VoyageMIA introduces Judy Teeven, inventor of TheraPouf, in Miami Lakes. The story is local and made in the U.S.A.
Judy Teeven, inventor of Therapouf, has been designing products for 40 years. Everything from couture bridal gowns to airplane seats, with thousands of products that have been in big box stores like Walmart, Michael’s, and Party City. TheraPouf started as a result of having three back surgeries. Judy’s career was put on hold due to all the pain she was experiencing. Here is her story.
Necessity is the mother of invention. The surgeon sent me home with a beach ball and ice pack for therapy. Then, he told me to blow the beach ball up slightly and put it behind my back for support and add the ice pack for pain relief. Which resulted in a plastic ball stuck to my back and an ice pack that wouldn’t stay in place. After a day of this, I started to look online for something similar that I could purchase and realized it didn’t exist.
What came next was amazing…
After seeing the need, I went into my design studio and created my first TheraPouf. It was amazing and helped to not only relieve my pain, but it provided support where I needed it most. After using it for over a year and taking it with me everywhere I went, I decided to go forward with a test group of patients with different pain issues. I made the prototypes and sent them out to about 30 participants. After the test and realizing the results were amazing, we moved forward to the patent process. I was committed to making my product in the U.S.A and located a facility in Miami that could produce the product. Our official launch was in October and we are seeing some great success. As a result, we are now working on some additional products for the brand.
Has it been a smooth road?
The first year presented some challenges with some errors in manufacturing and our fulfillment center closed. It’s also very different to try to produce in the U.S. I had produced most of my products through the years in China and finding materials and manufactures in the States is a much bigger challenge.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Therapouf – tell our readers more, for example, what sets you apart from others?
I am actually known in the craft and fabric industry as a creative strategist for product research, development, and design. TheraPouf is a really good example of the kind of work I have done all my life. Companies I have worked with have hired me to evaluate their products and come up with out-of-the-box thinking and to design innovative products that are new to the market. You can learn more about this on my website, Create Beyond the Lines.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
One of the proudest moments is wrapped around my other passion. I created a program called Products Of Purpose. The goal is to teach people who come from difficult life circumstances vocational skills and provide real-life work experience. I set up light manufacturing and design to produce products that are sold.
The model has been tested in Naples, Florida and will soon open a location in Fort Myers. The program I am most proud of is in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. We launched our first site about 3 years ago in an orphanage to give the older orphans hope for a new future. In addition, we are making products out of things which are normally discarded, like bottles and aluminum cans.
Recently, we launched the line at a luxury mall in Santa Cruz and sold products from four of our new lines. The program in Bolivia consists of baking, sewing, home decor, and jewelry. Watching these kids’ self-confidence and self-esteem grow as they presented the products they had made is definitely the proudest moment in my career. As a result of this program, these kids are building a new future and accomplishing things they never dreamed of.