There is no doubt that most of us have experienced sleep problems at some point or another in our lives. Medical data reveals that most Americans don’t get an adequate amount of REM sleep each night, while many more are dependent of sleep medications to help them get the shut eye they need to feel refreshed and energized.
Just the ask a guy from the small town called Chaska, Minnesota how he single-handedly revolutionized the night time sleep process and helped scores of people get the sleep they deserve.
As a teenager in the mid-1970s, Mike Lindell (the founder and president of MyPillow.com) said he tried a vast array of different pillows (i.e. fiber-filled pillows, memory foam pillows, down-filled pillows and even bead pillows) to help him find the comfort level he needs for sleep, but the results of his search were abysmally disappointing.
Back in those days, Mike recalls, “I was extremely frustrated by not getting a good night’s sleep. I would toss and turn all night, wake up with a sore arm, and my neck would hurt. All along I knew the problem had to be the pillow.”
So, at the age of 16, a young Mike spent his entire paycheck ($79.00) on the most expensive pillow he could find. But alas, it too, was to no avail. And the worst part was that Mike could not even return it.
Mike spent the next few decades Mike began seeing doctors and chiropractors on a regular basis for the pain he was constantly experiencing in his neck and lower back. Despite the fact that he tried all the trendiest pillows, his problems remained until he decided to create one for himself.
“I knew my problems would be resolved if I had a pillow that kept my neck supported and aligned throughout the night,” he said resolutely.
The Genesis of MyPillow.com
In 2004, Mike began the invention process for My Pillow. He recalls that he shared his ideas with people and was soon to discover that many others were experiencing the same sleep-related problems. “I realized if I could create the pillow I had dreamed of I could help millions of people. At this pivotal moment I decided to go all in and develop MyPillow,” says Mike.
When inquiring with people regarding what kind of pillow they wanted, Mike said that most wanted a pillow that did not go flat in the middle of the night and a pillow that could adjust irrespective of sleeping position.
Mike first started selling pillows at a mall kiosk. While he was not exactly raking in big sales, the exposure he gained while being there opened some important doors for him. One mall shopper who really liked Mike’s pillow invited him to participate in the Minneapolis Home & Garden Show and that placement eventually led to him being approved for a display at the Minnesota State Fair.
Along with some family members and a few employees, Mike continued to manufacture pillows out of a small garage and basically did the Midwest trade show circuit; hawking his latest incarnation of a pillow. While doing expos, fairs and craft shows, Mike faced a series of onerous and discouraging challenges.
His product was turned down by a string of retail stores and those in the business told him that it was next to impossible to obtain a patent nor would he ever be able to afford to have all the manufacturing done and raw materials purchased in the United States. Moreover, those looking at Mike’s pillow advised him not to offer customers a 10-year warranty of a 60-day money back guarantee.
So much for the litany of naysayers. Mike drew his inspiration and drive from the incredibly positive feedback he received from customers who tried MyPillow and really loved it.
“Many people told me their sleep had improved and how they seemed to be no longer tossing and turning as much as they had prior to using MyPillow. They also expressed how appreciative they were that the pillow was quality made and stayed cool at night, “ said Mike.
The Road to Success
From day one till now Mike has had a direct hand in all development of the business including and designing the machine that creates the “fill” for his pillows. Every element that goes into Mike’s “MyPillow” are 100% originated in America. There is no outsourcing of work products – even his call center & customer service are right outside his office.
Today, Mike’s privately-held company manufactures 75,000 units each day. Mike spends approximately $1.7 million a week on advertisements, which he directly oversees on TV, radio and newspapers. He is called the most innovative marketer in home goods.
Moreover, he has broken sales records of the television sales program QVC and recently won the coveted “Product Concept of the Year” award from that company. Big box stores like Walmart and Costco, which once slammed the door in his face, now clamor to get his product on their shelves.
Mike is also a man of his word who seals many deals for his near-billion dollar company with a handshake. “Some good people took a chance on me when I was just starting out and to this day they still have my trust,” he said.
The Personal Side of Mike Lindell
Trusting Mike, however, in his pre-MyPillow years was no easy feat for most sensible people. Mike floated from one dead end menial job to the next and had never really established himself in any field. He was a paperboy, a ticket taker at the local drive-in theater, a grocer, and a bartender. He ran lunch wagons, night clubs, and small town bars while getting into some nonviolent scrapes with the law (now all expunged). Why the itinerant lifestyle?
At his own admission, Mike was “a sports bettor, a cocaine user and an abject alcoholic.” In his forthcoming autobiography, Mike writes, “I was an addict in every sense of the word.” He has four children (ages 26-31) from his first marriage of 20 years.
Mike has proudly overcome his personal dilemmas and addiction imbroglios through his immersion in crafting the very best at My Pillow.
On January 2, 2011, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published a human interest story about Mike and his new company. Accordingly, that story helped propel the MyPillow product and sent sales soaring. In September of that year, Mike’s dream of producing a quality infomercial was launched and soon thereafter reached number one status.
Mike and MyPillow are now celebrating over a decade in the pillow business. Besides having MyPillow being named as the official pillow of the National Sleep Foundation, Mike has also been featured on Fox Business News and has participated in countless radio and television interviews.
With a smile of great satisfaction etched on his face, Mike says, “I am proud to say the company has grown from eight to 1600 employees, all manufacturing is still done in Minnesota and we still offer a 60-day money-back guarantee and a 10-year warranty.”
Meeting President Trump and Dr. Ben Carson
Recently, through a fortuitous confluence of events which he describes as "divine intervention" Mike's pillow caught the attention of President Trump.
"This past summer, I was invited to attend the Republican national convention in Cleveland, and I ended up in Mr. Trump's section with his family, " says Mike.
As a deeply religious person, Mike believes his path to meeting President Trump and eventually sending him his pillow was orchestrated by a higher force.
Mike met Dr. Ben Carson and his wife Candy while they were on the same flight. After a conversation in which they formed a palpable connection, Mike was invited to pray with Dr. Carson at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.
Mike was told that the President had wanted to meet him as he had seen his television commercials for "My Pillow."
Displaying a deep interest in entrepreneurs who have reached the pinnacle of success in the job creation market, Mike says that President Trump queried him. "How do you have 1600 employees and how do you manage to make your entire product in America?"
After speaking with the President at length about the genesis of his company and the trajectory it took, Mike says, "I truly believe that President Trump wants to help this country; he really cares about people. I would never choose anyone else to hold the office of the presidency other than Donald Trump, " Mike states quite emphatically.
Mike says that what really piqued the President Trump's interest in him as well was the fact that Mike and he pretty much saw eye to eye on the litany of onerous challenges confronting our inner cities.
"When I told the president I had formed a new foundation to assist the residents of areas where urban decay as well as social problems had literally laid waste to their communities, the president listened intently," recalls Mike.
Mike's burning desire to dedicate himself to the revival of inner cities takes on a very personal note. Says Mike: "During my younger days, while still rootless, I floated into the life of crack cocaine addiction. As such, I gravitated towards urban areas in the midwest where cocaine was bought, sold and used and I became quite familiar with dealers and users who circulated in the most dangerous areas of the cities."
The Power of Faith in God
Because of his turbulent narrative, Mike eventually turned to God for personal solace, comfort and guidance and has remained a loyal acolyte ever since. "My experiences with crack cocaine addiction have been a driving force in my efforts to help others in need; those who have tragically shared my journey."
Mike says that his company is a "platform for my Evangelism" and that his company has thrived only because of God's intervention.
When President Trump received Mike's pillows in the mail, he took time out of his ordinarily hectic schedule to write Mike a thank you note; letting him know how much he enjoyed the pillows. This occurred before the election and right after one of the presidential debates.
"Trump asked me what I thought of the debate and how I felt he did" says Mike.
Mike firmly believes that "God had a Hand in President Trump's stunning upset on election night" and acknowledges that President Trump is the "most amazing president that we have ever had." He ruefully observes that "neither party has fulfilled their promises to the inner cities.”
Mike does not relinquish hope, however, as his abiding faith in God affords him an optimistic perspective.”I believe that President Trump along Dr. Ben Carson will take some revolutionary steps that will greatly impact those who suffer every single day."
He adds that his business has significantly flourished since he forged a connection with President Trump.
Mike credits his success with the fact that all of his 1600 employees are "one big family."
Just as one would help a family member in crisis, so too does Mike play pivotal role in the lives of those who work for him.
"I learned that one of my employees did not have a car and that had to walk 18 miles to get to work every day," remembers Mike. "We don't have a human resources department at My Pillow, so I bought him a car. That kind of personal outreach engenders loyalty from employees and shows them that we are care so very much."
Utilizing a personal approach has always been Mike's forte. "I believe that when you work with each person individually; when you work to fix what is broken, then you can achieve unfathomable results."
The Mike Lindell Foundation
Mike also says that is policy includes hiring people from the inner cities and giving them the educational opportunities and confidence that they need to succeed.
"When you give someone hope who is down on his luck, it is our experience that it can result in a snowball effect. Employees who never thought success at anything was possible will now have jobs they can be proud of," says Mike.
Mike adds that helping those less fortunate, it one of the cornerstones of his business plan. He says that for every order at My Pillow he is going to give free pillows to the homeless.
The foundation bearing his name (the Lindell Foundation) now operates in 80 countries and its programs have benefitted tens of thousands of people.
Mike's charitable contributions have included MyPillows for our military as well as The Imus Ranch, a working cattle ranch for kids with cancer. Mike has also partnered with “Breaking Free” which helps victims of human trafficking by offering employment and assistance in returning to society.
Mike also has partnerships with groups like Union Gospel Mission, Minnesota Teen Challenge, Love, Inc., Hope Lodges and Eagles Net for projects to rebuild Minnesota’s inner-cities and to help people in need.
With pride reverberating in his voice, Mike is quick to add: "100 percent of all donations goes directly to recipients and not administrative costs. And the best part is that donors can select where they want their money to go; to which groups and organizations that they prefer."
By: Fern Sidman