It’s often said that necessity is the mother of invention, and Emi Deguchi is living proof of this idiom.
She always loved the feeling of sleeping with a duvet, but she was tired of the time and effort required to care for the traditional duvet – from changing the cover to correcting the duvet’s shifting inside its cover.
So in 2009, she brought Corner Keepers™ to market.
“Corner Keepers are an easy, user-friendly way to install a comforter into a duvet cover in less than a minute,” said Deguchi, founder of Denver-based Chez Duvet Bedding. “They keep a duvet from bunching up while you’re sleeping.”
The patented split corner of the comforter grabs a flap within the duvet cover, creating an easy, secure and seamless connection. Indeed, the split-corner duvet has received a 100 percent approval rating from numerous focus-group studies. In February 2010, judges at the New York International Gift Fair chose Chez Duvet’s Corner Keepers design over hundreds of entries based on the criteria of “innovative design, product solution and use of new material or technology.”
“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” said the former pro equestrian. “Going into business is a new adventure for me; something to do on my own.”
Deguchi realized that her lack of a formal business education put her at a disadvantage. So, she earned an MBA and connected with the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
“Every interaction with the SBDC leaves me with something positive,” she said. “I consulted with Jeff Gilbert who helped me understand what my business can and cannot sustain. In a competitive world, the SBDC is a non-competitive place where everyone truly wants you to succeed.”
Deguchi also credits persistence and a willingness to take risks for her swift success.
“I used my life savings to start the business,” she said. That risk is already paying off – Denver’s The Brass Bed is the first retailer to pick up her design. Online shoppers will soon find Corner Keepers at QVC United Kingdom and other Internet retailers.