'Dream come true:' Creator of hit product 'Hug Sleep' aims to inspire Milwaukee entrepreneurs
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- If there is one thing that we all want, need, and sometimes dream of having, it's a good night's sleep.
One Milwaukee man has taken it into his own hands to help you fall asleep and stay asleep with his company Hug Sleep, and their hit product the "Sleep Pod."
Essentially, it's like an adult swaddle.
Think breathable, stretchy, and soft fabric designed to cocoon you with comfortable compression, almost like what you'd find if you used a weighted blanket -- but without the heat and heaviness that comes with the latter.
Founder and CEO Matt Mundt first got the idea several years ago, when he was searching for a solution to his troubled nights.
“I’ve always had difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep and just kind of quieting my mind overall," Mundt told CBS 58's Ellie Nakamoto-White.
But after buying a "really nice and expensive" weighted blanket to aid his slumber, Mundt said the item quickly found a home on the floor of his closet instead.
"I went to sleep later that night and I found that the weighted blanket has some drawbacks," Mundt explained. “It really trapped heat, it was difficult just to maneuver, having this 25-pound weighted blanket. They’re almost impossible to wash, you can’t travel with them.”
That's when he went back to his mental drawing board and began thinking of new ways to reuse deep touch pressure therapy -- the same technology that weighted blankets utilize.
“Originally this was not going to be a business, it was just trying to come up w a solution to my own needs," Mundt said.
With a background in product design and a degree from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Mundt said one day he found himself inside his local JOANN Fabric's, testing out different materials.
"I just bought a bunch of different swatches and essentially had safety-pinned together myself just different designs and ideas," Mundt said. "The first few prototypes I made were terrible but there was a kernel of something there."
After about a year of designing and attempting different versions, Mundt and his wife, Angie, launched in February 2019.
“Overtime, my wife, with a lot of encouragement, said 'you got to start selling these things, I think there’s a lot of people that could benefit' and that’s really how it all started," Mundt said.
And then in the beginning stages of the pandemic came a silver lining.
"I was laid off," Mundt said. "I was really forced to take this full-time."
That's when Mundt said he received a message from someone working on the show "Shark Tank" who encouraged them to pitch the Sleep Pod.
The couple had been in business for about 16 months when they went on the show in 2020, with about $490,000 in sales.
They landed a deal with Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner and the rest became history.
“After we aired, it just exploded in a way that I don’t think anyone expected," Mundt said. “We’re about to cross $25 million dollars in lifetime sales in under four years so it’s a dream come true.”
With over 250,000 units sold, Mundt said he's proud to know that their product has "helped hundreds of thousands of people get a better night's sleep."
“It’s a very weird and unique product admittedly and that’s okay," Mundt said. "It's a product that works."
The company works with a Milwaukee-based manufacturer to make each Sleep Pod -- something that Mundt said was a goal of his when the product launched.
“It’s great to come here a few times a week and kind of ground yourself of really what you’re doing and to see everyone working around here, working on your product and your dream," Mundt said. "It really does kind of materialize things in a way that you just don’t get behind work on a computer.”
His biggest piece of advice to young entrepreneurs? Just start.
“It’s so easy to have analysis paralysis where you have this idea, but you have to come up with the perfect logo or the perfect company name," Mundt said. "You’re going to make a lot of mistakes and that’s okay. It’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them and just pivot and try to be agile.”
And with four years down, Mundt said he's excited to see what direction the future of the company goes.
“I never thought that selling adult swaddles would be my calling but again this was born out of necessity," Mundt said. “I’ve always wanted to start my own company, but I never did until I did and I’m so happy that I did.”