By Marc Zarefsky
Hiral Sanghavi and his wife Yoganshi strolled through the San Francisco International Airport last December as they giddily awaited their flight to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary.
The young couple could not wait to spend a week together in paradise, but before they made it to the gate, Hiral realized he forgot something.
Now usually this would not be a big deal. He figured he would shell out $25, or however much the closest airport store was charging for a travel pillow, and be back on his way. The problem was this was not the first time he forgot one while flying. Or the second time. Or even the third.
Hiral had four airport-bought pillows comfortably resting in his apartment in Evanston, where he was pursuing his MBA at Kellogg, and five in Yoganshi’s San Francisco apartment.
His wife decided nine airport-bought pillows was enough.
“She told me I wasn’t allowed to buy any more, that I had accumulated enough,” Hiral said. “So I said, you are a professional designer, why don’t you come up with a solution to ensure that I don’t forget?”
The two kicked a few ideas around as they boarded the plane. Then, settled in their seats, Yoganshi had an epiphany.
What about a jacket with a pillow inside it?
The two thought the idea had potential, so Hiral frantically pulled a sheet of paper out of his wallet and borrowed a pen from the person sitting next to him. For the next four hours, he and Yoganshi listed all the problems they could think of that travelers face, and then sketched out a jacket that could solve those problems.
And with that, the BauBax jacket was born.
On July 7, with Hiral as CEO and Yoganshi as Chief Design Officer, the two launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund “The world’s best travel jacket with 15 features.” They solved Hiral’s pillow problem by including an inflatable pillow (that inflates in two seconds), but they did not stop there. Additional features include:
- Eye mask
- Portable charging pocket
- Phone pocket
- iPad pocket
- Earphone holders
- Zipper that serves as a pen and stylus
- Drink pocket
- Microfiber cloth
- Sunglasses pocket
- Hand warming pockets
- Passport pocket
- Blanket pocket
CNN Money called it “The Swiss Army knife of travel wear.”
The jacket comes in four styles (sweatshirt, windbreaker, bomber and blazer), multiple colors and is available for men and women. On the Kickstarter site, it is described as “the jacket you’ve always needed but never existed.”
The campaign launched with a modest goal of $20,000 in backing.
That goal was met in five hours.