ABOUT ALEKS, THE FOUNDER
Zeepo founder, Aleks Horvat, spent many a sleepless night before he realized that what kept him awake was literally the light staring him in the face: from the LED on the alarm clock and the TV, the street lights seeping in over the drapes, moonlight, and the worst offender, early morning sun. If he did find a mask to completely block out the light, it was the constant adjustment of straps that became maddening.
Once Horvat figured out that the sleep mask needed to be strapless, he had to figure out how to make the idea… stick. Using an adhesive not only solved the strapless issue, but it also solved the issue of conforming the mask to the user’s face to completely block out the light. No more fidgeting at night — to block the light or adjust the strap. Horvat wears his Zeepo every night, can’t sleep without it.
Horvat, a writer and serial entrepreneur, is often inspired by personal experience. From founding the “Hollywood Creative Directory” to the writers’ hangout “theOffice,” Horvat’s drive to find solutions have created paradigm shifts in the chosen product category.
A Word From Aleks
I started wearing eye masks a couple of years ago when I was having trouble going to sleep and staying asleep. My wife likes to read in bed so, before I got into my current eye mask phase, I used to bury my head in the pillow or put the pillow over my face. The slightest bit of morning light also woke me up. Eye masks from the airlines were my first foray into this kind of sleep aide. But those sleep masks were cheap, felt awful against my face and most were not opaque enough or the light leaked in near the bridge of my nose.
The hunt began.
I scoured the internet for the perfect sleep mask. I tried them all: ones that looked like helmets, goggles, wrapped up your entire head. I must have spent $150 on sleep masks in six months. The biggest problem with most of the masks: the straps. They left marks on my (bald) head, or they were too loose and I had to adjust them in the middle of the night – defeating the reason for the sleep mask. Sometimes, the straps just broke off.
I knew what I needed: an opaque sleep mask without straps that was pliable to my face so as not to leak in the light. Unfortunately, it had yet to be invented.
I’m a problem solver. And when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, I’m motivated. I went down to Pico Blvd. in West LA, to F&S Fabrics and asked them for black, opaque, 100% cotton flannel. I put it over my eyes. The light still came in. So I folded it in half – et voila! No light seepage.
Then, I walked down to the tailor shop and asked him to sew the fabric into a long strip that would cover my eyes. Lastly, I used some regular, double-sided Scotch tape to adhere the mask to my face. I knew I was getting somewhere. But I needed better, kinder, gentler tape. Face tape.
I came across a medical grade, double-sided adhesive that doctors use during surgery. It has no latex, is hypo-allergenic and FDA approved. I was cutting little strips for myself every night to apply to my strapless mask. I had figured it out. This made me happy. But I needed more tape. The tape was expensive when I was just buying it for myself. Almost $1/strip. I had to order thousands of units to make it cost effective.
And that’s how my business, Zeepo, was born. While I’ve had other businesses before, this one seems more personal. I want other people to love the Zeepo as much as I do… and finally get a good night’s sleep.
If you have yet to find the perfect sleep mask, I urge you to give Zeepo a try. It’s strapless and completely blocks out the light. No more messing with straps that are too tight or too loose. Straps don’t get caught in your hair. Light doesn’t leak in near the bridge of your nose. Can I tell you how happy I am with my design? This eye mask is a game changer.