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Let's talk about blue light and business

11 April 2018

180307 Jasmin Telford Baxter Blue BW

When I [Jasmin Telford, above] was crippled with headaches after hours on screens, I assumed it was probably time for prescription glasses.

To my surprise my eye test results showed 20/20 vision. The optometrist suggested I purchase frames with just a blue light filter in the lenses, given my constant computer use. I was gobsmacked when I was charged $180!

Interestingly, if I added the mildest of prescription lenses, I would have been charged 30% of that cost and private health insurance would cover the difference. But private health does not cover blue light filter glasses.

I left the optometrist in a huff – and with an idea.

Many people who suffer from digital eye strain (also known as computer vision syndrome) do not require prescription glasses. As I read more about blue light and its effects, I discovered the reason sufferers’ eyes felt dry, sore, red, tired is due to the high frequency flicker in the blue light that makes our screens so bright. To focus, your eyes have to flicker just as quickly.

Reading this you’re probably thinking about how your eyes feel right now, but there is another side effect - sleep deprivation. Looking at an iPhone, iPad or laptop at night stops your brain from releasing the melatonin you need to sleep. That’s why Apple has added night shift on its device. However, the problem with this is it changes the colour of your screen.

As the mother of four children that also got me thinking about the impact devices were having at such a critical time in their development, especially with teenagers who are more likely to use their devices - and at night.

After 18 months of intense research, prototyping and testing of a range of blue light filtering glasses, I launched my own business Baxter Blue in July 2017. I’ll be first to admit, running my own business was very different. The eerie quiet, for example, was a stark contrast to my former work in a busy, noisy office.

Day One: the phones didn’t ring and the emails didn’t ding. No one knew my little company existed and they certainly weren’t searching for it.  

I had to teach myself how to do everything from dealing with overseas factories and designing products to web design, eCommerce, automated emailing, database systems, marketing, understanding Facebook algorithms. The list goes on.

I couldn’t just email ‘Tom’ in IT to work out why my emails weren’t working or ask Judy in design to whip up a brochure for me.

It was all up to me – and that could feel a little overwhelming at times.

My best tip: Facebook.

I found amazing support within women’s business Facebook pages. I could post a simple question like “who is the best shipping company” and quickly receive insights based on the relevant experience of others in similar situations.

There are so many women doing amazing things in their businesses, but they’re still open to helping others – that sort of support made all the difference to me in those early days.

Fast forward to now, and the phone is ringing, emails are dinging, and Baxter Blue has been well received in the marketplace.

We have found a passionate audience in the health and wellbeing space, and have our very first Baxter Blue Ambassador: Nat Kringoudis.

Nat is very well known in the health and well-being space. She is the founder of Melbourne-based women’s health clinic, The Pagoda Tree, and produces HealthTalks TV.

We’ve also found many forward-thinking businesses that see blue light filter glasses as an essential workplace tool – part of their staff wellbeing programs. We now have a workplace visits team, who can set up a ‘pop-up shop’ within offices for staff to try different styles and purchase their own Baxter Blues.

It’s so rewarding to hear from people who were in the same situation as me, and now they have a solution – and one they’re happy to be seen in public wearing. In less than a year, we’re already having an impact – and I’m excited about where we’ll take the business next. 

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