After months of chronic fatigue, Louise Bernard, an accomplished businesswoman and industrial designer, received a diagnosis that will change her life forever: sleep apnea. Her new CPAP therapy was the source of a lot of discomfort. So, she decided to put her skills and resourcefulness to use to create her very own solution to her discomfort: the Facembrace. Read on to learn more about her story and how this innovative comfort device for sleep apnea came to be.
Necessity is the mother of invention
Louise Bernard was diagnosed with sleep apnea in the summer of 2013. In some ways, receiving such a diagnosis can be reassuring. In others, it can also be quite unsettling. That summer, Louise’s life, like the lives of thousands of people before her, was turned upside down. She has been required to pass several trials to find the right CPAP mask. She was determined to stick to her treatment plan due to its major benefits on her sleep and health, despite her doubts, the inconvenience, and discomfort. “This is awful!” she’d tell herself! Far from admitting defeat, she turned to the comfort accessories available on the market, without success. None of them could alleviate the feeling of little air leaks and the strap marks and irritation left by the mask on her face.
That was all this industrial designer needed. She got to work on creating her own solution that would allow her to forget she was even wearing a CPAP mask, something she needed to take care of her health. She didn’t have a choice! Giving up on her treatment wasn’t an option. Countless hours were spent drawing, cutting, sewing, assembling, reading, talking, testing, outlining, and starting over—trying to find a way to create what would one day become the Facembrace.
A little miracle
In alchemy, they say that the real miracle isn’t using the philosopher’s stone to transmute lead into gold; it’s the transformation of the alchemist himself. After so many years of meticulous, rigorous, and magical work, the alchemist becomes the transmuted substance, the prize, because he was able to commit his entire being to this methodical and repetitious quest, where absolute concentration was needed for him to understand his own nature and the essence of the world.
The little miracle that occurred in Louise’s life during this time was that while she was carefully working on creating a viable solution to her problem, she naturally found the deep motivation that she had felt when she decided to become an industrial designer, putting all of her inventiveness and skill to use to help others improve their lives. If the solution she found were viable for her, it would be for everyone else having these problems, too. The path she needed to take became clear: she would create a company to make it possible to develop this solution, with the goal of creating a marketable product and making a worthwhile contribution by sharing it with as many people who suffer from these types of discomfort as possible.
A born entrepreneur, Louise was up to the challenge. Once she founded the company, she started connecting with both specialists in the field and the people she wanted to help. The people she met would alternately motivate her to keep going, steer her in the right direction, or help her find her way. She shared, reflected, listened, and naturally continued her search, more convinced than ever that she was on the right path, because the need is real, and there are many people who will benefit from her solution.