NATIONWIDE — Melissa Gersin, a Saratoga Springs native and registered nurse who specializes in maternity, recently appeared on a television show that has given new life to her invention for helping parents calm their crying babies.
Gersin is the founder of Tranquilo Mat, a company based near Boston, Massachusetts that was featured in a February episode of “Shark Tank.” The Emmy Award-winning program on the ABC Television Network highlights a wide variety of proposals by aspiring entrepreneurs from around the country.
According to her company’s website (www.tranquilomat.com), the slogan for Gersin’s invention is that it “mimics the sounds and motions of a mother’s womb.” It’s available in two sizes that fit either car seats or cribs, and range in price from $85 to $99.
Reached for comment this week, Gersin said the original production line of 2,000 units has already sold out and that back orders are quickly stacking up. She anticipates more units will be available for distribution from a warehouse in Wisconsin by April.
The products are manufactured in China and adhere to strict regulatory standards set by the federal Food and Drug Administration. From “top to bottom,” Gersin said, parents can be assured of the Tranquilo Mat’s safety for their infants.
Gersin, a 2001 alumnus of Saratoga Springs High School, explained that she started developing her business plan after graduating college in 2010 and working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She became familiar with the work of Dr. Harvey Karp, a renowned pediatrician and author of the book “The Happiest Baby on the Block.”
In trying to calm several infants simultaneously at work one night, Gersin had an epiphany and envisioned portable units that could fit into each of the cribs. In her free time, she started developing Tranquilo Mat prototypes and sharing her ideas with colleagues in maternity, all of whom were skeptical of her invention.
Still, Gersin persisted and eventually joined forces with two more upstate New York women in the Boston area: Tranquilo Mat cofounder Ashley Robinson from Rome, and Annie Hall from Glens Falls.
The recent appearance on “Shark Tank,” filmed last September in California, has significantly increased the workload for Gersin and her partners. “We’ve nearly doubled our annual sales from last year…in the last three or four days,” she said.
Though not a mother herself, Gersin is convinced by experience and the testimonials of her customers that many parents will find the Tranquilo Mat helpful—so much that her own full-time work as a maternity nurse is no longer necessary.
“The joke is that this has become my baby,” Gersin said.