“Slow and steady:” laNora’s progress since The Pitch of fall 2023

By Bella Agnello

The evening of September 15, the Plaster Business School held a mock-Shark Tank event called The Pitch. Students who enter and are accepted have the opportunity to showcase to a panel of entrepreneurs products and inventions that challenge perspectives and make a difference.

Last semester’s winning product was laNora — a pillow made for women recovering from breast surgery. Since then, winners Timothy Davis and Luise Schmidt-Krayer have continued to improve their product and marketing strategies to provide quality comfort for these women.

The process to create laNora and market it was a five-year long journey beginning when Davis’ mother was recovering from a medically necessary breast surgery. In the 8-12 weeks of recovery, Davis’ mother experienced many restless nights. She searched for a therapeutic pillow that would alleviate her pain.

With no results, Davis and his mother then began to design a pillow that would relieve post-surgery discomfort for women.

Soon after launching laNora in Europe, Davis started attending Cedarville University. Now a junior Finance major, he brought on Schmidt-Krayer, a German international student and sophomore Industrial Design major, to help him present laNora at The Pitch last fall.

After winning the $1,000 prize and gaining notes from the entrepreneurs judging the event, the team took steps to secure medical registration in the United States. The process is taking longer than the team anticipated, however they have since partnered with MediCorp to help the registration process along.

“Slow and steady,” said Schmidt-Krayer. 

Additionally, Davis and Schmidt-Krayer brought on their friends as teammates and co-representatives of laNora. With their help, the newly created marketing team is setting up an Instagram page which will be linked to a sister Facebook account.

Even without the social media accounts, laNora is picking up steam. Strictly by word of mouth, laNora is selling four-to-five orders per month, and Schmidt-Krayer says this might be the most efficient and prevalent way that the pillow will continue to sell – especially for the older generation of women needing surgery.

“My grandma had surgery and she went off what the doctor told her and not off of Instagram, which she has,” Schmidt-Krayer said.

Along with the new social media accounts, Davis’ brother is renovating the company’s website to fit the tone of the company’s mission to soothe and relieve.

Though hoping to work with one of the judges, Scott Moffat – co-founder and head of partnerships at Ideal Strategic Partners, a company that mentors and helps starting entrepreneurs – Davis and Schmidt-Krayer realized then that the opportunity would not be a possibility for laNora yet.

“We were at a point where I didn’t feel ready for what he was planning,” Davis said. “We weren’t on the same timeline yet.”

Months after The Pitch and after sending in the documents to apply for medical registration, Davis bumped into Travis Smith (‘09) – another judge at The Pitch and founder at T&E Logistics – at a Cedarville girl’s basketball game. Smith encouraged the team to reach out if they need any help going forward.

While the steps seem long and grueling, Davis remembers that building a business is like planting a seed.

“It’s underneath the dirt and all you do day by day, you’re walking out and just watering it but you’re still kind of just looking at dirt,” Davis said. “You know that there’s something there, so you keep watering and eventually something will grow.”

What’s next for laNora as they await approval for medical registration and grow their platform?

For now, all they can do is simply wait.

Bella Agnello is a freshman Broadcasting major with a concentration in Journalism. She enjoys thrifting, listening to records, and reading classic Russian literature in her spare time.

Photo courtesy of Cedarville

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