Susana Saeliu and Kevin Li presented their unique take on a customized pillow in episode 24 of ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ season 12. Hoping for an investment from the Industry leaders, aka Sharks, they presented their brilliant theory to a comfortable sleep. The valuable product sure got us curious, and we started digging deep to chart out the company’s growth. Here is what we found out!
Pluto Pillow: Who Are They and What Do They Do?
Pluto Pillow is the brainchild of entrepreneurs Susana Saeliu and Kevin Li. Susana, a graduate of the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, has prior experience in entrepreneurship. Her first company was Kora Brand, through which she sold bamboo bath tissues. After a successful start, she sold the company and started Tradex Marketplace, a company through which she processed customer returns and saw their feedbacks about the products. While working in customer returns, she noticed that many pillows were being returned as they did not suit the customer. Furthermore, when she needed a pillow, she found herself face to face with numerous choices, but none satisfied her.
It was then that her friend, Kevin Li came into the picture. Kevin, who suffered from pillow problems himself, was approached by Susana. Together, they came up with the idea of a single pillow that can be customized according to the customer’s sleep schedule, pattern, comfort, and other requirements. They took the help of sleep experts, physical therapists, and even customers to get their design right.
This wonderful invention consists of an inner foam whose height and density can be customized. Susana said that the foam used in their pillows is CertiPUR-US certified and free of harmful materials like mercury or lead. The inner foam is then covered by a cover made from silky polyester microfibers. These microfibers can be further customized in length, thickness, and quality to give each customer their required comfort. Furthermore, the pillow’s surface is made up of high-percentage polyethylene, which helps regulate the temperature on the surface of the pillow.
Where Is Pluto Pillow Now?
When Pluto Pillow launched in March 2018, Susana thought her primary customer base would consist of women. Later, though, she found out that men formed up the majority of her sales. After launching, Pluto Pillow used social media advertisement and, within months, became a much sought-after product. The company also held three seed funding rounds and was funded by three major investors.
When buying a Pluto Pillow, the customer has to fill out a questionnaire about their sleeping methods, sleeping styles, preferences for comfort, preferred type of pillow, and a host of other options. The answered questionnaires are then taken in by an algorithm that helps customers find the best pillow out of the 25 different kinds available. The selected pillows are then subjected to rigorous testing before being shipped out. Susana mentioned that even though they provide their customers with 100 days return policy, their return rates are low compared to the industry average.
Ever since its inception, this widely popular product has been mentioned in various esteemed publications like Oprah Daily, Essence, House Beautiful Magazine, and Cosmopolitan. Their website and social media profiles too are chock full of glowing reviews from their customers. Susana and Kevin are planning to introduce new experiences for the buyers in the form of pop-up sleep surveys, which will be available on tablets and will make the buying experience better and more accessible. Furthermore, they also want to add the option of letting people make their pillows from scratch and wait while they are manufactured and sent out. Pluto Pillows are available exclusively on their own website and cost around $95 for a queen-sized bed, while the king-sized pillows cost $115.
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