Ruby is a 70-year-old senior entrepreneur and a chip off the old block. Her parents were entrepreneurs, and she wanted to follow in their footsteps. When her domestic partner suffered an injury, he would toss and turn in the bed, tearing the bed up. Ruby used fabric from another bed sheet to extend the top sheet. To make the extension fit correctly, she left out the corners, leaving a long tail. What she created was a top sheet is now a one-step process that centers itself. After using Ruby’s invention, her partner could no longer tear the bed up. One patent and a little ingenuity later, and RR Distinctive Beddings was born.
Like all entrepreneurs, there is always a hit and miss. One thing all entrepreneurs have in common is perseverance, a head full of ideas, and a dream. However, Ruby was holding on until there was a life-changing moment.
Ruby Russell, Senior Entrepreneur
That life-changing moment came the night that Princess Diana died. Stuck in an unhappy marriage, that was the night Ruby realized material things do not make you happy. She worked days and drove 28 miles to school twice a week. One day she was reading a book at work, a woman wrote about a path less taken. She spoke of being at a crossroads and having to choose a path. Ruby said a prayer, and her son, who lived in Reno, came to mind. She called her (grown) son and asked if he wanted a roommate. He said yes, and the rest is history. Ruby has lived in the Reno area for 21 years. At the age of 54, she returned to college and received her degree (BSBM) Bachelor Science Business Management with a 3.44 GPA.
So what does RR Distinctive Beddings sell, and what makes them different?
We have 42 different products and 8 lines. These include full bed sets, sheets set, duvet covers sets, a coverlet, and a bedspread. They are different from normal bed sheets because they are self-centering, and one tuck gets you nice, neat corners that stay put, instead of the traditional hospital corners, which take 7 steps to make. These are patented unique items that make making the bed easier than you ever thought possible.
Can you tell us a little more about how you invented these sheets?
At the age of 85, my partner was stepping from a ladder, missed the last step, and fell flat on his back. Due to the injury, he would toss and turn in the bed, tearing the bed up. I hated making the bed and could no longer leave it to him to make. Here I had a real problem that needed a solution.
In 2013 Ruby used fabric from another bed sheet to extend the top sheet... To make the extension fit correctly, I left out the corners, leaving a long tail. With this design, the top sheet is now a one-step process that centers itself. After using my invention, my partner could no longer tear the bed up.
He was also an entrepreneur and had a manufacturing company in the past. He said, “let’s put this sheet in production.” The first step was to apply for a patent and trademark. I was able to move the patent forward because I was over 65 years old.
On May 31, 2016, Stayput Beddings ™ was registered.
How hard was it to get this business off the ground?
Well, my partner had an engineering background and found it easy to put my ideas on paper. The next step was to find a manufacturer. It took us six months to find someone that would do the manufacturing.
Finally, finding a manufacturer in Turkey and fabric in China, the drawings were sent off. Ruby and her partner knew nothing about bedding (she did not even know that TC meant thread count). Needless to say, we knew we had something special.
My partner and I traveled to Portugal to visit the company manufacturing the samples. There we met their Cristina Dos Santos... Cristina’s claim to fame would be designing the interior of The Razor House, purchased by Alicia Keys, purchased in 2019. Our bespoke embroidery patterns reflect the magnificence of authentic, hand-crafted Portuguese Azulejos tiles. The beauty and intricacy of the geometric shapes live in harmony with Befitted’s neural and calming color palette.
Of course, financing was always a problem, but recently we met an investor in a networking group who really helped us. I have always had a strong belief that things happen only when they are supposed to. And meeting that investor that day made everything else fall into place.
Do your sheets have any kinds of awards or distinctions?
Yes! The sheets have won the CREA award for innovation, joining the ranks of such distinguished alum as Elon Musk and Kamala Harris. My Stayput ™ has also been accredited by the American Council Of The Blind.
That last one sounds cool! How did that happen?
I had cataract surgery that unfortunately left me legally blind in one eye. So I began to research facts about the blind while waiting for samples of the bedding from the manufacturer. I found that for a blind person to center the top bed sheet, they would have to put an object in the center to know it’s centered. I realized my Stayput ™ top bed sheet not only stayed put, but it also centered itself when making the bed. Never again, having to walk back and forth centering bed covers was a real game-changer.
During her research, she read an ad that the American Council of the Bind was having a convention just 4miles from my home the next weekend. So I created miniature samples of my bedding to let the blind feel how to make a bed with Stayput ™. Stayput Beddings ™ is a one-tuck, self-centering design that is simple enough for a child to make. Doing the convention, there were several interviews where Stayput Beddings was named “accessible beddings.”
What was your biggest inspiration for these sheets besides necessity?
I was inspired by William H McRaven's book and speech on “Make Your Bed.” Thanks to that speech, I began to think of other ways to make bed-making easier. Using my designs, the bed is made in seconds because the bedding stays put while you sleep... Walking back into your bedroom seeing your bed made brings a smile. It’s such a small task when you use bedding that is designed to make it easy. Everyone should have that luxury, and it shouldn’t even be a luxury.
Who should buy these sheets?
Everyone. I’m not bragging. I honestly believe that. These sheets are good for anyone. Good linen is an investment in good sleep. Good linen is like a good pair of shoes, and you know how good it feels. It is as important as a good mattress for a good night's sleep. And a good night’s sleep is important for everyone. If you live to be 75 years old, you have spent 25 years in bed. Shouldn’t that be as comfortable and as stress-free as possible?
What new things do you have on the horizon?
Yes, we have so many exciting things coming out soon. For starters, we will be introducing our new line for dorms, so college kids can have an easy time making the bed while they are away from home, likely for the first time.
We’re also going to come out with a children’s line. The children’s line features a book on sleep where you ‘tuck’ the monster underneath the bed for a good night’s sleep and play bed so kids can practice making the bed without feeling overwhelmed. It sounds like RR Distinctive Beddings is changing the way the world sleeps.
This has been an amazing interview. How can our readers find and connect with you? (and possibly order some sheets?)