Jennifer Telfer was a full-time mother in Southern California when one of her young sons gave her a great idea.
My older son always had a stuffed animal he was sleeping with and he ended up flattening it out and that’s when the light bulb came on and I realized we can make stuffed animals actually functional.
Tefler designed a collection of animals that fold out to become full sized pillows. She and her husband used their own savings to hire a Chinese manufacturer for the first eight thousand. They called them pillow pets.
These are some of our original items. They started in kiosks in shopping malls then began selling in small toy stores. Soon major retailers wanted to carry them nation-wide.
The company has sold nearly twenty-five million pillow pets since 2003 but it had to overcome some challenges along the way. The biggest hurdle was convincing parents pillow pets were more than just a stuffed animal. Their first TV commercial aired in 2009.
And that’s when everything changed. The following year sales shot up to 200 million dollars and they’ve continued to grow. The brand now includes blankets, hats, and slippers.
Does the success that you’ve had shock you? The success has definitely shocked me but in the same sense I had an intuition I knew deep down that something like this was going to develop.
And that one big idea has given the Tefler’s a cushion that will provide comfort for the rest of their lives. Theresa Garcia, CBS Oceanside News, California.