Posted date: 8/4/2009

Keeping Each Other Company

Brentwood couple launch separate online retail businesses.

Los Angeles Business Journal Staff

Jerry and Arlene Rosenstein have spent lifetimes reinventing themselves.

The Brentwood couple began their careers as teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Later they migrated to the high-tech industry and Pioneer Magnetics, a Santa Monica manufacturer of power supply equipment, where Jerry Rosenstein is chief executive and his wife worked as quality control trainer before retiring.

Now, at a time in life when many consider slowing down, the couple – he’s 65 and she’s 63 – have reinvented themselves anew as entrepreneurs, with each starting a separate company.

In the husband’s case, it’s WeddingMusicWorks, which sells customized wedding CDs with music of his own composition; in the wife’s, it’s TravelKleen, which sells reusable headrest protectors for airline travelers grossed out by dirty seats.

“I did a great deal of traveling worldwide and realized that airplanes aren’t clean anymore,” said Arlene Rosenstein. “It bothered me a lot.”

Both companies – hers about two years old, his just five months – sell primarily online. And neither, according to their proprietors, has yet made a significant profit.

Yet the Rosensteins, who recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, continue their labors of love. The CDs sell for $6 to $15, while the white polypropylene headrests sell for $8.95.

“We can’t live on the income yet,” said Jerry Rosenstein, who has no plans to retire from his CEO job anytime soon.

Is this the future the couple envisioned?

“There are lots of fun things you can do in life at any stage,” Arlene Rosenstein said. “We do this instead of watching TV.”

At the end of this segment, we introduced TRAVELKLEEN's founder, Arlene Rosenstein to our audiences. Arlene is all committed to staying healthy when travelling. Go to www.TravelKleen.com
to get more information.

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  • TravelKleen.com
    Have you ever taken your seat on a plane (or a train) and just before plopping your head back, you spot a long black hair dangling from the headrest? Yuck! It’s happened to me more than once – including in first class. Obviously, the airlines don’t change these covers for every flight because of their bottom-line budgets. So, if you want to be sure to keep your head sanitized from who knows what, you can now buy your own head covers. Travel Kleen sells these disposable headrest covers that easily attach to fabric, leather and synthetic materials without marring the surface and can be quickly removed for future use. They come two to a package, cost $9.95 and as a guerilla marketer myself, they make for fantastic promotional opportunities, as people/companies can brand them themselves!

TravelKleen headrest cover. You don't have to be Michael Jackson to arm yourself against microscopic pests and varmints lurking in public spaces such as an airline cabin. One way to shield yourself from these critters is to use these disposable, sanitary headrest protectors the next time you fly. The covers, which attach to fabric, leather and synthetic materials, are reusable up to a dozen times (they are not washable). Two to a package, $9.95; www.travelkleen.com.


Stay healthy. An airplane is a great place to pick up dirt, germs and other nasties. TravelKleen has a nifty reusable headrest protector that puts some distance between you and any germs or head lice that previous passengers may have left behind on your seat.

Practical Travel Gear

Reviews of travel gadgets and travel clothes that pull their weight.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Keeping Cooties Off Your Head in Flight

I seem to have a rather robust immune system and don't get sick much from traveling, but other people who are not so lucky may want to check out these airplane headrest protectors from TravelKleen. They sent me a sample to check out before my last flight, so I gave them a whirl and they deliver as promised.

The idea is airplane seats don't get cleaned very well or very often, especially the overworked ones that are hitting three or four gates in a day. So you whip out one of these, attach the velcro, and put your head on something where you know the origin of it. Two come in a package and they're reusable--there's a set of plastic pieces that keeps the velcro from sticking to everything else when you fold it up. You paranoid or extra-sensitive types can also use them in movie theaters, on trains, or wherever else you're worried about catching cooties. (Just remember the old adage, "That which does not kill you makes you stronger.")

The TravelKleen headrest protectors weigh about as much as a few sheets of paper and take up almost no room. So if you're concerned about the state of where you're nodding off (or are protecting the rest of us from the gobs of mousse in your hair), check your favorite travel gear store or go to TravelKleen.com.

We've got your trendy and ultra-hip
daily family picks in the bag!

a lucky mama

Travel Clean with TravelKleen

Travel far. Travel near.

Travel wide.

Travel heavy. Travel light.

But how about travel clean?

It's finally possible... with TravelKleen.

TravelKleen is the personal headrest protector with a special hygienic material that keeps your head clean and comfortable on trains, planes, and automobiles (great movie, huh?).

And speaking of movies, TravelKleen is perfect for theater seats, too.

Ingenious? We'd say so.

And what's more, TravelKleen is lightweight, reusable and one-size-fits-all.

The Pinks & Blues Girls just love things that make our lives easier. 

So does anyone despise hair oils/products, food remnants, germs, airborne viruses, and any other bodily "things" on headrests as much as the Pinks & Blues Girls do?

Well, it's a good thing we don't have to worry about it anymore, thanks to TravelKleen.

So join the TravelKleen team. You know you want to.

You know your head wants you to.

For cleanliness and freshness wherever your head rests, simply go to www.travelkleen.com.

Travel Clean With TravelKleen

February 10th, 2007 at 12:32am Vanessa Pierce

The skiers I know tend to be world travelers. Generally, they save money during the "high" seasons so they can travel during the "low," "shoulder," "mud," or "off" season, which is what the normal world calls spring and fall. Often times these free-spirited travelers take the plane to international destinations like South America or Europe. To utterly generalize, they can be unkempt. Their hair, for example, let's be honest, hasn't been tended to in a while. It's a little greasy, has started to twist together in dreads, and might even smell.

Now imagine you are a traveler, too, who conveniently gets the flight and same exact seat after granola-ski-bum man had departed. Airlines don't wash those seats. His nappy hair was resting on it. Imagine what yours might look like when you depart your flight. Think matted mess.

My friend Megan Michelson at Outside Magazine recently passed on an email (see below) she got from a woman who liked a story she had written in the October issue about my friend Lynsey Dyer. Megan thought I should hear about her story and product, and you know what? She sounds like an interesting lady and her product, in all seriousness, definitely is the answer to that second-in-the-seat-after-a-ski-bum-has-greased-it-properly issue. I'm flying to Geneva, Switzerland, in two weeks and I'm surely going to take one of these headrest protectors from TravelKleen.com.

Stay healthy. An airplane is a great place to pick up dirt, germs and other nasties. TravelKleen has a nifty reusable headrest protector that puts some distance between you and any germs or head lice that previous passengers may have left behind on your seat.


Recently, we were contacted by an entrepreneur who launched a product line that seems to have your health in mind. Arlene Rosenstein is a former travel industry associate who now sells disposable headrest covers that affix to any airplane seat, train seat, even movie-theatre seat. Both her persistence and desire to look-out for the well being of our heads warranted some space and a mention.

The headrests come two to a pack, and retail (internet only) for $8.95. The customized adhesive seal means the product can be reused for the duration of a trip, and transferred from plane seat to rental car and so forth.

In a time where the airline industry cares more about shaving expenditures (read: air quality and cleanliness of aircraft vs. turnaround time lead the list) than lice or airborne virus, there is a real need for the public to take their health in to their own hands. It's clear that no one--including residents of a certain White House--will.

Says Rosenstein, "Travelkleen's headrest offers more 'clean entertainment' than what is seen these days on the big screen." Amen.


Why Didn’t I Think of That? A Simple Travel Aid to Go!

Sometimes the simplest, lightest, slimmest solution is the best, but often we just don’t think of it! Arlene Rosenstein did think of it ….. yes, a reusable headrest protector for the health conscious traveler. TravelKleen orders for the product are coming in at a lively rate. Headrest protectors are good for people concerned about the growing lack of hygiene on planes, trains, buses or any other spots where the back of your head can trade germs with the public. They are adjustable for all seat styles and human heights, washable and easily folded for tucking into a purse or pack.

Retail price in stores is $9.95 for a package of two generous-sized, Velcro-equipped seat back protectors. Or you may order online for $8.95 plus shipping and handling. These make great gifts for traveling family and friends and for business gifts, particularly in the travel industry. www.Travelkleen.com.

I hate using public transportation including airplanes, and I hate sitting in movie theaters, because I am afraid of getting lice or other gross things in my hair. Yes, I'm lucky enough to have my own hair, and I still remember those days in elementary and high school when the school nurse would visit classrooms "inspecting" for lice. I recall the days when my own kids would go to school and lice and other yucky things would jump from student to student.

Some "fears" stay with us throughout our lives.

But now, I heard of a simple way to help prevent lice and to keep travel a bit more sanitary. (However, only heaven knows what other diseases or problems you can pick up in an enclosed airplane cabin.)

The new simple "lice barrier" comes from a Southern California company and it is inexpesive and simple to use. It's a headrest protector. You can get two of these for about ten bucks, and they are reusable. Here's what the company says in its press release:

"TravelKleen, LLC (www.TravelKleen.com)... announces a new line of unique headrest protectors for the travel and promotion industry. The new, reusable headrest protector cover provides a sanitary barrier between the traveler's head and the seat's headrest. The protector is made from a hygienic fabric featuring a special adhesive that allows the lightweight, attractive headrest protector to easily adhere to seatbacks. The protector easily attaches to fabric, leather and synthetic materials without marring the surface and in seconds, can quickly be removed and put back into its pouch.

"The headrest protector is simple to use, fits all sizes of seats, is adjustable for children, is reusable and inexpensive. The back of the head never directly touches soiled seatbacks providing a fresh and comfortable feeling for the traveler - a perfect item for consumers concerned about hygiene issues."

The company's web site allows you to buy these individually, and large volume orders are available for your school, or group.

This device might let me enjoy a plane ride or movie again.

Good shopping! Alan Mendelson

February 13, 2007

Taking Flight

Former school teacher puts protective barrier between an airline seat headrest and a person’s head.

She calls herself a “grandma with a Website,” but this 60-year-old mother of four and grandmother of two isn’t sitting in a rocking chair all day in her living room wrapped in a shawl and waiting for the grandkids to come over. Instead, Arlene Rosenstein is running a company.

Rosenstein is the owner of TravelKleen, www.travelkleen.com, Santa Monica, Calif., a startup firm that manufactures headrest protectors for use on airlines, buses, and even movie theater seats. She launched the company in January 2006 while she was still working at the high-tech electronics manufacturing company where her husband is the president. Six months later Rosenstein retired from her job in the quality assurance department to focus full time on her own company.

“I didn’t have time to do both,” she says.

TravelKleen is actually Rosenstein’s third career. She spent many years working as a grammar school teacher at various Los Angeles public schools. Following her full-time education stint, she tutored children for a handful of years and then went to work at the family’s manufacturing business.

“I wanted to do something else,” she says.

The idea for the reusable headrest came about when she and her husband traveled on business. After 15 years of flying to attend tradeshows and to meet with clients, Rosenstein thought there should be something travelers could use each time they hopped on a flight that would attach to the headrest to provide a protective barrier between an airline seat headrest and a person’s head. Rosenstein says there is no way to tell if the seats were cleaned after each flight. “For the domestic traveler, it is a problem. This was a problem that needed to be addressed. It was the perfect idea. It keeps your head, neck, and top of your shoulders clean, away from dirt and grime.” With that, the TravelKleen Headrest Protector, Model # 5901, was born.

TravelKleen is basically a one-woman operation, though Rosenstein does hire help on an as-needed basis. She works out of her home to keep overhead expenses to a minimum. “It’s a home-based business and I would like to keep it that way,” she maintains.

The company is having some early success, says Rosenstein, as large orders are beginning to come in, which she contracts out to manufacturers in Mexico and China. Smaller orders are still handled in the U.S. But what surprises Rosenstein so far is the different types of businesses interested in her product, which sells for $9.95 in stores, and $8.95 plus postage and handling when purchased from the Website.

The initial market for the product was for the airlines, but has since moved to bus seats and even movie theater chairs.

“I even have hospitals using them in their waiting rooms. It’s gone off in a lot of directions I had no idea.”

Rosenstein says she has sold “several thousand” with a “significant” amount of orders still to be delivered.

She says travel agents even include the headrest protectors as part of the final package of documents given to their clients prior to their trips.

TravelKleen is even receiving responses from those actually using the product, which Rosenstein has placed on the Website. They include: “Dear TravelKleen: Thanks a lot for inventing a great product. I have been so ‘grossed out’ about putting my head on those yucky airplane seats—No more!” (S.H. - Oakland, Calif.); and “Hi TravelKleen. Your headrest came just in time. My assigned seat was quite dirty. It appeared that the airline tried to clean the seat—Who knows? The plane was full—so it was impossible to change seats. Although it smelled, at least my head wasn’t laying against the seat.” (R.L.—Los Angeles, Calif.).

In between selling her product, answering emails from customers, and making sure the product is made correctly, Rosenstein still finds time to watch her two grandchildren twice a week.

Rosenstein says she does find it difficult to leave enough time for others in the family, including her husband of 37 years, as well as herself. But as she says, “The busier people get more things done. I love it. It’s the greatest time of my life.

“I’m the chief cook and bottle washer. I am doing many jobs at once,” she says.

Because a great deal of her work can be accomplished through email, Rosenstein can still follow up on leads and respond to pricing and packaging questions while taking care of the grandkids—ages four weeks and 2 years—while at her home.

Though business isn’t to the point yet where Rosenstein can forecast the amount of sales each month—orders still come in sporadically—she says she would love to have a good handle on the amount of inventory she should keep on hand, something she says she is always working on, but there are still a lot of unknowns. She would like to invest in IT (information technology) to help her in the process, but it’s a little too soon for that, she says.

“It would be helpful. Depending how fast sales come in and how fast we grow. At this point, I am not at a high enough level to use it. But I am looking forward to incorporating that into future work when orders are more significant and on a regular basis.

“I am aware of how important IT is and look forward to being involved with it. You can’t live without it.”

Rosenstein says she has learned a great deal during her first year in operation. She has learned what to do and what not to do when it comes to running a small manufacturing business. “We are more focused than we were at the beginning of the year. I am looking forward to doing more business this year.”

Keep Clean

Los Angeles-based TravelKleen keeps travelers clean by providing a sanitary barrier between a traveler's head and an airplane's headrest. The reuseable protector can be branded with a company's logo. An adhesive attaches the product to fabric and leather seats.