Welcome to Locally Grown! Locally Grown introduces you to the people and stories behind Local Lake County businesses. This month it is our pleasure to introduce you to Shirin Pope, owner and CEO of Petit Somme Neck Pillow.
As parents, we all want what is best and safest for our children, and often ideas are formed based on unmet needs which we experience in parenting situations. As a new mom herself, Shirin witnessed her six-month-old daughter stop breathing for a short amount of time while sleeping in her car seat. The baby fortunately woke herself up to get some air and, needless to say, it was quite upsetting for both baby and mommy. After doing some research, Shirin couldn’t find an appropriate apparatus to help support her daughter’s head properly. This became the catalyst for Shirin’s drive to create Petit Somme. Petit Somme is a new specialty pillow that keeps your child’s head in the correct position while sleeping in a car seat. This pillow is free of harmful chemicals and odors, made with Biogreen memory foam, and is an amazing product for anyone with a child who spends a lot of time in the car taking family road trips, or simply has kiddos who are easily lulled to sleep by the motion of a car.
After Shirin consulted with a chiropractor and a physician’s assistant who was trained in car seat safely, as well as with several children ranging from four months to ten years of age, Petit Somme came to fruition. Four years of product research and development and over 200 prototypes finally brought a safe, nontoxic product to the industry–it was 100% made by a mom for moms. The company name is Bache Gardan LLC, which translates to “the child’s neck” in Persian, and Petit Somme means “nap” in French.
Shirin grew up in Lake Bluff and recently moved back to Lake County after a 12-year hiatus. Her family now lives in Gurnee and they have loved being immersed once again in Lake County! You might see Shirin and her family biking or hiking at Independence Grove, hitting the beach on the weekends, or, on a rainy day, you will often find them at the Libertyville movie theater (because, as Shirin points out, “Who doesn’t love free refills on popcorn?”) Shirin also loves to cook, so she often checks out local farmers markets in Grayslake and Liberyville to find delicious fresh eggs and produce.
A busy mom and entrepreneur, Shirin impressively continues to work as a preschool Montessori teacher while building her business with the help of her husband and brother. As part of a military family, Shirin has also traveled many places. One of her favorite trips was visiting Victoria Island in British Columbia, which is one of the most beautiful places she has ever seen. The Petit Somme Pillow has been a game-changer to this traveling family.
Although always on the go, Shirin says, “I take my family life very seriously. Weekends are all about chillaxing, catching up on sleep and health, and one of my favorite days of the week is Sunday, where we watch movies in our PJ’s and I get a break from cooking. We also turn off the phone and cells and just enjoy each other.” She also notes that balance is key. “Balancing work and life can be a challenge; however, I tell myself not to stress if I am not super mom or everything isn’t always perfect. Laundry can wait, and so can the dishes, but love for family is always number one.
“One of the funniest stories of my travels is when I made the original prototype of the pillow. We were in the Target parking lot in Albuquerque, New Mexico loading up the car and my daughter was asleep in her car seat. A mom (who was obviously stressed out) walked by and saw the pillow and asked me where I had gotten that and if she could buy it in Target. I explained to her that no I had made it myself. She then grabbed my hand and asked if I had more and if I could sell her one. When I told her no, this was the only one, she was clearly upset and said ‘Do you think you are the only mom who has unhappy children in their car seat? You need to make this for other moms and get moving on it!’ That was almost four and one half years ago and I often think about her because she is the push I needed to bring Petit Somme to life and make it available to other parents who are also looking for a solution.”
Shirin emphasizes that Petit Somme is made with 100% love–the love of a mother wanting to comfort her child. “Once you see how our product measures compare to the competitors, you will see why we take such pride in this innovative patented new neck pillow, and how there is a science in developing each of these pillows for the comfort of your child. It took several years to bring the finished product because if it was not good enough for my own child, it was not going to be good enough for anyone else’s child until now. And the best part…we are just getting started!”
Check back next week as Shirin steps in as guest editor with her calendar picks, and later this month Shelby will tell us about her experience with the Petit Somme Neck Pillow.
Petit Somme is offering 10% off their pillows to Little Lake County Readers during the month of October, just make sure to add the Locally Grown discount code LittleLake10 when ordering your product.
Click here to purchase a Petit Somme Pillow.
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Disclosure: Petit Somme is our featured Locally Grown Business of the Month. This series of features is part of a paid partnership with Little Lake County. Contact littlelakecounty[at]gmail[dot]com if you are interested in featuring your own locally-owned business in our monthly series.
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