Reno design firm gets big Wal-Mart test
Tears welled in the eyes of Tamara Bos as she checked out the end-cap display of bedding at a Wal-Mart store in north Carson City a few days ago.
After two years of focused activity and more than a decade of thinking a line of easy-to-wash comforters and quilts designed by the Reno resident is getting a large-scale test in more than 400 Wal-
Mart stores across the nation.
The idea is the soul of simplicity: Comforters and quilts are too bulky to be laundered easily in home washing machines. The Easy Wash system developed by Bos uses a system of fasteners within pockets to create comforters and quilts from three panels that can be easily separated and laundered separately.
Executives at Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., liked the idea so much that they helped Bos line up a manufacturer, Keeco LLC of Hayward, Calif., to produce the bedding.
Bos’ company, Tamara Lee Originals Inc., retains a royalty and licensing interest in the product.
The initial test by Wal-Mart includes juvenile bedding, but Bos and the retail giant hope to expand the line into adult bedding as well. It’s marketed under a Wal-Mart brand, Home Trends.
(Along with the store in northern Carson City, Wal-Mart locations that carry the Easy Wash product include Reno Northtowne and Winnemucca.)
Bos first conceived the product in the mid 1990s, while she was bedridden after back surgery. She developed an early version of the three-paneled quilt to be sold to University of Nevada, Reno, students before making contact with Wal-Mart executives two years ago.
She started with a presentation to a regional executive who quickly set up a meeting at Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters.
“Everyone at Wal-Mart was fabulous,” she says. “I have found the people I am dealing with to be absolutely above board, ethical and with very strong morals.”
The two years from her initial presentation to executives at Wal-Mart were consumed with financial and legal negotiations, hammering out an agreement with Keeco to make the bedding and discussion of fabric
If the product hits it big, Bos wants to create a writers’ scholarship at UNR, and establish funds to aid distressed women and children. She places her own needs fourth on the list.
“I get a rush out of helping people,” she says.
Tamara Lee Originals Inc. has patents and trademark applications pending on the Easy Wash systems.
The cancelation of the 2020 event “severely affected operating revenue,” according to the Great Reno Balloon Race.