PITTSFIELD, Maine — “I wish I thought of that” is the typical reaction Amanda Logiodice said she receives for her simple yet versatile invention.
Logiodice, owner of Amanda Rachael Photography in Pittsfield, created a bean-bag-like poser that she has used for baby photography.
“It seemed like an awful simple concept, so I was figuring out why there wasn’t anything available,” Logiodice said. “It just works.”
The invention is called the Bella Bun, named after her daughter, Bella, which means beautiful.
“People call it a bun-in-the-oven if you’re pregnant. I think the word ‘bun’ fits,” she said, adding that the product looks like a ‘B’ when viewed from the side.
Logiodice, along with her husband, Jediah, have been selling Bella Buns online for about a year. They have sold nearly 500 with little advertising. They have sold mostly in the United States, but some orders have been sent as far as Denmark, Japan and Australia.
The Bella Buns are produced in Pittsfield and Palmyra and shipped by Amanda and Jediah, along with help from their five kids. The Logiodices hired seamstress Becky Pennock of Palmyra to handle the sewing.
“We learned the first month that I can’t sew,” Amanda said with a laugh. “My best one was the one I did with duct tape.”
The Bella Bun has been trademarked and is patent pending, Jediah said.
Baby photography has become popular recently, Amanda said, and with many people taking their own baby pictures, the invention has come at the right time.
“Photography is an insanely fast-growing industry,” Amanda said. “I mean, everyone can buy an SLR [camera] at Best Buy or Walmart, even. Most of them don’t have studios. It just made sense to make something portable for a location shoot.”
The Bella Bun is filled with packing peanuts, Jediah said, which makes it light for traveling photographers. It also saves on shipping costs.
“There’s a couple reasons [for using packing peanuts],” Jediah said. “They’re a lot lighter and they’re a lot easier to work with. They don’t fly everywhere. I also had the concern of the beans themselves. If they happen to escape, you’re dealing with newborns.”
Babies aren’t the only subject for photographers using the Bella Bun. Amanda said people have used it for animal photography, and one woman said she uses it for boudoir.
“It’s just amazing how many people day in and day out come to our Facebook page or send us an email saying ‘it’s the most amazing thing. I’m never going to take baby pictures again without it,’” Jediah said.
Keeping customers satisfied has been a focus for Jediah. He said he has watched other companies who sell similar, round-shaped baby posers fall behind on orders, losing customers in the process.
After a year of selling Bella Buns, the Logiodices said they’re interested in making the product more visible.
They have launched a Kickstarter campaign online. Kickstarter is a website where people can donate small amounts of money to help give a company a boost.
“Usually it’s a dollar at a time or $10 at a time,” Jediah said, adding that there are incentives for certain donation amounts. “They make a pledge, and in 30 days, if you reach your goal, you get the money. If you don’t, you get nothing and [the pledgers] get their money back.
“There are two videos we want to make, and we want to start advertising in print magazines,” he added.
More advertising will mean increased production, Jediah said.
“The next step is streamlining even more. We’ve talked to some manufacturers,” Jediah said, adding that they may have found a suitor in Ellsworth. “We’d like to keep the work in Maine.”
The Bella Bun comes in two sizes, with the packing material sold separately, and can be ordered at shop.bellabun.com.