A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
It started with a diagnosis. Our middle daughter was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder or SPD for short. Sensory processing disorder is a neurological disorder that affects how the brain perceives and responds to sensory input from the outside. It’s like having a traffic jam of information inside your brain whenever the environment around you is a little too loud or something you're wearing is a bit scratchy. When we learned about SPD, all the little "quirks" about our daughter started to make sense and lead me to find something to help her.
It Starts With Hugs
When my daughter would experience an episode, I found that if I held her in a very strong, tight hug, she would calm down. Through her occupational therapist, I learned that it was because of the proprioceptive input (awareness of her body in space from pressure to the muscles and joints) that made her feel safe. From there, I learned that this can be achieved through the use of weighted blankets. Just as an infant feels more cozy and secure when tightly swaddled, weighted blankets provides the same comfort and security by providing a deep pressure when draped over the body.
No Beads, Please
As a veteran of fashion and design, I knew I could create a weighted blanket that could be more than just therapeutic and functional; they could be beautiful and use sustainable materials. Knowing that many of them were filled with plastic pellets didn't sit well with me. I knew I wanted to design something that wouldn't litter the environment with more plastic. I began experimenting with hand-crocheting (using a very large crochet needle!) large rolls of deadstock fabric. Using deadstock reduces waste and is an eco-friendly way to recycle unused fabric that was leftover by other companies. Each Sheltered Co. weighted blanket uses 55-60 yards of luxurious, thick jersey fabric. I'm proud of the fact that everything from start to finish is sourced and made in L.A.
Studies have also shown the alleviating effects of weighted blankets on individuals with low levels of serotonin. A weighted blanket could be the essential tool in helping children and adults feel safe and grounded in order to engage with life in a meaningful and productive way. However, we need your help to make blankets available to as many people as possible. Each blanket is handmade with love and care.
As a mother to a child with special needs, my first instinct was to buy a weighted blanket for my son. But I never guessed that using one for myself would be so beneficial! Besides being incredibly beautiful, the blanket helps me sleep so much better and it’s been my go-to comfort when I’m feeling restless and worried. -Jaana Nugent Peltekian
This blanket is the blanket of all blankets! Bought one for my son and one for myself. After a stressful year of fighting cancer, anxiety, especially at night can take over. Ever since I got my blanket, I sleep way more soundly. My son gets anxious sometimes too and we get his “huggy” blanket and he literally slows down and is able to reset himself. I feel like in this crazy world everyone could benefit from a Sheltered blanket! How do we get them to our world leaders? Not kidding. -Carrie Hoffman
My sleep has never been great, and after having children I found it increasingly harder to settle my mind at night and fall asleep. I had read about weighted blankets being beneficial for sleep difficulties but hated how they all looked, so I felt it hard to justify the hefty price tag, until I found Sheltered co. They look beautiful and feel so soft. Best of all though, the blanket helps me relax right away and clear my head of distractions. The first night I used it, I slept so deeply and felt like a new person! My 6 year old son just got one as well as seems to be able to settle quicker too. Love these blankets! - Ashley Usich-Iha
I was gifted a beautiful Sheltered Co. weighted blanket when I was in the hospital after my son was diagnosed with leukemia. I was so afraid at that time that it was hard to stay in my body and I would feel my energy floating above me like a ghost, my weighted blanket was one of the only things that could bring me back to earth and allow myself to be present again. I would sit next to my son in the hospital bed and feel the weighted blanket on my legs and I would feel safe, connected to something, it really saved me during that time and now, months later I still use it every night. I’ve heard people say it feels like a hug and it does but a very special kind of hug, like a mother's hug that makes you feel safe, loved, and cocooned. Oh, and did I mention how beautiful they are to look at?
Sheltered Co.’s weighted blanket has completely changed the bedtime routine in our house. My oldest son has a developmental delay and needs extra support during the day. We use the weighted blanket to help him sleep both during nap time and at night. His blanket helps calm into a nap when he so desperately needs one, but doesn’t think he does. Now my younger son also asks for it while watching movies and reading. Every guest in our house who uses it raves about it, and several have gone on to buy on for themselves. We are believers!
My husband and I hate raising our voices with our kids, but to eliminate such a thing with a five and two year-old seemed impossible. I couldn’t even think where to begin. I had a hypothesis when I got our blanket—that I would yell less, learn to chill out and show my kids how by example. We leave our blanket on the foot of our bed and it’s become our chill out station, and not just for me, but for both kids. We’re done with the horrible attempts to send our spirited five year-old begrudgingly to her room. Now she knows to go sit with the blanket until she feels better—and eventually you always do, that’s the beauty of it. Our blanket has changed how we parent, how our kids deal with emotion and how we interact as a family. It’s been a huge thing for us.
We love our beautiful Sheltered Co. blanket so much. It has become a statement piece in our bedroom but unlike most pretty things, it is as functional as it is aesthetically pleasing. It hugs my husband and I to sleep each and every night and I have never slept so deeply. I can’t imagine how we lived without our weighted blanket!
-Ali Lee Hollon
I tried a Sheltered weighted blanket for my 3.5 yr old who doesn't sleep consistently through the night. He is high energy and moves about a million miles per minute. Once we started covering him with his blanket, he has slept through the night so much more consistently--which is invaluable! Also, the first day we had it, I climbed into his tiny bed and covered myself with it, kind of as a joke for him, but also to feel how it felt. I fell right asleep! I was like "woah, this blanket is the real deal". And it is. So glad we decided to try it. Now I'm just wondering when we should get another one!?
-Hannah Adams Burque
The first night after we got our Sheltered blanket my husband and I both woke up, looked at each other, and immediately started sharing with one another about the incredible nights sleep we just had. We weren’t sure if it was the blanket or if we were just “tired parents”, but every single night our sleep has been consistently deeper, longer, and dreamier than ever before. So SO happy with our purchase. -Kaylee Defer
I know Pam personally, and if she could help calm, soothe and HUG every human on this planet, she would. Its no wonder that she designed a blanket that does all of those things. I would support her solely from watching the joy she exudes, knowing she has found a way to help the world...one blanket at a time.
Let’s see. For one supporting a mom-owned business that has an incredible mission and produces gorgeous blankets is a bit of a no-brainer. I bought the blanket for my son, but now it’s everyone’s favorite to snuggle with. It really does help you become instantly calmer—I suffer from occasional insomnia and it REALLY helps during bad nights when nothing else will. Plus did I mention it’s really really pretty? ❤️
The first day I brought my weighted blanket home I put it on my 3 year old after he fell asleep. HE TOOK A 3 HOUR NAP. That hadn’t happened in over a year. I wanted to cry. I didn’t know how much I needed this blanket until I had it. It is literally a hug. Now I have to to fight my husband, kid, and dogs for a turn to snuggle with it. You can literally feel all the love that Pam puts in to it. Saving my pennies for a bigger one!
All blankets are handmade using dead-stock fabric, sourced in Los Angeles. All measurements are taken with blanket laid flat, but due to the large weave the blankets will stretch anywhere from 4' to 6' to drape perfectly over your body when you wrap yourself or your loved one in them.
Child size blankets are approx. 3’ x 4.75’ and weigh approx. 10-12 lbs.
Adult size blanket are approx. 4' x 6' and weigh approx.17-25 lbs.
Risks and challenges
Since having a daughter with sensory processing disorder who is also on the spectrum, it has always been my goal to be able to hire adults who might otherwise not be able to find employment due to neurological disorders to make the blankets. Since the blankets are crocheted in a repetitive, rhythmic pattern, it can serve as work that is both productive and soothing. I understand that while this is a great "feel good" idea, it will have its own set of challenges. I plan on operating my business with integrity and I'm determined to provide work for those in need of vocational training.
Since I plan to expand production soon to meet the demand, I will need to hire more staff as quickly as possible. I am also in search of a warehouse to make and store the blankets.
We source all of our fabric in downtown Los Angeles and as a way to be as sustainable as possible, we only use deadstock material. While sourcing large amounts of closeout/deadstock fabrics can be challenging at times, I'm dedicated to using only sustainable materials.