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Julia Bates with Mello Be cushion

Client Spotlight: mello{be} Cushions

Julia Bates had a career in nursing, as a pediatric nurse and as a school nurse. She has used mindfulness in her nursing career to help her patients as well as to relieve her own stress. She has been interested in the topic for years. Due to sciatic pain, she was sitting in a chair with cushions for meditation. When her daughter, Corey, was 16, she suffered from a debilitating illness. Julia knew mindful meditation would help her with her physical and emotional symptoms, but the traditional cushion was too hard, and Corey felt unstable on it.  After trying a couple of other styles, Julia designed one, the mello{be}, that encourages the body to sit in an upright position on the floor with comfort and stability. As Julia began using it for meditation, she noticed her sciatic pain was going away. Now she uses it as an everyday seat, increasing her hip flexibility, balance and leg strength.

The cushion has many uses: meditation, sitting on the floor, picnics, outdoor seating, watching movies, reading in bed. She was recognized at both StartUp Weekend and Venture Challenge for her mats. She also won second place in Macy’s Female Entrepreneur Challenge. Julia established a relationship with West Elm and her cushions have sold at their flagship store in Austin as well as the one in San Antonio in the Pearl area. The Trinity University Meditation Center recently put in an order for the cushions. She realized that people could benefit from a smaller version of the cushion so she has created the worker{be} that takes all of the benefits of the mello{be}, including pain reduction, a healthy s-curve in your spine, and improved posture, and puts it into a cushion that fits anywhere. This smaller cushion is ideal for people who work at computers who tend to have frequent back pain that can cause lost work days and increased medical care.

Julia worked with Senior Business Advisor Crystal Darby who assisted with connections, providing feedback at various points in the life of the business, and searching for manufacturing firms to produce the quantities that Julia now needs to satisfy her customers. Julia’s tagline is happy butt + happy spine = happy life.

Julia explains, “The SBDC is a valuable resource for the entrepreneur community. I regularly recommend Crystal Darby for people who need advisors for business.”