…Born of a simple need.

Starting to do anything new is not easy, even if it is fun. Innovation requires putting in effort, creating new habits and breaking old ones. As much as we like to dream and have goals for the future, it can cause stress no matter what.

I originally came to the United States from Bogota Colombia when I was 17. I spoke some English as my mom is from Indiana, and I choose to stay here and go to college. I took on the challenge, graduated and continued on my life’s journey in the USA. I studied ceramics and painting in college as well as business.

I have always been interested in making useful beautiful products and finding the best way to let people know about them. Earth Bound Works was my first company, created to take my ceramic work on the road and show it nationally. It was a great deal of fun to travel around the country and show my work. I met wonderful people showing my ceramics, yet I felt that I needed to expand creatively and continue growing in other ways.

This period was a challenging time for me as I had to find another way to support myself other than creating ceramics, and I was unsure about what I wanted to do. I started sharing my ceramics knowledge by volunteering for Touchstone, a clay program through the Arc of San Francisco, serving people with special needs. I found out how good it felt to be of service and I applied for a full time position there. It was definitely a challenging job, and exercise became the answer to deal with the stress. I started swimming four times a week. I did that for several years until I went on a date to the ice skating rink, which proved to be life-changing. I soon became a regular at the rink and started ice dancing, which I continue to do to this day.

Skating came with the inevitable falls, bruises, and strain on muscles I didn’t even know existed. Spending time on the cold surface, feeling scared of falling and working on teaching myself new ways of finding balance were real challenges. My feet were cold, and I could not move fast enough to break a sweat. I refused to let these pains deter me, but I needed help with those setbacks, including the physical challenges and my inner resistance to work on things that did not feel safe for me. I was definitely out of my comfort zone!

I needed something I could wear on the ice to keep me warm and make me feel good. I wanted to feel inspired to stay longer practicing. I imagined a soothing warm scarf, a cozy feeling around my neck, or around my waist, something that fit nicely and felt like a warm embrace!

But shopping for microwavable warmers was disappointing. I found that all the available products were intended to be used at home and did not encourage mobility.

Luckily, as an artist, I thrive on designing products that combine form and function in beautiful and unique ways.

My need was the genesis for the CozyNeck™–a wrap that I could wear on the ice and off, that would be a nice everywhere! To be functional in this context, the wrap needed to be long with extra coverage for the back of the neck, and pliable and cushy and follow my body’s contour smoothly so it could be used on other all areas, including the lower back.

I chose flax seeds for the filling because they are flat, reminding me of clay platelets that are able to be shaped on the potters wheel, rendering smooth shapes. Flax seeds have a high percentage of oil which generates good moist heat. At the same time, they can also hold the cold when placed in a freezer should the need arise for a cold compress.

The cozy, embracing feel that I was after was very important. I designed the stitching based on narrow finger-shaped continuous channels that interlock to ensure that the seeds remain evenly distributed throughout the garment without shifting or clumping.

I was aiming for a soft wrap that would stay warm for an extended period of time. Fabric quality, body and durability were key factors. I chose a substantial fleece fabric made of a blend of hemp—for its insulating properties and sustainability—and organic cotton.

In addition to providing deep lasting warmth, I also wanted something that would enhance my mood, making me feel good and providing relaxation from stress and pain. Growing up in Colombia my grandmother and I worked with various herbs in her garden and I remembered their powerful and soothing effects. Adding dried lavender buds, mint, eucalyptus and clove were a wonderful addition to the wraps. However, knowing some folks are sensitive to scent, I made sure to offer my all WarmGoods® in unscented options. I also created ScentStrip™ to enhance adding essential oils and be able to clear the wrap entirely if desired.

Replacement pull-off covers made a lot of sense to add years of life to the wrap. To have them be WarmWearable on the ice, led to the idea of WrapTie™ covers!  I loved the concept of extendingWarmGoods® wraps to allow people to enjoy them be outside of the home, extending the comfort to the gym or the office for stress relief and portable comfort. We offer them now in a variety of colors and prints. I will also be printing my own designs on silk and hemp blends in the near future.

As I shared the CozyNeck™ wraps with my friends, their encouragement and ideas gave life to new products such as the Warmest Blanket™, WarmHeart™ and all the growing line products that collectively make up WarmGoods®.

I am so grateful to be able to create products that bring comfort and relief you can feel right away, made with sustainable materials to care for the planet, create a community of likeminded people to bring a great product to people,  here in the USA. Experience the healing power of these remarkable herbal wraps, hand-crafted with care and love.

In health,

Marlene Sanchez