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No rest for Carver’s pillow czar
by Nick Mason
Dec 23, 2011 | 6093 views | 2 2 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pillow stuffers Travis Renne (left) and Nick Hammers scoop up and insert the patented poly-foam into pillow coverings at the My Pillow, Inc. manufacturing plant in Carver. They estimated that they fill nearly 2,000 pillows per day.
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Mike Lindell is not resting on his laurels.

The founder and president of a pillow manufacturing company in the city of Carver is moving forward with aggressive expansion plans.

And the pace of growth by My Pillow, Inc. (doing business as MyPillow) is speeding into overdrive.

“We’re growing 10 percent a week,” Lindell said during a Nov. 23 interview after touring his company’s offices, customer call center and manufacturing plant. “This year we’ll expect to do $10 million of sales. I want to be at $30 million by next April.”

That type of dramatic gain still would pale compared to his longer-term vision.

“Within three years, one-fifth of the world’s population will be sleeping on MyPillow. That is my goal,” he said. “What Amway did in 30 years, I’m going to do in three.”

Lindell, 50, of Victoria, invented his open-cell, poly-foam pillow and started the business in 2004. His unique pillow was issued a United States patent in 2008. My Pillow, Inc. now has about 30 pillow products and accessories, but 95 percent of the sales are bed pillows.

“MyPillow does not go flat like conventional pillows and it keeps your neck straight and also keeps you cool so you sleep in one position all night, which gives you a deep sleep,” Lindell explained. “MyPillow is made with a patented fill that you can mold to your exact individual needs, and it will stay there.”

These pillows are not cheap. For example, the standard queen-size bed pillow is $79.95, but use of promotional codes reduce the cost to $59.96, he said. Each pillow has a 10-year warranty and 60-day, money-back guarantee.

My Pillow, Inc. has customers across the world, including wholesale customers in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. But Lindell stresses that the pillows are entirely made-in-America.

“It’s made 100 percent in the United States with 100 percent of the materials made in the United States,” he said. “We’re never ever going to make even one part of this pillow overseas.”

Lindell sold his first 80 pillows at a rented kiosk in Eden Prairie Center before starting a marketing focus at home shows, fairs and craft shows, gradually extending to every state except Hawaii. This year, that outreach expanded to American military bases.

“If there is a big show in this country, we are in it,” he said of his 60-member sales force. “We’re the No. 1 product at every show we’re at, it seems like.”

But the burgeoning growth came once marketing broadened to infomercials starring himself on the Internet and cable television and similar advertising campaigns and interviews in newspapers and television and radio programs.

He told the Chaska Herald in February 2010 that the company had sold 140,000 pillows in its first six years. He raised that number to more than 250,000 in January 2011. And last month he updated the figure to “well over 400,000 … approaching 500,000.”

My Pillow, Inc. had 40 employees in February 2010 but grew to about 200 by November 2011, largely due to replacing a contracted customer call center with the company’s own call center in Carver on the second floor of the old schoolhouse at 420 Oak Street North.

“We built our own call center. We did it in three days. Now, 24/7 we have people on duty,” he said Nov. 23. “There are 100 em-ployees there now. We are hiring five to 10 people per week full-time in this economy. The call center will have 150.”

The company’s success and rapid growth sparks his flair for occasional exaggeration, while making his underlying point, but that is part of Lindell’s energy, spirit and passion for his work.

“Half the town of Carver works for me,” he said in exaggeration mode. “If you could show me a faster growing company, I’d like to see it, especially in Minnesota.”

City and local business leaders are delighted to have My Pillow, Inc. as the largest employer in Carver and expanding despite generally sluggish economic conditions.

“I think it’s great that we’ve got an employer like that in town,” Carver Mayor Greg Osterdyk said during a telephone interview. “Providing jobs for the local residents is huge. That [expansion] is incredible. I’m excited for Mike to have such good success.”

Deb McMillan, president of the Southwest Metro Chamber of Commerce, said a key factor for Carver and the chamber is Lindell’s loyalty to Carver, the city where he grew up.

“From the chamber perspective, probably the greatest thing about a growing organization is Mike’s commitment to keep that growth and that business in Carver. He’s very passionate about that,” McMillan said.

“One thing we struggle with is as some businesses grow they end up leaving the region,” she said. “We really try hard to avoid that. In this case, we love that Mike is very dedicated to keeping My Pillow in Carver.”

My Pillow, Inc. is among the chamber’s roughly 500 members from Carver, Chaska, Chanhassen and Victoria. It is the only manufacturing business from Carver listed on the chamber’s web site, www.swmetrochamber.com.

While giving a Chaska Herald reporter a tour of the manufacturing plant, 920 Sixth Street West, Lindell showed literally that he is a hands-on boss. He squeezed nearly a dozen pillows to make sure they were filled with the right amount of poly-foam. He also greeted workers by name and praised their skills and dedication.

“We have employees who are dedicated to where we are going and what the mission is,” he said.

When later asked to describe himself, Lindell first cited his energy for his work and life.

“Very energetic,” he said. “I don’t know anybody with more energy, and I’m not bragging. I know where I’m going, and I have a purpose.”

“We don’t stop here for nothing,” Lindell said. “If they say it can’t be done, I say ‘Why?’ Then we find a way to get it done. I don’t take no for an answer.”

McMillan agreed during a telephone interview Dec. 7.

“He just brings such great energy to his work. He is really a great businessman,” McMillan said. “He has a great passion about his products, but knowing him you would be convinced that he would be successful no matter what he was selling.”

MyPillow

To learn more about MyPillow products or to make a purchase:

In person: Visit MyPillow retail store, Burnsville Center mall, 1178 Burnsville Center, Burnsville.

Online: www.mypillow.com

Telephone: Customer call center at (855) 974-5569.

SOURCE: MY PILLOW, INC.
Comments
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interested 2
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February 04, 2012
what is the promotional code to use for getting the money off the pillow purchase??
Mrs. G.M. Schultz
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January 31, 2012
I do not like infomercials because of being "stung" too many times on hidden charges and false promises. However, the "My Pillow" one got big attention from my husband who's been suffering from on-going neck aches, snoring and complaining about our mattress and whatever else he could think of, etc., etc.

We stopped into the "My Pillow" store at the Burnsville Center, MN, and took a chance on what I would have called another gimmick, but my husband just had to have one of these wonder pillows and forced me into trying one also.

After the first night - yup, the very first night, I cannot explain or describe what a wonderful experience we both had. Every claim that the "My Pillow" ads made on support, comfort and keeping cool,was so true!

I'll wait a week before making my final assessment, but as of now, all of our other pillows are going away - anywhere - but away from our bed!

Thank You Mike Lindell
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