In our previous article, we discovered how sleep apnea diagnostic not only changed Louise’s life but also helped her aligning with a deep motivation: to deploy all her inventiveness and skills to improve people lives. But how do we go from dream to reality? And more importantly, how to create a product from scratch?
Creating a product from scratch
Louise already knew she had the expertise, skills, leadership, and drive to make this project a reality. But she also knew from experience that what powers projects of this scale is teamwork, and the synergies that are created are what move these projects forward. So, she searched for people who were willing to lend support, both financial and otherwise, and collaborators and employees who were ready to set out on this great adventure with her. And she was persuasive. She was sure her project had a good foundation, since it was grounded in strong values that—by themselves—inspire enormous creative energy and enthusiasm.
Her partnerships grew, and research and development continued. Meanwhile, she validated her prototypes, searched for textiles and equipment, handled applications to regulatory agencies, made presentations to potential investors, consulted with experts, filed patents, and tested her ideas with users. Louise’s initial idea materialized after many long and frenzied months and led to the creation of the Facembrace, a product that was sufficiently developed to be manufactured and sold.
In the summer of 2017, Louise started to look for manufacturers that could make the Facembrace. She learned that the product’s manufacturing process was so groundbreaking that not a single manufacturer she spoke with could produce it. She therefore needed to make a significant investment in building a manufacturing facility. The team added a review of manufacturing operations best practices to the many projects that were already in the pipeline, all while fine-tuning the Facembrace. The company honed its business model and built its factory.
The birth of Rheabrio
Over time, the marketing and communication efforts surrounding the project were able to translate Louise’s idea into a mission that gradually became stronger, clearer, and extended beyond the product itself: innovation that improves people’s lives. The company needed to find a new, meaningful name to celebrate and showcase this mission. And thus was born Rheabrio, which has become the symbol that has helped Louise anchor the company’s mission, vision, and values in the eyes of a benevolent goddess on a quest for bright ideas to design for well-being.
A good match
Since the start of her journey, something that has continued to surprise Louise is how well she, her company, and the Facembrace itself have been received by industry experts, sleepcare professionals, and patients themselves. As an entrepreneur, she’d say that it’s proof that the product she designed matches a need. As a person, she sees the connection between what she thought her mission in life would be and her life as it is now, a connection that has stimulated her persevere. So many people have supported and contributed to this project that she refers to it as a “collective work”.
A broader vision for the future
There is growing international interest in what Louise is doing. She is looking towards the future while also keeping herself firmly planted in the present and listening to Facembrace users. They write to her, talk to her, and even come to visit her at the factory. Each of them has a story to share. As an experienced entrepreneur and manager, Louise knows that the feedback loop that has been put in place and listening to users and industry experts are essential to continuously improving the product and ensuring Rheabrio’s future development. That said, the bulk of her energy comes from the thank you’s and keep it up’s she receives from people who, like her, deal with the challenge of sticking to their CPAP therapy every single day.
As 2019 gets underway, Rheabrio’s president and founder intends now more than ever to honour her mission with a crystal clear vision of the road ahead and the challenges they will find there.