Sometimes, it’s the little things that make traveling more pleasant.
Things like a clean seat cover from home. Angela Aaron, a Wichita native whose career in costume design takes her all over the world, started a company based on a product that made her travel life a bit nicer.
Aaron’s company, Nice Seats, makes individual, washable seat covers that can be placed over an airplane seat, a theater seat or any seat, “to make your seat yours,” Aaron said. The fabric seat cover unfolds out of a small pouch and, similar to a fitted sheet, can be placed over and tucked into just about any seat one might encounter.
Aaron, with the help of her family, developed the idea of Nice Seats in 2007 after an unpleasant encounter with an extremely unhygienic person on an airplane. After being seated near someone with a less than pleasant odor, she realized that people, even people with good grooming habits, leave behind some of themselves on their seats.
“You sweat in it; you eat in it, you sleep in it,” she said. “You would never sleep on a hotel mattress with out a sheet; how is a seat any different?” When the seat cover is on the seat, the carry pouch becomes a handy storage pocket on the lower part of the seat designed for cell phones, iPods, lip balm or whatever you'd like to keep close. The seat covers come in a variety of colors and fabrics to offer something for everyone.
Growing up in Wichita, Aaron said, she never imagined she be an entrepreneur of a growing small business, let alone work as a wardrobe stylist and costume designer.
Last month, she created costumes for a Broadway show called The Illusionists. Currently, she is focused on opening another show in Australia. At home in Los Angeles, she does styling for commercials and music videos, including the hit Fireball by rapper Pitbull.
So how does a Kansas girl end up working in show business? Aaron left Wichita to begin high school in Colorado, and she now lives in Los Angeles, although she visits her family – consisting of Clines, Aarons and Vallieres – in Wichita a couple of times a year.
With a background in retail , Aaron moved to Prague, Czech Republic, in the mid-90s. She made connections there and nabbed a spot as the fashion editor at Czech Esquire magazine.
“That’s how I got into wardrobe styling and costume design,” she said. “There was a natural proclivity to the work and a measure of good fortune.”
And a great deal of hard work. When she is working on a job, that means long hours and lots of travel. “It’s very intense,” she said. “There are no half measures, no thinking about anything else when you’re on a big project.”
Aaron’s goal with the creation of Nice Seats was to make time in public seats more comfortable with the peace of mind that her seat was freshly laundered from home, thereby creating a small slice of luxury in the otherwise nonluxurious experience of modern-day travel. But through the years, Aaron has found that there are people who are looking for something like Nice Seats for a more important reason.
“A sizable portion of my customer base are persons suffering from severe allergies and compromised immune systems; for them, Nice Seats fills a very real need,” she said.
Aaron said she has been pleasantly surprised how many people have found delight in Nice Seats. “I sought out to create a creature comfort with a dash of whimsy,” she said, “but discovering that I’ve been able to provide a measure of comfort for someone with a greater need has been the most rewarding part of the journey thus far.”
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