Interview With Mikey Goldman
Describe your product or service & the problem it's solving:
“Maker of The Original Weighted Pillow™, Quiet Mind is a wellness brand offering clever solutions to help people suffering from common disorders like ADHD, anxiety, stress, insomnia, and loneliness. Quiet Mind provides a compact and convenient alternative to weighted blankets in the form of an ultra-soft weighted pillow that you can hug and will hug you back – like a de-stress ball for your body.”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“I am part of the over-prescribed generation directly impacted by the ease at which serious drugs were ‘handed’ out to kids and teens before natural alternatives were even discussed. I grew up with a racing mind and ants in my pants, always struggling in school to focus and sit still – and formally diagnosed with severe ADHD and math dyslexia (dyscalculia) in high school. When I got to college, I was prescribed Vyvanse. It worked wonders and really did help me succeed – but there were severe side effects that resulted in a snowballing of prescription drug use. Before I knew it, I was completely dependent on a daily routine of prescribed drugs like Vyvanse, Adderall, Klonopin, Ambien, and Xanax – I started to suffer physically and mentally, and the people I loved did, too. Through a brutal withdrawal period, I eventually got off all prescriptions. It took years for my body to recover from the stimulant drain - during which I experimented with dozens (if not hundreds) of wellness products, experiences, and drug alternatives. I was mesmerized by the benefits of Deep Touch Pressure and weighted technology, but like many people with ADHD, I found weighted blankets uncomfortable. Quiet Mind solves for those areas of discomfort with an alternative in the form of the first-ever Original Weighted Pillow™, a convenient and reliable solution for people like me – and it's only the beginning.”
How is your startup funded, and what advice do you have for other founders seeking funding?
“I am the sole founder and CEO of Quiet Mind. We have attracted advisors and investors, including the likes of Nick Woodman (GoPro founder and CEO) and Chad Hurley (YouTube founder), who believe in Goldman's vision to create a resource hub for people struggling to find natural solutions to common disorders. My advice for other founders is to view the funding process as a long journey, one that is accomplished in milestones, and that anything can be achieved with limited funding. I never raised a massive round all at once to get started. I made a prototype to validate my idea and get me ‘in the room’ with an investor, which got me some funding to hit my next milestone, which led me to the next person, and so forth. It’s the small wins that create the big wins.”
How big is your team, and what qualities do you look for when hiring new employees?
“I'm a solopreneur! We're currently in the process of growing our team.”
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Who is your target market? How did you determine this, and what strategies did you use to reach and engage them?
“Quiet Mind is made for the more than 20% of Americans who identify as neurodivergent - and anyone who could use an extra dose of calm throughout their day! The Original Weighted Pillow can be used for sensory seekers, to increase focus, reduce anxiety, as a recovery tool for athletes, and many other use cases! But there are so many people who struggle with mental health and are actively looking for natural solutions to help alleviate these symptoms. So anyone with anxiety, stress, ADHD, autism, and loneliness are at the forefront, but it broadens to people in need of a natural way to calm them down.”
What's your primary marketing strategy?
“The first goal was to build the foundation with a combination of PR and SEO. I know that both of these take time to build, and I wanted to make sure they were working together. The PR story was important to me for a couple of reasons. My story is one that is relatable to others, and I wanted to find a way to promote that story and build upon the passion that drove me to founding Quiet Mind. I also invented the weighted pillow and knew we needed a strong PR approach to enter the market that is dominated by weighted blankets. Weighted blankets have tons of ‘Top 10’ lists and finding placement on these by the holidays is vital for the success of the company. So by starting PR in May, we know we will have brand credibility by the time holiday lists start rolling around. Same goes for SEO, when you are creating a new keyword such as ‘weighted pillow’ that doesn’t have much traffic or any high-ranking authority yet, I wanted to make sure we could won these keywords by the time the holidays rolled around. So, while PR is bringing these keywords to the forefront, Quiet Mind was ranking with SEO. I am now starting to add paid advertising to the mix and leaning heavily on UGC content because of my product. My product is a new product, and most people hear ‘weighted pillow’ and think it’s something you sleep on. UGC is helpful in having people speak to the benefits with demonstrations. Education around the product is hugely important because no one knows what it is.”
What has been your most successful marketing campaign, and why do you think it worked so well?
“When we launched, we released a handful of blogs and posts describing why Quiet Mind was founded. These posts were very authentic, very honest, and were relatable to so many people. Because of this openness and authenticity, people latched onto it and found joy with the story/solution. It was a lesson that helped lead so much of the decision-making because it showed that the best story is simply just the real story.”
What do you consider to be your company's biggest competitive advantage, and how do you maintain it?
“We invented a new product in a hugely popular space that was created by weighted blankets. Weighted blankets are part of the broader stress management and at-home therapy markets that exploded over COVID, and people are searching for simple and easy ways to find relief. So our advantage is the fact that we took all the pain points of blankets and turned that into a huggable pillow and literally invented a new way to calm you down. I believe we maintain this by hypergrowth and becoming the ‘go-to’ weighted pillow before others come to the market.”
What were the biggest challenges you faced in the early stages of building your startup, and how did you overcome them?
“I had to be in stealth mode for almost two years while creating a brand-new product. I was working on trademarks, patents, and also happened to live in LA, where the Gravity Blankets founder frequents. With such a simple and easy idea, I couldn't let anyone beat me to market with it, but I also had to work with various partners to build a company. So, learning how to build a company while being in stealth was tricky. You find out who adds value, what is needed, and slowly build on that. Combined with the fact that once I started working with China, I wasn’t able to ever visit China and had to work with my partners in completely different time zones. You learn how to optimize your day and clearly define each task for your partners, so when they wake up or you wake up, there is a clear direction to push things forward. This was not easy, especially because I was shipping products back and forth from China, and there were always delays. Your patience is tested the entire time. You just have to stay determined and look for the small wins along the way so you don’t get discouraged. We had times where we agreed on a pillow prototype and asked for a follow-up, only to have a completely different prototype come next. You always need to start with the most simple and basic forms of communication to not lose things in translation.”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“If you had told my younger self that I would launch a company that created a brand new product, I would never have believed it. Let alone doing this during/after COVID. So I think it’s the simple fact that I am capable of ‘being in the arena’ as one of my friends put it. Entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be the smartest, brightest, or most talented person, it just has to be a very capable person.”
What is your #1 piece of advice for startup founders?
“If you ever have an idea that consumes you, run with it.”
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Mikey Goldman founded weighted pillow startup Quiet Mind as a solution to his own struggles with ADHD. This is Quiet Mind's origin story.
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