Nightly monster checks and night lights are getting backup from the Force Field Cloak.
Terry Sachetti, married father of four adult sons, inventor and CEO of the Glow Co., has produced a blanket that stays lit in the dark for eight to 10 hours. The phrase “Force Field” means a lot to those who are into superheroes and sci-fi.
In college, Sachetti said he studied courses that could have led to a career in law enforcement or psychology, so nothing from his higher education prepared him for the research he had to do to come up with a glowing, patterned blanket.
A Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $25,000 was at $96,000 Friday. In addition to funds, Kickstarter has helped Sachetti and his business partner Aaron Bible, who is also a CEO plus the CFO, collect invaluable customer feedback. The only way you can buy a blanket in time for Christmas is from Kickstarter, where they are on special for $36. Next year when the blankets are in retail stores, if all goes according to plan, the price is expected to increase.
“Parents think this has to be the most creative idea for kids who are afraid of the dark,” said Sachetti. Learn more about the blankets, and the Ebes, the weavers of the Force Field who represent different fears, at ForceFieldFun.com.
Sachetti asked me to explain his bad haircut in my video. His regular stylist was absent. A co-worker insisted she could do it using the notes of his preferred stylist. After that proved not to be the case, her defense became that the notes weren’t very good, which in this case means they match the haircut perfectly.
Q: How’d you come up with this?
A: I was afraid of the dark like everybody else and I hid underneath my blanket. We all gave the blanket the power to do something to protect us. I figured, “Hey, what if I make it look like it’s doing what we believe it’s doing [and] help ease children’s fears more?”
Q: What in your background helped you create light in blankets?
A: I had an idea of what it should look like. I had to reverse-engineer how you do that. I have no background in chemistry. I had to study. I went down to North Carolina to a big ink factory, because I had come up with this formula, and I told them the chemicals I needed. Within four hours we had produced a product that I could put on a fabric. The guy said Wow, this is really great, where’d you get your chemical engineering degree?
Q: Online …
A: That’s about it! I used to buy my kids the Transformers or Ninja Turtle pajamas that would glow in the dark. After three, four, seven washes it was gone and I hated that. I worked hard for my money and I wanted something that lasts. If I’m going to make something for parents, I’m going to make sure they get their money’s worth. While creating this formula, I made sure this wouldn’t wash out and this will last for 20 years, as long as they cold-water wash it, tumble dry, don’t use bleach, don’t iron it.
Q: You had to find a printer?
A: That was the other thing. I had to come up with a special way to apply the ink. I told the manufacturer this is how you do it [and there was balking]. They tried it and [said], Wow this is great. Then I had to come up with the best design, what I thought represented powerful imaging, a Force Field, a deflector shield so that children would buy into it. The beauty of it is that when you tell them it’s a Force Field and you turn out that light, they don’t have any problem thinking this thing is going to protect them. Then it just turns into a great toy.
Q: Any hitches along the way? What year did you start this?
A: I came up with the idea back in 1989. I slowly but surely tried to refine it. Came up with a couple different things, didn’t quite work out, kept on doing it. Put it away for a few years. Spent everything I had on it. The wife is going “You know …”
Q: How much have you spent so far?
A: You don’t want to know.
Q: Yeah, I do.
A: It would be something where if anybody had a decent job and put more than enough away for retirement and there’s nothing there. Yeah, I had that dream of being a millionaire at one time. Now it’s not about the money but helping kids deal with one of the most common phases they go through in life and the best thing that anyone has come up with is a night light.
Q: If we were in a room with light coming from outside these blankets would naturally charge to glow at night, but we had to use a black light today because …
A: We’re in a totally dark room. If there was a window, that would charge it up. Regular lights will take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes. The reason it takes so long is this particular ink is a special high grade, special molecules.
Q: We’re not going to find out these blankets make people sick?
A: I am so happy you say that. That’s a popular question. Back in the day when I was younger, people thought there would be radium in something that glowed in the dark. This is an organic, 100 percent safe, nontoxic glow ink. As a parent that would be a big concern to me, too.
A: The ink is not flammable. Fabric is fabric, it’s made out of sweatshirt material.
Q: Do adults want these?
A: Surprisingly, yes.
C.J. can be reached at email@example.com and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count.