BuddhaBooth: A Velvet-Lined Escape Room

By   |     |  Makers  |  The Room

Ever wish you could just stop the world for a moment? Is there anyone who hasn’t? Sometimes the need for a moment’s peace can feel as urgent as the need for food, but in all too many settings, that peaceful moment is just not on the menu.

What those settings need is a BuddhaBooth: a noise- and light-canceling velvet-lined escape space just for you that makes the world go away amid even the rowdiest crowd. BuddhaBooths are the creation of Hudson Valley resident Francine Steadman, who found herself in need of a moment of calm and wondered how finding precious peace and quiet could be simplified. Her creation, a meditation aid billed as a “focus enhancing, portable escape,” aims to solve this problem in settings where alone time is normally impossible.

“I was a divorced mom of three, working four jobs to make ends meet,” Steadman says, “and one of them was doing custom monogrammed embroidery at big events. I was doing that at a Major League Baseball players’ party in Cincinnati—just over-the-top, Snoop Dogg, Macklemore, working with a bunch of young millennials who were completely unruffled by the chaos. Then I had to hightail it back to New York to do a Fashion Week event, face more chaos on about three hours of sleep. Amidst all that, it just came to me, ‘I need a BuddhaBooth.’”

BuddhaBooths are designed to be a mobile mindfulness and relaxation station.

No such thing existed yet. But three months later, Steadman had her first prototype; three months after that, the velvet-lined BuddhaBooth made its public debut at Coachella.

That was back in 2015, and BuddhaBooths have been finding happy homes in workplaces, nurses’ lounges (Johns Hopkins Hospital has some), schools, and anywhere people might need a moment alone. They can be leased, with or without a wellness attendant, or purchased—the base unit starts at $4,900, and can be customized and upgraded in all sorts of ways, including with digital “mindfulness modules” to help guide a user’s meditative experience.

“Sometimes people just need to escape, and there’s no dignity in escaping to the bathroom,” Steadman points out. “I just did five borough-wide baby showers with the NYPD, and the commissioner loved it, and now his staff is pushing to get them into all the precincts. Everyone needs a mindful moment sometimes, and these really help the mind to quiet. They’re like a blanket fort for grownups, but quieter.”

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