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A soft spot for babies

Irvine woman invents Baby Lounge To Go, a portable, bassinet-like baby carrier that can be used to sleep or play in.

December 18, 2010|By Joanna Clay, joanna.clay@latimes.com
  • Pazit Ben Ezri is co-owner of Lulyboo, which makes portable baby sleepers.
Pazit Ben Ezri is co-owner of Lulyboo, which makes portable… (KENT TREPTOW, Daily…)

Two years ago, Pazit Ben Ezri was having an oh-so-common parental problem. Her baby, Ronnie, would not sleep. And when he wasn't sleeping, he was crying.

When mom finally got some sleep, a solution came.

"I woke up in the middle of the night with the idea about a bed for him that would be easy to carry," the Irvine resident said. "And then I tried to put my idea together."

The next morning Ben Ezri got to work and unknowingly created her company, Lulyboo, by dreaming up a product, Baby Lounge To Go. She went to the store and bought materials — foam, safety pins and fabric. She didn't know how to sew but bought a sewing machine and took a stab at it.

"I started to use it and saw how great it was for him," she said.

The Baby Lounge To Go, which is aimed for babies younger than 6 months, is similar to a bassinet but is soft, has hanging toys and folds up into a backpack for easy transport. It offers the baby a familiar environment because it can be used for play and napping or placed in a crib for sleep.

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A friend of hers was excited about the product and convinced Ben Ezri to get a spot at the ABC Kids Expo, the largest trade show for children's products.

"I called and got a spot for myself before I even had a prototype," the inventor said.

During the show she had the chance to get feedback outside of her social circle. Some representatives recommended price-point changes, different fabrics and more features. Ben Ezri took the changes to heart, adding a thicker pad, trading for cotton and incorporating a canopy.

Two local retailers, Bergstroms and Bellini, took immediate interest. Bergstroms started selling the Baby Lounge To Go at their store in March 2009 and Bellini in June this year.

"For that consumer that's on the go … they love that, they need that," said Pierre Bergstrom, owner and son of the store's founder.

Ben Ezri kept in contact with the representatives she met at ABC, particularly from Target and Babies"R"Us. After sending a few updates of their designs, Ben Ezri got an answer.

"We had another meeting, then another, and then finally we were in," she said.

As of this summer, the Lulyboo infant lounge now sells online at Target and Babies"R"Us. A buyer from FAO Schwartz recently confirmed that it wants to sell the lounger online. A start date is yet to be announced.

The 33-year-old mother of three didn't expect her invention would take off as it did but wasn't exactly surprised.

"When I would see the reaction from people, I understood that we made a product that was very good, that a family needs," she said.

However, what was once a plush naptime necessity is now being used during waking hours.

"As they get older, they lay inside when they're watching TV. They let their legs hang out," Ben Ezri said. "Everybody has their own baby lounge."

Lulyboo now has an office of three in Irvine. Ronnie, the inspiration for the Baby Lounge To Go, is now 5.

For more information about Lulyboo and the Baby Lounge To Go, visit http://www.lulyboo.com.

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