David Haggerty couldn’t sleep. Oh, he was tired, for sure. But on this early spring night, like so many others, he lay awake like some twisted Goldilocks.
“This bed is too warm,” he said to himself, flinging aside the flannel sheets from his sweating body.
Next to him, Jeanette Haggerty slept like a swaddled log. Perpetually chilled at night, she insisted the flannel sheets stay on the bed year-round.
The West Tacoma couple had argued about it that evening as they changed the bedding.
“There’s got to be something I could do to make us both happy,” he thought.
Suddenly a light bulb went on. In David Haggerty’s head. “What if I bought a length of fuzzy flannel and a length of lightweight cotton and sewed them together with the warm flannel half on Jeanette’s side and the cool cotton half on mine?”
So he did.
Tune in to QVC at 2 p.m. Oct. 30, and you can watch the most important six minutes in Haggerty’s life since that sleepless night four years ago.
QVC, the premier television shopping channel known for its choosy insistence on only quality products, will attempt to sell out an allotment of Haggerty’s half-and-half invention – Split the Sheets brand sheet sets.
I think he has better than a 50-50 chance.
Haggerty’s patent-pending, sheet-and-pillow-case sets have shown up on KING-TV’s “Evening Magazine,” in a demo booth at the Tacoma Holiday Food & Gift Show and in a USA Today article. Split the Sheets had a short run of sales on Target.com. On ABC’s “Good Morning America,” co-hosts Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts, lay in a bed fitted with Split the Sheets. The consumer editor of Woman’s Day, the magazine, went on NBC’s “Today” show and called Split the Sheets “the smartest product ever.”
Cool, huh? And all the hype helped some.
But Split the Sheets, the corporation, still looks like this: David Haggerty, CEO; Mike Walters, partner and marketer; Jeanette Haggerty, self-described “chief gopher.”
“Last Christmas we were up all night packing orders,” said Jeanette, a traveling training manager for the hardware chain PROBuild, formerly Lumbermens. “We were busy, and I got up and started to walk away and David asked, ‘Where are you going?’ I told him I had to go potty, and if he wasn’t nice about it, I was going to unionize.”
David’s day job, which he hasn’t quit, involves managing some 200 Teamsters at the SuperValu grocery warehouse on Tacoma’s Tideflats. At night he comes home, packs up sheet sets and ships them out to fulfill the orders that came in during the day.
Despite the publicity so far, in the vast, competitive world of retail, a product can get the golden touch of instant legitimacy in two places – Oprah or QVC.
Nick Romer, who wrote the book “Make Millions Selling On QVC,” says, “When you are on-air, it’s like having your product next to the cash register at your local superstore, and two million people are standing there at the same time looking at it, thinking about putting it into their cart as they check out.”
You might guess now isn’t the most opportune time to try to sell anything – especially sheets – given the state of the U.S. economy.
Well, a recent analysis in Home Textiles Today, an industry magazine, noted sheet sales declined more than 8 percent last year and looked to go down even more. But the report found a wrinkle that could benefit Split the Sheets.
Innovative products – not fashionable products – will rule the sheet world, the magazine noted.
“I’m excited,” David said this week. “QVC is second to none. Their standards are absolutely the highest in the industry. You can rest assured whatever you buy on QVC is the best of whatever it is.”
Walters has worked for more than three years to spread the Split the Sheets brand name wherever he could and had hooked QVC for an appearance a year ago. But a series of storms hit China’s east coast shipping ports delaying the QVC sheet shipment. When it finally arrived at the Port of Los Angeles, U.S. Customs agents randomly selected containers to quarantine for detailed searches. Guess who got caught in that delay?
Split the Sheets couldn’t get QVC the supply it needed in time for the show.
“So many different things happened, we couldn’t believe it,” Walters said. “And the best (pre-Christmas) sales window was gone.”
Now, that window has opened again. And whether you think the breeze blowing in is warm or cold, Split the Sheets has something to help you.
Dan Voelpel: 253-597-8785
Split the Sheets
Products: Sheet and pillowcase sets – half warm fleece, half cool cotton in white, blue, green, pink
Cost: $84.95 (queen); $89.95 (king)
Premise: Simply solves the common bedtime problem of partners who prefer different temperatures while they sleep
Founded: February 2005
Owners: David Haggerty, CEO; Mike Walters, partner