March 10, 2019

A Park, An Idea and a Few Years Later

Thoughtfully Designed Assistive Furniture

When Dan and I were walking through Central Park in New York City on a chilly November day, musing about my idea for Millea Living, I never thought it would take almost 4 years to bring the products to the market. I thought maybe it could be an 18-month process. Boy, was I wrong! There were so many things to consider and partners to find.

There were two things I was certain about. First, I wanted the product and the brand to speak about caring for people and bringing them dignity and autonomy. I wanted the families who purchased our products to know that we have designed and manufactured pieces that will keep their loved ones safe in their homes, and I wanted the brand to encompass a lifestyle for all ages and all abilities. Second, I wanted this to be a product that was high style, on trend and something that people would be proud to showcase in their homes. We certainly have achieved both of these objectives at Millea Living. Our design team and our branding team worked hand-in-hand to bring forth the vision of Millea Living.

It has not been all smooth sailing. I was surprised at the fits and starts in the process. I was surprised by the places where I got hung up on the design, or naming the products. But luckily for me, I had good collaborators who held the course and were beacons of light in the fog.

Jen and I have fought hard for the idea that a bath or shower bench could be fully functional and beautiful. We wanted to ensure that it wasn’t too heavy to move or too hard to clean, and that it gave the users the ability to adjust it to their own needs. We demanded that adjustments be easy to do, with no push pins or a need for tools. We wanted it to be intuitive. We also fought hard to feature a variety of finish combinations and to include patterns so that you can personalize these pieces to your taste and homes. That was really important to us.

The first time I saw a prototype I was so excited! I have designed a lot of homes and commercial spaces and know that “drawings don’t lie,” but to see the bench in person was the fulfillment of a dream. But when I put it in my bathroom and then in my shower, it was so big! I knew we needed to make some further changes to get the product our clients need. So we resized the bench to be a little smaller in the length and a little smaller in the width but still consistent with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards. The result was a much better proportioned bench, and at a lighter weight as well.

So, a lot of hard work, time, energy, money and effort has brought this dream forward to provide a better bench – as our branding team has so eloquently said, “a new benchmark” for assistive furnishings. It is something we are proud of and it is something we hope you are proud of too.

Cheers!
Jackie

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