Loading... Please wait...

About Us

There’s Gotta Be a Better Way

“The process from the glimmer in the eye / cramp in the calf, to patent-protected intellectual property, to ready-to-launch world-class products has been long, rigorous, and expensive.  I committed myself to Kangapoda because it is not a gimmick. It is so much more comfortable, it is not even debatable.  I would never use a plain flat top sheet on my bed ever again now that there is Kangapoda.”

Hal Mintz, Inventor and Founder

To read Hal's Customer & Friends letter, click here...

halunderthesheets.jpg

 

Kangapoda’s founder, Harold P. (“Hal”) Mintz, had his ah-ha (really an ow-bleep) moment when he sustained a painful calf cramp, and had to leap out of bed to walk the cramp off. He had been trying to relax and watch TV, but the tightness of the top sheet had prevented his feet from lying comfortably and engendered the cramp.

All kinds of thoughts hit him almost simultaneously. TVs in the bedroom. Smart phones. Kindles. Tablets. So many vital every day activities were now done in bed while reclined on the back with the head propped up on pillows in a ‘viewing’ position. The role of the bed had evolved.

The dilemma Hal noted was that, in the viewing position, the toes were forced against the top sheet just where it is the tightest. Sure, he could have un-tucked the covers and let his feet stick out. But, he preferred a neat bed. He just wanted to have comfortable feet too.

 

 Most importantly, Hal realized that a product that had to be untucked to be comfortable was not a properly designed product! The plain flat top sheet was inappropriate for a modern bed.

 

He experienced what so many inventors before him had experienced. . . a ‘there's gotta be a better way’ epiphany based on his own need. He got granular and more substantive. What was required was a top sheet that had an ergonomic canopy for the feet. The canopy would lie flat when not in use to mimic a plain flat top sheet; however, when one was under the covers on his or her back, the canopy would expand and drape the feet eliminating the tension.

Once he became professionally focused on comfort under the covers, he began to learn about other groups that could immediately benefit from the innovation. For example, calf cramps are not limited to the middle-aged. World-class athletes are so finely tuned that they are susceptible—particularly when they need to rest and recover. Pregnant women are also prone. It is not clear whether it is a body chemistry issue like edema or the legs are tired from carrying the extra weight, but the 2nd and 3rd trimesters can be tough. Type 2 diabetics (approximately 30 million in the US alone) and persons with gout can develop burning pins and needle feet (neuropathy) and not be able to tolerate the pressure of a tucked in top sheet. The Arthritis Foundation states that almost half of the people in their sixties and seventies suffer from arthritic foot pain. 

 

And ultimately, the largest potential market is all the people with no specific medical issue who simply dislike the tightness at the foot of the bed. 

  

PATENTING THE IDEA

There was nothing like the built-in ergonomic foot canopy on the market. Hal wanted to make very certain that his intellectual property was protected, as he knew he was on to something and would be copycats needed to be prevented from stealing his idea. He worked diligently and filed for patent protection. His patent was granted. Kangapoda has continued to expand the patent family.

patentshot.jpgKangapoda sheets and blankets are the ergonomic advancement with the widest potential market in above mattress bedding since the advent of the fitted bottom sheet. The Kangapoda ergonomic canopy is a patented innovation (US Patent No. 8,127,378 B1) that vastly improves the pragmatics and comfort of bed top sheets, blankets, and other bed top coverings so persons can recline in bed on their backs with their feet naturally resting at a right angle (i.e., their toes pointed toward the ceiling)—with the covers tucked-in—without the irritating tightness of a plain flat top sheet.

kangapoda-diagram.jpg

EARLY KANGAPODA PROOF-OF-CONCEPT MODEL

 protoypedesign2a.jpg

 

Before looking for a manufacturer, Hal had to develop a prototype—a proof-of-concept model. He worked with a local seamstress, and they created miniature designs using pillowcases to save money.  Above is an original proof-of-concept model of the Kangapoda top sheet. On the left side, is the turned down decorative hem.   On the right side, the canopy at the bottom of the sheet from two angles – from the top down demonstrating how it collapses and lays flat when not in use and from the underside revealing the feet’s entrance to the canopy. The flap to be tucked under the mattress appears on the right and is rather stubby in this model.

 

DREAMING UP A BRAND NAME

  kanga-plus-poda-0.jpg

The name for a consumer product is often hard to get just right particularly because the brand name is the foundation for the company’s marketing efforts. A lot of brainstorming went into the inspiration to fuse two words with inherent cultural and experiential qualities into an entirely new context—a bed top covering with a pouch for the feet. The name Kangapoda is fun, catchy, distinctive, and descriptive. And, Kangapoda is also friendly and pleasing to the ear.

 

DESIGNING A LOGO

 

logo.jpg

The company name is the starting point, but how the name is featured adds strength, depth, and complexity to the brand. Kangapoda’s logo is whimsical, pleasing to the eye, and gets right at the core of the business idea—as the logo metaphorically depicts the product itself. The entire name doubles as the raised bed with the “K” functioning as the headboard. The dotted line depicts the Kangapoda sheet or blanket highlighting the foot canopy at the bottom that is vaulted over the stem of the letter “d” which metaphorically depicts the extended feet of a person reclined under the top coverings. 

 

ADDING A COMPLEMENTARY TAGLINE

 

tagline-revised.png

 

A tagline is a branding slogan usually paired with the brand name or logo in marketing communications and advertising. The idea behind the concept is to create a memorable phrase that will sum up the tone and premise of a brand and reinforce the consumer’s memory of the product. The tagline should go straight to the heart of the brand and what the company would like people to remember about it.

 

The Ergonomic Feet Feat for a Bedding Feet Fête™ states exactly what the Kangapoda top coverings are all about:

     Ergonomic – intended to provide optimum comfort and to avoid stress or injury

     Feet – all 26 bones, 33 joints, and 100+ muscles, tendons, and ligaments

     Feat – an achievement that requires great courage, skill, strength, or innovation

     Fête – a celebration, jubilee, or festival    

The tagline’s use of the repetitive consonance of the “F” sound and its homophonic arrangement of words that all sound like ‘feet’ but have different complementary meanings is playful and descriptive.

 

KANGAPODA JINGLE

The Kangapoda jingle is awesome.  It is descriptive.  It is fun to sing. It is catchy.  Hal wrote the words and his Uncle Norman, a retired ophthalmologist who is a classically trained pianist, created the melody.  

Click Here to see the infomercial cast sing the Kangapoda Jingle.

  

FINDING A MANUFACTURING PARTNER

Kangapoda now had a good design, but the company needed to find a manufacturer. This was not an easy task. Hal can empathize with all the inventors in terms of how long and tricky the process of finding a manufacturing partner can be. To begin, Kangapoda wanted to produce in America. Hal learned in a far more direct way how a whole host of U.S. manufacturers had ceased operations. It was a little sad to travel through some previously industrial areas and see building after building now uninhabited.

Even if the inventor is lucky enough to be introduced to the right potential manufacturing partner, capturing his or her attention is no easy task. Almost by definition, the manufacturer must also have the entrepreneurial spirit; and, of course, (s)he must appreciate the inventor’s vision.

Slowly but surely, Hal made progress. One thing that caught him a little off guard was the need, particularly in the early stages, to provide very detailed manufacturing guidance for the prospective expert manufacturers. But after getting back some rather funny looking Kangapodas, Hal realized he had to get smarter regarding cut and stitch operations so that he could give better guidance.

For those of you who have ever been injured or infirm and come to realize that you must take some control over management of your condition and not just rely on the expert doctors—this was somewhat analogous. Kangapoda did not have the in-house skills or capital to do sophisticated CAD-CAM drawings. Instead, Hal resorted to a not-to-scale oak tag model put together with bobby pins. Incredibly, it worked. The detailed arts and crafts project was very helpful to all and led to the first official Kangapoda Ergonomic Top Sheet being made.

topviewpouch.jpg

Finding a manufacturer was cool, but it wound up being only a step.  A third-party manufacturer wants to do large runs.  This is far more efficient for them. But, as a small, owner-financed company, Kangapoda was not able to afford large runs, let alone large runs in all the different fabrics, colors, sizes, etc. Kangapoda really needed to implement a quasi-custom / just-in-time type of solution. When the third-party manufacturer informed Hal that he was selling his factory (land) to a developer and retiring, Hal realized he had to act decisively.

 

OPENING OUR OWN FACTORY

For both offensive and defensive reasons, Hal determined that rather than move all the expensive fabric and packaging into storage where it would be inaccessible, it was time to create a Kangapoda factory.  Sparing the gory details, it was an expensive, emotional caper.  Where to go.  How to do it. How to configure it. But, a little ergonomic magic was in the air, and Kangapoda wound up opening its own factory in Pompano Beach, FL with a master cut and sew man at the helm. Bit by bit, it was configured and became operational.

Kangapoda can now implement its quasi-custom manufacturing process. When we do not have an item in inventory, we can quickly produce it. The just-in-time flexibility is also cost efficient.  Moreover, taking ownership of the manufacturing process has only increased our creativity and quality.  For example, on the creativity front, we now have our incredible shams to complete the KangaPlush blanket ensembles.  Prior, left over fabric just disappeared.  On the quality front, we are responsible for every single detail.  Our products are nonpareil. Our commitment to excellence is reflected in all that we do.  

We are proud to say that

Kangapoda’s are Made in the USA

made-in-usa.png