Rebecca Savich‘s unique product – the Adjustable Breast Comfort System (ABC System) - was inspired by a spa visit with her mother who, rather than enjoying a relaxing massage, experienced incredible discomfort and pain in her breasts while lying face down on the massage table.
“I, too, always had this problem. The best they could do would be to roll up or fold towels to prop me up. Sure it was something, but still far from comfortable for me and awkward for the therapist.”
Sound familiar, ladies? Well, rather than put up with the discomfort, Rebecca turned her spark of genius into a successful business. She’s shipped tables to Italy, Korea and Canada in addition to sales across the US. Rebecca has been working with and endorsed by Lama Amin, massage therapist for celebrity clientele including Mariah Carey, Rihanna, P. Diddy, Serena Williams, LeBron James and Magic Johnson.
Here’s how Rebecca has made it happen, with a recap of my Q&A with her below.
What is it?
“The ABC system is an adjustable, cushioned platform built within the massage table that rises up or down to accommodate breast comfort and advanced massage techniques. The tables are multi-functional. When the platform is raised above the table, it acts as a headrest.
“If you move the client further up the table with the back of the head placed in the face rest, you can raise the client’s upper back above the table for a chest stretch and advanced shoulder work. (Men love this, by the way.)
“Then, there’s the ability to lower the platform that women love, since it allows women with breasts of all sizes to rest comfortably.”
“I went to many spas and Chiropractic offices to see what they offered, researched online, even went to Hawaii to get a massage at the famed Halekulani Spa. They did what everyone else did: roll up towels! I knew then and there that I was going to bring something new and revolutionary to the world of massage.”
“The only massage tables designed to accommodate breasts on the market at the time,were tables with cut-outs for breasts. The cutouts were one size, and you would have to separate your breasts and stuff them into these holes. I knew right away that this had to have been created by a man.” (When Rebecca looked up the patent, she found she was right.)
What are your tips on finding and choosing a manufacturer for a product?
- Research! Online and by making calls.
- Find out who you need to speak with and call until you get their attention (tactfully).
- Be careful; don’t just sign away your patent/or product.
- Lease your idea if you can. This way you still have some control and a way to release yourself from the contract if you or your product is being treated with the respect.
What has been your biggest challenge?
“Honestly, creating it was easy for me. I drew many designs and imagined how I would feel lying on the table. That part was fun.
“Finding and working with engineers was challenging. The biggest challenge was knowing who to trust…”
“In my case, I asked my patent attorney for suggestions. I interviewed a few firms and went with the engineering firm that I felt most comfortable with. (After all, every discussion we had was about breasts!) The engineers were great guys and we worked well together but I have to caution anyone going down this route.
“Quite often, as in my case, my engineers would try to put unnecessary ‘add ons’ to my idea that really had nothing to do with what I had asked for. This of course adds to the bill and engineers are expensive! Be sure to have them contact you before they decide to venture off exact designs.”
What surprises you most about ABC ?
“… That chiropractors, acupuncturists, and physical therapists use these tables too. Rehabilitation is so important, and knowing that people are using my table for all around benefits puts me in awe every day.”
How did your women’s intuition help you?
I knew that this would be big, yet I was fought by engineers. Others said that there was no need for this product.
“When I asked myself why such a simple concept hadn’t been executed before, it dawned on me: they were all men. So despite the naysayers, I stuck to my guns, and after things started to fall into place they ALL ‘got it.’
“If you really know you have something to offer, stick to your guns (and your gut feeling).”
“There are two tables available now, a portable and a fully electric/hydraulic lift table, but soon there will be more, including medical tables. I hope to see the ABC system in trauma tables in the next year or two.”
Also, Rebecca is planning a line of organic massage oils, lotions, cremes and gels.
Can you share two tips you wish you’d had when you were starting out?
First, I wish I’d known how expensive it was going to be. Be careful, because there will always be surprise expenses.
Second, I didn’t realize how much work it was going to be, but I love it all and as they say, ‘If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life!’ ”
More from Women Grow Business:
- 5 reasons to love doing business online, also by Rebecca
- ACTiVATE trains women entrepreneurs in tech commercialization, a guest post by Donna Vincent Roa
- Two Great Motivators: Adversity and Change, a guest post by Elizabeth Perelstein
Images courtesy Rebecca Savich, used with permission
Rebecca Malik is president of contemporary furniture ecommerce business 17th and Riggs. She thrives on beautiful home design and explores related conversation at her blog The View from 17th and Riggs. Rebecca would love to hear from you on her blog or via Twitter.