The year was 1997. We were driving home on a long family road trip. My 10-year-old daughter, always looking for little ways to show her love, draped a Beanie Baby, “Pugsly,” on my shoulder to keep me company while I drove. I immediately noticed how the weight of the little beads inside the stuffed toy made it hug my shoulder and made me feel relaxed. I thought-Wouldn’t it be great if you had an entire blanket filled with those little beads? It would be the blanket that hugs you back.
That was the inspiration that lead to the first weighted blanket. My wife made a few prototypes to better understand how the concept would actually work and look in the real world. After many broken needles and failed designs, we finally had a weighted blanket to show to our neighbors and friends. One of those friends was a special needs teacher. Giving her sensory-seeking students a firm hug had long been one of her preferred methods to calm and comfort her students during anxious moments in the classroom. When I told her about the idea behind the heavy blanket, she was very interested in trying it out with her students. When I saw her that weekend, the first thing she said was, “I need more of your special blankets. I need a lot more.”
Her feedback was more than encouraging. It was heartwarming and inspiring. She told us that once she put the blanket on her students, she immediately saw her once anxious and active kids calm down and relax. For her, it was a breakthrough for her students. For us, it was a calling to bring calm and comfort to everyone. Over 20 years later, weighted blankets have found their way into the mainstream. And we have found joy and satisfaction making it all possible.
Say Hello To “Pugsly”