There’s an old adage – anything that separates you from the ground is worth spending money on. It goes for good quality shoes, it goes for good quality mattresses, and – on a related note – it goes for a comfortable pillow! Everyone knows the hotel room struggle of trying different pillows and combinations of pillows, trying to find the one with the perfect mixture of firmness and softness, but for most people this hunt isn’t inspiring. For a certain kind of entrepreneurial spirit, however, any hardship is inspiring. Mike Lindell has just that spirit.
Lindell tried everything to create the life he wanted for his family through an increasingly bizarre list of business ventures. In 2004, he finally found the million-dollar-idea – or to be more accurate, the multi-million-dollar-idea! MyPillow, a company that he begun in his residential home’s garage, has now sold over 30 MILLION pillows! Before he was the king of pillows, however, Lindell’s life followed a rocky path through business failures and drug addiction. In spite of this adversity, his drive never faltered, and Lindell has made a successful company out of humble beginnings in the family garage.
For Lindell, college wasn’t working out. He attended the University of Michigan, near where MyPillow is now headquartered, for only a quarter before dropping out. Instead, he pursued a series of truly odd jobs, never staying in one position for long. He worked at a grocery store. He started a business cleaning carpets, then tried to make a living counting cards in Vegas casinos. Veering into the absurd, he begun raising pigs until the hog market collapsed, then starting dragging a lunch wagon into the offices of corporations in the area. Although Lindell might have appeared lost, one this was totally clear; he was not happy with an ordinary life.
He bought a bar, which unfortunately only served to enable his growing addiction. Somewhere along the line of failed businesses, Lindell had developed an addiction to cocaine, and this addiction was a constant hindrance to his career ambitions. It was 2004 when he begun the project that would finally catapult him into the wealth he had always been chasing, and this company started with a dream – literally. Lindell describes waking in the night, the fading memory of a dream guiding him, and wrote down the name MyPillow. His idea (which he attributes to divine inspiration) was to design a pillow that would hold its shape. He cut foam in his garage with his son until they had a prototype they were satisfied with, and taught himself how to sew through the course of the project.
Finally, once he had several dozen pillows prepared, he wanted to approach a retailer. Bed, Bath, and Beyond asked him to leave, but a relative suggested that he consider a mall kiosk. Running a kiosk through the Christmas season only netted Lindell 80 sales, but it also netted him a crucial connection with a Minneapolis home show organizer. At the next home show, MyPillow started to pick up steam.
All was not smooth sailing, however. In the background of his growing business success, Lindell’s addiction was steadily tearing his life apart. He lost his home and his marriage, and MyPillow almost went under. It wasn’t until 2009 that Lindell managed to shake the habit, right as MyPillow needed him most. He survived the rockiest years, as did his company, and things started to pick up. By 2011, his fledgling company showed up in local news outlets, each time accompanied by a surge of sales. His print advertising was helping, but it was one of Lindell’s dreams to make an infomercial for his product, and soon he would have his chance. The producers found that Lindell struggled to work from a teleprompter, so they let him improvise his pitch. Apparently, it worked.
Through the rest of that year, MyPillow grew from 5 employees to 500, and has tripled in size through the years since. This growth has not been without hardship of course, as legal trouble and political scandal tarnished Lindell’s reputation. MyPillow has survived through all of this, however, and now Lindell is sure that they’re poised for more growth. He’s been sober for over eight years, and his humble garage beginnings were left behind long ago. Now, MyPillow brings in close to $300 Million a year.
Lindell is focused on the future. He’s looking to write a book, and possibly an accompanying movie. He spends his time expanding the MyPillow product line, or working on his foundation which funds programs in the inner-city. To young entrepreneurs looking to make their mark, he has a few pieces of advice; firstly, patent your idea to protect it, even you only pursue a provisional patent. Secondly, use the volume of your orders to get better shipping rates – its easy to spend too much shipping. And finally, Lindell says that you must maintain your passion for your product, while treating every customer as if they were your only customer.
From humble beginnings in their garage, working with his family to hand-produce the pillow he’d always wanted, to now, owner of a multi-million dollar company, Lindell has kept his entrepreneurial spirit alive. That sort of drive and dedication – the dedication to invest in an idea he believed in, and to see it through to the end – is something that we try to embody in our work. Every job that A Plus Garage Doors works on is important to us, and we take the time to make sure that every client is satisfied. We are a family-owned and -operated company, so we understand the importance of people, and building a connection with our clients is always one of our goals. If you’re not happy with your garage door and are considering an upgrade, give A Plus Garage Doors a call today. We have over thirty years of experience in the industry, and can help you make the right decision for your home. Additionally, we will never try to sell you a product you don’t need, or to up-charge you products we are selling you. At A Plus Garage Doors, we work hard every day to earn the grade in our name!