By Kay Richardson
The Columbian, Vancouver, Wash.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A Washington state couple who were struggling with the husband’s uncomfortable CPAP mask created a soft, washable CPAP cover that they are now selling to other CPAP users who are battling to sleep in comfort.
The use of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) masks is a huge advancement in improving lives of those affected by obstructive sleep apnea. But it isn’t an easy adjustment. Challenging factors include skin soreness and air leakage, which can cause patients to stop using their devices.
Norman Paulk is a CPAP user who, with his wife, Vicki, knew there had to be a solution. Like most entrepreneurs, they used problem-solving aptitudes and determination to come up with a soft, washable CPAP cover — made in Spokane — that has their customers sleeping in comfort again. “It was clear to us what the problem was, and what the solution was. It’s deceptively simple,” Vicki said.
Name: Vicki Paulk.
Residence city: Camas.
Business name: CPAP Comfort Cover.
Professional background: My career was in elections administration, with 18 years as director of elections for Multnomah County, Ore. I retired in 2002.
How and when you got started in your business: My husband, Norman, is a CPAP user and was experiencing the redness and sore skin that caused him to go off his sleep therapy for days at a time while his skin healed. In December 2014 he went to his sleep therapist to see what could be done. She gave him the only thing she had, which was a disposable piece of cloth with a hole in it. Norman, the entrepreneur, knew there must be a better way. We immediately started designing, prototyping and testing. Our finished product is soft, absorbent, reusable, and stays attached to the CPAP mask with elastic. We launched our website for online sales last year.