Lorraine Moore wanted to find a way to let her pet birds, three cockatiels, out of their cage without getting bird poop everywhere. When she designed her first bird diaper, she immediately started thinking big. “It was one of those things where you just kind of get the chills,” Lorraine recalls. “I thought, this could really be something.” The bird diaper itself is a tiny slip of Lycra with thin elastic straps that go over the wings. The end of it cups over the bird’s tail, and there’s a pouch under the bird so the mess stays away from its feathers.
A dual-military family, then living in San Diego, California, Lorraine and her husband, Mark, started perfecting the design to allow for flight, comfort and cleanliness. They teamed up with talented fabric designer, Cely Giron, and designed the “FlightSuit”. They were amazed by the positive response they received from other bird owners and interested observers. That inspired the Moore’s to file for a patent and to produce FlightSuits for retail sale. It was tough winning over the entire bird-owning community. “The culture was, ‘If you like birds, then you like the mess, and that’s the way it is,’” Mark says. That’s one reason the couple called its invention the FlightSuit, to minimize the diaper association, though the name was also inspired by the comfort and freedom that military flight suits provide pilots.
In January 1996, Lorraine and Mark started selling the product on their web site. Business was slow at first but grew steadily. In response to customer demand, leashes, costumes and other attire were added to the product line. The success of their fledgling company allowed both Mark and Lorraine to retire from the military in 2002. They moved from the Marine base in Quantico, Virginia to a house in Stafford, Virginia that was big enough for them, their two children, their birds and a booming business.
Mark is a sixth-generation native Californian, where he was a 1977 graduate of Saint Patrick’s High School in Vallejo, California. Lorraine was raised in Falls Church, Virginia where she attended Bishop O’Connell High School, graduating in 1978. Both are alumni of Old Dominion University where Lorraine earned her Nursing BSN in 1982 and Mark earned a B.S. in Business concurrent with an Navy ROTC commission in 1985. Lorraine and Mark met through ODU’s Campus Ministry, and were married in 1983. Mark went on to pursue a Masters of Education from The George Washington University in 1998, and a Virginia Teacher certification through ODU’s Military Career Transition Program at Quantico, Virginia 1999 through 2002. Mark and Lorraine have two children, Nick and Geni. The family also includes their feathered friends Maddie (Umbrella Cockatoo), Rainbow (Nancap Conure), Seneca (Cockatiel) and Flick (Parakeet).