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Meet Merrimac Dillon of The Pillow Bar in Design District

Today we’d like to introduce you to Merrimac Dillon.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Merrimac. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
8 years ago my husband had terrible back surgery and I was thrown into a world of Chiropractors and Neurosurgeons. They told me after his surgery to buy the very best mattress and pillow I could afford for his comfort. When I asked them to give me brand names, the Neurosurgeon said “there isn’t a good pillow in America”! I was so surprised that I asked if I could ‘make’ one with his help.

That was the beginning of The Pillow Bar journey. I spent nearly a year with Chiropractors and Neurosurgeons testing different fill types and different densities to match sleep styles. When we finally had the perfect fill, I found that we needed a machine to make the pillows …. a year later we had built “The Pillow Bar’ machine that makes each and every pillow we produce. Patented, trademarked and ours alone.

Then we added some luxurious touches like 300 thread count cotton sateen protectors, custom embroidery (so you know which pillow was made for each person) and an aromatic French lavender sachet.

We now make pillows for more than 120 stores around The United States as well as some very visible hotels. Our customers range from The Linen Boutique on lover’s lane, to Neiman Marcus to the Wynn Casino. High end linen stores, gift stores, mattress stores and designers. Special orders are our mainstay. We never have ‘pre-made” or stock pillows -every pillow is made right here in Dallas in our machines to match each person’s unique sleep style and shoulder size. There is no one size fits all!

We now employ 9 people and make hundreds of pillows a week right here in Dallas. We have also added other US made products to add to our line like towels, sheets, bathrobes, nightshirts and Pj sets. We are still having a lot of fun doing it and helping people sleep more soundly and wake up without neck and shoulder pain from an ill-fitting pillow.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Any entrepreneurial endeavor has ups and downs.

The first year I struggled to find the perfect fill to make a luxurious pillow but one that the Chiropractors and Neurosurgeons would approve of. Then another challenge was to build the Pillow Bar machine. After all, I’m not an engineer, just a woman on a mission!

Finally, when I got it working, no one understood why we would make pillows one by one –why not just have mass production like everyone else.

It took a pillow comparison article in the Wall Street Journal that said “We slept so well we thought there was something Narcotic” about our pillows that really jump started our sales and reputation.

I think appreciating the struggling with a positive attitude and integrity will most always lead to success.

But, I’ve been lucky to have great supporters and advisors along the way. I feel sure all my friends and family own many more pillows and bedding than they can possibly use! Their enthusiastic support helped me get on solid ground.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The Pillow Bar story. Tell us more about the business.
We are the only company in America that custom makes each pillow to match each person’s unique sleep style and shoulder size. We are definitely a one-of-a- kind manufacturer with our own patented machines.

We also embroider initials or messages on each pillow. Again, no one else does that!

And 80 % of our customers come back to buy more pillow and bedding luxuries. That is the best part –the repeat customers –that always makes us feel very good about what we are doing.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’ve had a lot of luck and good timing along the way…I am always mindful and thankful when something comes along at just the right time. From loyal employees who showed up at the door just in time– to manufacturing mistakes that end up being best sellers –we have had a lot of luck and are very thankful every day!

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