Slowly, we will change the paradigm of bedding culture.
We want to develop bedding that can be used without worrying about safety and cleaning,
creating a healthy environment that people can rest in comfortably.
Engaging in the trade industry since I was young,
my dream was to travel across the five oceans and to the six continents.
To fulfill that dream, I kept a busy youth. In 1989, I started a company and began vigorously dealing with established companies in Japan, Germany, and Italy with the goal of becoming a 100-year business
One day, by chance, I visited a pillow factory and then began to do something I never thought I would do: produce pillows.
In 2006, I visited a pillow factory to make face-related body form equipment. At that moment, I saw the process of how a pillow is made for the first time and described it like the process of making fish-shaped bread. The raw materials get poured into a mold and opening the lid a few seconds later results in a pillow. The process looked interesting and entertaining, so I watched for a while.
But then, seeing the final product, on the wrapper it said, ‘never wash’. After asking why, I was told that the memory foam does not dry when it is wet. Because memory foam is a type of sponge, it is a good environment full of countless pores and cell tissues where germs, mites, and mold can live. Considering this, the pillow, shockingly, cannot be washed. And then I had the idea of making a pillow with fully coated foam.
This process was more difficult than expected. After waiting 5 months for special equipment to arrive, the day it came there was an accident. 3 months later the new equipment arrived, and products were made, but these products were weak and ripped easily. The weak coating material caused cracks. After this, I went to paint and silicon factories, chemical professors, research labs to create a coating for the pillows. Everybody said it would be difficult.
After struggling with the pillow,
in 2017 I finally introduced the coating pillow to the world.
There were many hardships to create a pillow that we were 100% satisfied with.
We noticed problems such as the coating material being too hard, the charging material being too elastic, or the coating not properly adhering to the pillow.
Since we were making the first coated pillow, there were no available benchmarks, so if there was a problem there was nowhere to consult. I had no choice but to trust my intuition and find a solution.
It took a long time to make a product that was satisfactory because of the repeated process of finding solutions, purchasing equipment, and making new molds.
The biggest problem with coating the pillow was that the pillow was ripping. The goal was to coat the pillow with a material that would not rip it.
After searching for different materials, we discovered TPU. TPU is a stretchable, elastic material capable of expanding 5 times its own size.
After coating the pillow with TPU, the pillow did not rip or get ruined regardless of how hard you pulled at it. And, because it is 100% water proof, the pillow can be washed as well.
If you read the Gentle Lemur reviews, there are a lot of reviews saying,
“It was hard adjusting [to the pillow] at first, but after a few days of using it, I experienced deep sleep”.
When you rest your head on the pillow, there are two main areas that are touched. The back of your neck and the back of your head.
At this point, if the weight of your head is centrally focused on the back of your neck, your neck will be stiff the following morning.
On the other hand, if the weight is solely centered at the back of your head, your head will feel stiff and heavy. A good pillow will balance and distribute the weight of the back of your neck and head so you can get a good night’s sleep. Gentle Lemur uses this principle to balance the back of the neck and head. You can sleep comfortably because your head feels light when it is on the pillow.
We finally had the pillow we wanted but when it came to selling, we were not very well known.
Then, Gentle Lemur pillows suddenly went viral through SNS.
I still remember that moment very clearly. In May 2017, I was working across the office building when suddenly my phone started ringing non-stop. Give or take, we would sell around 100 pillows a year but all of a sudden orders were pouring in like water.
After tracking the source, it turned out that a user on Twitter shared their positive experience using the Gentle Lemur pillow. As the retweets (shares) of the post increased, the number of orders increased as well.
Many also refer to the pillow as “the pillow saved by the young people”.
On Twitter, people notice and know when tweets are only for business purposes. People buy our product because they trust the pure reviews left by young people who have tried the product and shared their experiences. We think Gentle Lemur pillows spread rapidly because of the constant cycle of buyers sharing their positive experiences with the product through Twitter. That’s why it is a pillow saved by the young people.
The joyful time of backed up orders was much too short.
This is January 29, 2018. While we were away for lunch, a fire erupted in the factory. Starting with the foaming machines to various raw materials, all of a sudden everything turned into ash.
Although the factory turned into ash, the 10 years of the maker’s efforts in making Gentle Lemur’s name known did not go to waste. Many people placed orders after hearing about the fire through SNS.
Since customers were already notified about the shipping schedule for the product, we thought it would be best to inform the customers that we may not be able to ship the product so we sent out delivery notices along with a picture of the burnt down factory.
After that, thousands of comments were left on the notice page. After seeing encouraging comments like, “People are more important than the products. Take care of yourselves first,” “It’s okay if the product comes late so don’t worry about it,” “Please open the group buying again,” tears would not stop falling from my eyes.
With the thought that we should quickly recover and send the products, we opened group buying again to raise funds. After re-opening group buying, even more people than before placed orders. Clients nationwide who heard about the fire allowed payments to be delayed so that the factory could restart.
After we barely managed to deal with the pain of the fire, a problem with the pillows arose.
Pillows started to be sent out by operating factories. However, despite being in normal shape and condition when sent out, 2-3 days after being delivered to the customer, the pillow deflated.
Even though we exchanged the pillows as the calls were coming in, the same defect kept repeating.
There was even a customer who trusted us and went through the troublesome return process 5 times. However, as the problem was not resolved, customers who supported us could do nothing but leave.
However, we changed this crisis back into an opportunity.
Raw material supply company researchers and factory technicians worked side by side to find the cause of the defect, but there was no answer. Seeing the huge pile of pillows by the side of the warehouse suddenly made me so angry that I repeatedly hit the pillows with a nearby screwdriver. Then, the worker besides me shouted, “Boss, the pillow is inflating again!”. All of the deflated pillows inflated again once they were poked with the driver. It turned out that the cause was simple. It was the internal and external temperature differences in the pillow. By poking a hole into the pillow, the temperatures even out and the pillow re-inflates.
To solve this problem, we attached air caps to the pillow.
Every time you open and close the air cap, the pillow deflates and inflates making traveling with it or sleeping outside much easier.
Gentle Lemur dreams to be the best bedding company in the world.
Slowly, we will change the paradigm of bedding culture. We want to develop bedding that can be used without worrying about safety and cleaning, creating a healthy environment that people can rest in comfortably.