International Women's Day Spotlight: Melissa Bamberg

International Women's Day Spotlight: Melissa Bamberg

2024 marks ten years since the start of Nodpod and the journey from ideation to fruition for our founder, Melissa Bamberg, and we’d like to place a spotlight on where it all began this International Women’s Day.

Where It All Began

It is said that necessity is the mother of invention, and so it was one fateful night where Melissa found herself on a cross-country RV trip with two little ones in tow. As the night grew longer it was necessary to pull over and rest for the night. Despite how comfortable RV travel may be, there is always something that proves to be bothersome such as a fly that made their way inside or the sound of nearby traffic. In this instance, it was a glaring light that kept making its way through the slats of the blinds. In a desperate attempt to block out the light, Melissa found herself using the sleeve of a sweatshirt as a makeshift eye mask. After doing so, she scoured the internet in an attempt to find a strapless sleep mask to mimic what she had done the night before only to discover that it didn’t exist. This proved to be her eureka moment, and thus began the development of what would become the cult-classic sleep mask, the Nodpod. 

Research and Development

Once it was discovered that the perfect sleep mask did not yet exist, so began the seemingly endless nights of research into what was needed to craft such a mask. Another moment of inspiration came from the same toys that Melissa found herself throwing in the wash for her children, Beanie Babies. These stuffed animals are filled with 100% polyethylene “PE” beads that are machine washable and dryable and pose no threat to growing mold as a natural fill material such as lavender would all while maintaining a perfectly plush and comfortable stuffed animal (or in this case, a sleep mask). 

As research continued, Melissa soon began to uncover the benefits of a phenomenon known as Deep Touch Pressure. The human body reacts to varying amounts of pressure in different ways. If the pressure is too light, it can stimulate being tickled such as the feeling of a fly landing on your skin. If the pressure is too heavy, it can feel suffocating and make one feel claustrophobic. If the pressure is just right, however, it can induce a feeling of calmness and relaxation. This sensation has been observed in a myriad of research studies and professional outlets and reached the public consciousness as weighted blankets rose in popularity. While the scientific community refers to the science behind the phenomenon as Deep Touch Pressure, it became known as magic to Melissa and what would become Nodpod. 

Moving Forward

2009 marks the year that the Nodpod as we know it starts taking shape. At home in her kitchen equipped with a sewing machine and her first focus group (i.e. her family), Melissa began workshopping her strap-free weighted eye mask for the first time with the input of her loved ones. Nothing happens overnight though, and creating a product that was fit to see the market takes time and reinvention. Nevertheless, the next couple years saw the official launch of Nodpod.

The website went live in 2014, and employee one of one Melissa Bamberg spent her time delivering orders to the post office with her car’s trunk packed full. A bootstrap company from day one, Nodpod was a one-(wo)man band where every order of operations was conducted by its founder. The following year, 2015, was the first ever trade show featuring Nodpod in Dallas, TX. While Melissa may have felt as if she had no clue what she was doing at the moment, she nonetheless had all the faith in Nodpod and its benefits. Clearly others felt this way too, and in 2019 Nodpod reached national attention with a feature on Good Morning America where the concept of Deep Touch Pressure gained even more public attention, recognition, and understanding. Long gone were the days of questions such as “what’s a weighted blanket?” and the magic behind weighted products was quickly becoming common knowledge.

Present Day

Nodpod has undergone many evolutions since its initial inception having gone from a pillow accessory that snapped onto one’s pillowcase to the stand-alone mask as it is known today. While at times it is met with skepticism, Nodpod has made fans out of many and has been featured in numerous notable publications such as Goop, Rolling Stone, GQ, Oprah and more. Retailers love Nodpod as well and can be found in major retailers such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Anthropologie, Barnes & Noble and more. 

What sprouted from one restless night’s sleep is a company and a product that has helped many who have also found themselves in a similar situation to Melissa on that fateful night in the RV. Customer reviews and testimonies have hailed Nodpod for its ability to help its users fall asleep easier whether the trouble be from insomnia, stress and anxiety, or even too much light in the room. Customers like these are what have helped Nodpod flourish the way it has, and thank you to all that have supported this female-founded and owned company whether they have been here since day one or since one day ago. Happy International Women’s Day and in the words of Nodpod’s Melissa Bamberg, “Cheers to a good night’s sleep and the endless possibilities of tomorrow.”

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