Couple cash in on pandemic practicalities

  • Clever thinking: Talia Simons with the portable laptop desk sold by her company Practical Gifts BDA; below, touchless keys, which allow you to open doors without touching handles

    Clever thinking: Talia Simons with the portable laptop desk sold by her company Practical Gifts BDA; below, touchless keys, which allow you to open doors without touching handles

  • Sold by Practical Gifts BDA (Photograph supplied)

    Sold by Practical Gifts BDA (Photograph supplied)

The coronavirus pandemic sparked a new business idea for a husband-and-wife team after they noticed their children spent more time staring at computer screens and tablets during the pandemic lockdown.

Talia Simons feared that shuttered schools and movement restrictions meant that her youngsters may suffer health problems from blue light emitted by screens as they kept in touch with the outside world.

She said: “My husband, Rohaan, and I were concerned about their eyes. We had seen research that blue light emitted from the screen can damage the retina or cause headaches.”

She did some online research and discovered special non-prescription screen glasses, designed to block blue light from screens — and decided to set up Practical Gifts BDA to import them and other useful gadgets and items.

Mrs Simons said: “We thought ‘hey, how many other parents are struggling with the same thing, with kids at home?’ We wanted to offer it to the Bermuda market.”

Practical Gifts BDA now offers screen glasses for children and adults and they are adding more products to their online store.

Mrs Simons said: “We wanted to sell products that were useful. We didn’t want to sell trinkets.”

The couple had time on their hands because their bouncy castle rental business, Castle Masters, was quiet owing to strict pandemic restrictions.

Mrs Simons said that the company also featured items geared towards health and safety, such as a touchless key.

She said: “It is a cool little key chain that allows you to touch less public surfaces.

“It allows you to open some types of doors and turn on bathroom faucets. You can use it on the touch pad at the ATM machine or when signing in the grocery store.”

She explained the key was not a door type, but more of a hook.

Mrs Simons said: “It is shaped like the east end of St George’s.”

The touchless key has been a hit and one company has placed a bulk order for its staff. The keys sold out, but they now have them back in stock again.

Mrs Simons said: “People want to keep their hands clean because of everything going on with Covid-19.”

The couple also added a portable and adjustable laptop desk to their product line-up.

Mrs Simons said: “My husband and I were both working from home. I was trying to work on the couch. I didn’t have the right support and I was getting a backache.”

Practical Gifts BDA hopes to keep the online store up and running even after the pandemic is over.

Mrs Simons said: “But what we offer might be different depending on the community’s needs at that time.

“It may be seasonal. We don’t ever want to get so big that we have stock all year around of the same item.

“We want to fill gaps as we see the need. Our aim has never been to get rich from this.”

Shipping products to the island has been a problem because of transport restrictions.

Mrs Simons said: “All of the shipping and courier companies are backed up globally.

“Understandably, they also need to prioritise essential goods, which means it is taking us a while to get items here.”

For more information, visit Facebook and Instagram under @PracticalgiftsBDA, or at or e-mail

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Published Jun 26, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jun 26, 2020 at 1:34 pm)

Couple cash in on pandemic practicalities

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