They're like, Mom, you work so much. I'm like, Well, yeah, but you weren't seeing all that. They're like, can you go to the store and you're doing this and I'm like, this is you know, it's got to look nice and smooth, but not you know, you're just every day, you have to keep everything organized. That's the only way to really survive when you have your own business. Because like you said, there's nobody saying, John Nancy, you have to do this. Now you you are in charge of that. So it's, it's, it has its good, you know, positive but nobody sees all the bad. We don't have a nine to five where we just put up our hat and oh, we'll see you tomorrow. No, it goes. It's an every day. So there's a lot of rewards, though. Yeah. It's

14:03
funny that reminds me of a quote by the famous painter, Michelangelo when someone had looked at up at the ceiling, this beautiful painting on the Sistine Chapel. And they said, Well, that's remarkable. And I think I'm gonna butcher his quote, but he said something to the effect of, if you had any idea how much work went into that there would be nothing remarkable about it at all because it's the preparation that people don't see. What I'd like to turn to now and this is, you know, sometimes for inventors, it's hard to talk about, but the obstacles because a lot of our viewers are looking at you now. And it's intimidating to you know, you have a beautiful product, it's finished, it's got all the packaging done, I'm gonna build this up and here's the labeling and how they become in the package. But this is not You're not seeing that like a WD 40. You're not seeing the WD one or the WD to a I'm so seeing where you are now, it is intimidating until they know that there were a lot of bumps in the journey. And so tell us about some of those financial obstacles, prototyping obstacles, anything that you think, in your view in vendors should be prepared for. Yeah.

15:20
So I think you're right, this is a good question. Because it is important for people to know so that they don't give up and they don't, this is why I liked, you know, it's nice to do these shows, and I like always to come on or to talk to anybody and help because knowledge is very important. And we hold on to it and other people, everybody's confused. So it's really nice to share. So for me, I'm lucky that in our family, somehow, we were able to create this on our own. And like I said, my husband was able to, you know, create these with my son, were able to do the website, you know, my dog, everybody's involved. But our biggest struggle has been the manufacturing, because we do it ourselves along with having our other jobs. So and like I said before, this was not something that we intended on becoming a business because we're both working full time. But like, all of you watching out there is just something that you're like, Well, I'm making it for myself, and then it just snowballs into our business, which is great. So one of our challenges has been the manufacturing because, like, you were saying, Oh, these can be on the shelf, which would be great. But no, ours are always like, oh, we need to make more Hurry up, you know, and make more. So that has been one of our struggles, you know, because, again, this is like, my baby. So I don't want to source it out to somebody until I feel 1,000% that is going to have the same quality that we're giving to it. Because my customers, even though I've never met them, they become like my family, just like my Italian customers. So I'm like that my business, it's, I'm not trying to sell something just to sell, I really it's my word. And you know, I am very proud of what we've created. So until then, this has been one of our things where it's hard to, you know, keep manufacturing them at the pace that we need to go. Our other struggle, unfortunately, was that in 2017, we had Thomas fire here, and burn down our home and our business. So everything was wiped, we just had the clothes on our back. That's it. So this was a big hit for our family for our business so that we just stopped, we put the business on hold, while we try to regroup and you know, take care of our family and think about dealing with insurance and everything. I mean, it's been almost four years, we're still dealing with the aftermath, you know, with our business with everything. So that has been so we put it on hold, we said, you know, I'm going to pause this because we lost all our molds. We lost all our inventory, everything. But like I said, our customers are like our family. And this is what I mean about how powerful words are. That people just kept coming and calling and emailing us and like, Please come back. And I'm like, Oh, I am not, you know, in the right state right now. I don't know. And they just kept sending, like, please, I can't find anything out there. And so we had a family meeting like Okay, guys, what are we going to do with this? Are we going to continue? Are we not? And you know, slowly, slowly, we started like, Okay, let's see, let's recreate, and we did, and then we came back and even stronger. And so it was, again another learning experience for not only myself, but most importantly now for my kids because I think of everything I learned through my parents. And I want to do that for my kids. And I'm a big believer that I can talk talk talk, but if I don't show it with actions, nobody's going to pick that up, especially, you know, kids, and now teenagers. So we came back and, you know, we're picking ourselves up and continuing and, you know, our Instagram is really nice. Everybody's just posting pictures. And our marketing is really done organically like through word of mouth, and people are really responding well. And, which is another thing that I like, because it's honest, marketing is not just me posting pictures on myself where, you know, that could be easy. And I could be you know, showing different angles. It's nice when my customers show it so then I can say look, you know, this is all reviews and everything and videos are also you know, important because now in this age of touch here you can see it's nice to see a video. It's the closest to reality.

19:55
Yeah, and I mean, and I know that You know, for example, like spas and for facials, that's one aspect. But have you found through yourself learning through your customers that they're using it for other purposes that you did not even envision? Like other markets?

20:14
Yeah. So you know, I've used them for migraines. So I know a lot of customers use them for that as well. A lot of people take them to the beach, so they don't have to have you know, the line across the nose. So it's nice, you can put them and they put them in their cooler. And so they're nice and cold on your eyes, you know, when you're when it's hot. And then also in tanning salon. massages, people doing for naps. Yeah. So people have been very creative and letting me know what they're doing. So it's nice.

20:45
It's funny I did, I mentioned it to your product to my wife, my wife is a dentist. And she, you know, sometimes they have procedures that can take, oh, my god, like two, three hours, and you're in this dental chair. Now, in order for the dentists to really see what they're doing. They've got if you think a ring light is bright, like multiply that by three or four, and you've got that bright light right on them. They can, you know, and again, they do have stuff that you can cover. But it just, it's heavy, and it covers the entire face. And who would think that something this tiny, and this comfortable that you could put on the eyes and that it would would block? Like, I would say, 100% I don't know, you say 99%, I guess could be to be safe. You know, it's always in marketing. You're always, you know, like, I always see like, you see a comb that says unbreakable. Come on get that can't be unbreakable. Like

21:49
100%, you know, so yeah, we can see

21:53
99% blush and a percent a lighter looking at it, I'm thinking there's, it's gotta be 100%. But that's just to be safe. That's why some products will say water resistant, when in fact it pretty much is waterproof. But waterproof has a completely different standard. If you say it's waterproof, you don't know somebody could take it on a dive and go 100 meters underwater, and then the product fails. So it's not really waterproof. So you have to say water resistant. So that's, but yeah, so that's just one field that I'm thinking of, we could expand. But it's nice as an entrepreneur to be in the position of the problem being struggling to meet demand, right? Like all of a sudden, you have so many orders. That's a that's a lot of people would envy that. Tell us about how you got there? Like what type of marketing? Is it mostly word of mouth? Was it? How did you get the name out in the concept like to be known, because what your product reminds me of a little bit is every three M, for example, the post it note, in the beginning, they had to give these out for free. Because people just were used to using tape, a roll of tape and paper. They didn't realize the huge advantage of having this you know, slight adhesive removable adhesive on paper until you let until you get a packet for free. You use it for a couple of weeks. And then you use the last one. And then you're back to using pieces of paper and tape and then you're like, Where was that? So I think a lot of the aspects of your product is the fact that it it's marvelous. But if you haven't had it before, it's hard to see the benefits. And so I guess those are the questions that come to my mind. But tell us fill us in a little bit on and how you got the word out.

23:53
So we started a Kickstarter campaign in I believe, May 2015. So we started doing that. And then initially I sent you know, emails I went in with my daughter in salon different salons and spas. But like I said in the beginning since we moved still now we still had our full time jobs. We really took this very slow. And so we would get phone calls or emails like Hey, I saw your product here. I'm like, oh, okay, that's nice. So we didn't do it aggressively because it wasn't the only thing we were working on. And so we did that we then slowly slowly again through word of mouth and really what happened was after the fire so when we came back in 2019 or 2018 late then I started to take him more on Instagram and social medias and you know sending videos and things like that. But honestly, it is mostly word of mouth. Because like I said the demand to make them I can't keep up which you would think Oh, that's such Ha, not a problem. But it is because again, I'm a person that if I say, I'm going to send it, I'm going to send it even earlier than what I say. So I'm always like, Oh, we have to make more, more more, you know, and I want to make, you know, the time. And again, to make sure my priorities my time students, my kids, so yeah, it's been more organically growing, you know, and internationally to, you know, people are like, how are they find you in Australia, in France? And I think Instagram has been really a big marketing

25:35
platform for us. Yes.

25:38
And that's what would you say it's more organic and more, it's easier to trust something on Instagram, especially if it's coming from raving fans that have your product, and they just feel like, you know, it's the reciprocity, like they feel they need to get the word out because of how it's impacted them.

26:00
Yeah. And on Etsy as well, you know, and that's a nice website for you know, anything that's homemade. And, again, the reviews, I don't go ask for them, they put them on, so it's nice pictures. And that, you know, again, is what keeps me going because I'm very big on, you know, customer service, I find that very interesting nowadays, when people don't give good customer service, I don't understand that. For me, you know, I will answer every email, I will answer, you know, everything, fill everything, because it's very important. And that's what I saw again, with my parents, we would have regulars and we will start their order before they even walked in. So I knew that kind of customer service. And that's the kind of customer service I want to give to, you know, soothing eyes. It's very, very important, I think, then you see a you feel that you feel like part of the soothing ice family, let's say,

26:55
right, and there was a span of time to get to test the product and prototype, how long would you estimate that took from the concept when it first came to your mind, and of course, this that, quote, correct necessity is the mother of invention, you didn't set out, you had enough, you're busy enough already, you didn't set out to launch a whole new business, but really to solve a problem that you were personally grappling with. Today, how long from the time you started looking to when you finally had a prototype that you felt comfortable selling, and launching?

27:35
I think it was about six months, you know, we were working on it full time, let's say because we were also working ourselves. But yes, we would work at night. And every time a prototype would come out, we would say Okay, I like this. First, they didn't have the logo. And also we just had one color. Okay, we weren't worrying about that we were first worrying about blocking this light because it was bothering me. And so after we got the that inner metal core, then we felt very comfortable, then we started to work on the you know, making it more aesthetically beautiful. So then we change and we have five different colors. And you know, we put our logo on it. So now when I look back at pictures of the first prototype, it's kind of funny, I'm like, Oh, wow, you know, it's a big, big difference. You know, honestly, for a business to be successful, you're constantly so we're constantly finding ways to make it better. We finally got a case for it. Unfortunately, everybody was like, we keep putting it in Ziploc bags. We need a case for these. So we finally found a case. So a lot of it is it's constant. You're constantly to it, but the initial was six months. So but you never stop.

28:53
Yeah. So I mean, because you have a background in marketing. It's it's I think, particularly admirable that you focus on the product first, because you find a lot of inventors are really jumping the gun and saying, Okay, how can I sell this better? How can I tell the features and the benefits? But you start with how can I make this better, simply make a better product. And that's why a lot of your sales, as you say are from word of mouth, you're not having to spend nearly as much time or effort on the marketing because you've done put that time in six months is when you're an inventor working on a product. It's a long time. It's very tempting to say you know what, this is good enough. Let's launch let's test it. Let's see how it does, but to have the discipline to continue improving it. That's that's something that I think it is admirable and I believe that a lot of inventors should. It's almost like slow down to go faster, because if you slow down temporarily build a better product test Uh, you know, while of course while you have all your patent pending and protected, and then you can substantially speed up the actual launch when it starts doing better, because you've taken that time to clean and make sure it's so like you said before, it's exciting, the, let's focus on the logos, and let's focus on the colors. But you put a stop to all of that and say, You know what, I created this, because I needed to stop the light until that aspect gets perfected. And once that's done, now, we can offer different colors, and a package and a case and all these bells and whistles. But all of that is for nothing, if it's not, doesn't solve the problem you're initially grappling with. So yeah, thank you for that we have, I always promise because these days, people are kind of zoomed out and zoom. So we have a hard cut off. But I wanted to end by asking you, for if you had one piece of advice that you could give to aspiring inventors that are at substantially earlier stages, then, then you are now what would that be? It's something maybe it's something that you wish you knew. And you learned the hard way.

31:15
So I was say, to do it, because you actually believe in the product. So not to do it. Like we were saying, because you want to get rich quick, you have to have a lot of patience. And, you know, I learned I just heard a quote the other day while I was hearing a meditating podcast. And she was saying, Excuse me, she was saying that, you know, when we put a seed? Do we expect it the next day to be a full grown tree? No, you know, fruitful. So why would we expect that about a product or about an invention. So we need to take our time. And slowly slowly, you know, give a finished and product that you actually believe in, but to know that you're going to have bad days, you're going to have good days. But so I would say to just keep going and and to talk to other people don't keep it to yourself, the best marketer is yourself, you know your product more than anybody else. So when you give it to somebody else to market it, or to do these interviews for you, they're not going to know it, this is your baby. So believe in it. 110% Give it 110% Because people will know if you're just doing it to you know, make money. But if you're doing it because you really believe and you want to have something out there that you've created that is solving a problem, then you're going to be very successful slowly. But you're going to be successful.

32:43
Yeah, terrific. And you're such a an amazing model of that. Because just hearing you speak about the product. I mean, it's so clear that this is something you feel passionate about. I can't think of anybody that could be a better spokesperson for soothing eyes, then then you yourself. And that's I found that in 25 years helping inventors that that's tip, that's typically the case there is nobody that is going to push as hard for the product and believe in it as much as the vendor themselves. And it takes that kind of belief because of the obstacles because of the naysayers. The people that say that well, why don't you do sunglasses or they'll just come up with some reason why there's no need for this. So you've overcome a bunch of that I'm sure. And I'd love to have you back we do an annual summit for inventors and I'll be sending you information on that. Also, for those viewers here we have a private Facebook group, the inventors mastermind and Jenny, if you want to post a link to that in the chat, if there's any questions anyone has for Nancy, you can post them there and we'll we'll try to get twist her arm to get her to come back for a follow up and again, what a what a great inspiration you are. Thank you so much for joining. Happy Friday everybody and enjoy your weekend.

34:09
Thank you everybody. keep inventing

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