We had the good fortune of connecting with Merrimac Dillon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Merrimac, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
When I started The Pillow Bar it was because I saw a space that needed to be filled. Several years ago my husband had severe back surgery where, for a while, the surgeon wasn’t sure if he’d be able to walk again. You may ask, what does that have to do with pillows and how I got into business? Well, when the surgery concluded the surgeon said he would walk but that I would have to make sure he had everything he needed in order to do so and stay healthy. So, I did just that, I asked all the questions I could, what was the best mattress, shoes and when I asked what the best pillow for him would be, no one was able to give me a definitive answer. It was frustrating and shocking that out of everything, a pillow, something we all use every night, wasn’t able to be recommended. That’s when I decided to make my own, one that I knew would be the best for what he needed. After I made that decision, I decided to do a bit of research and found that what is inside of a normal pillow is rather alarming. I’ll save you the gory details but a bird beak is definitely not something I’d like to sleep next to. So I went back to my husband’s surgeon and asked him to help me create a clean pillow with the finest materials that would also keep my husband’s head in line with his spine. From there, after months and months of developments, we had developed the best pillows for all types of sleepers – back, side, front. But even after meeting with manufacturers who couldn’t make these pillows to my specifications, I decided I could make them myself. After trial and error and trial again, then two patents, seven trademarks, and a lot of test marketing later, we were ready to be in the pillow making business! So all in all, my thought process was that I needed something that didn’t exist yet, so I decided to make it myself. I decided to fill a void in the sleep industry that had yet to be addressed. Once the seed was planted, it all just took off from there.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
No business journey is always easy, there are bumps in the road along the way but getting over those bumps and hurdles are what help you learn and hone your skills. Before founding The Pillow Bar, I had previously worked in the public relations and marketing industry, so my professional career revolved around telling the stories of my clients. I had to get to know them, their business, how it worked and ultimately try to find ways that we could help improve their presence. These experiences certainly helped me in developing the story and purpose behind The Pillow Bar. The best advice I can give is to listen, learn and educate yourself on anything and everything you can within and outside of your industry. Think outside of the box and pay attention to the feedback you receive and grow from it. Business is business, but it is also very personal because everyone must be responsible for themselves and their actions while also being incredibly responsive to situations and those around them. When you hold yourself accountable personally, it just makes business better. And when you see a gap or a problem within your industry that needs to be addressed, do something about it, lead the charge. That’s how I ultimately founded The Pillow Bar, I saw a gap within the sleep industry and I did what I had to do to fill it.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Dallas has so many incredible restaurants, shops and neighborhoods, it’s hard to choose only a few but Royal Blue in Highland Park Village is definitely one of, if not my favorite place for a morning coffee or maybe even a breakfast taco. Shopping in Highland Park Village is also always such a great time, especially around the holidays when the trees are all lit up, it’s rather magical. Our office is located in Dallas’ Design District, which over the years has really blossomed into a booming business center, as well as a great place for restaurants and shops. My team and I love exploring everything around us including antique stores like Lula B’s and Uncommon Market Dallas. There are also a ton of restaurants around like Pie Tap, El Bolero, Town Hearth and The Charles, all of which are absolutely delicious. Then you have neighborhoods like Bishop Arts that has amazing stores and restaurants and it’s just a fun way to spend a day walking around and enjoying all the unique things the district has to offer – especially when the Texas weather calms down and cools off. Downtown and Deep Ellum are always fun to explore with out of town guests as well. I also can’t forget the great art scene that Dallas has. I love taking people to the DMA or Nasher Sculpture Garden, as well as the beautiful Arboretum – where we can walk off some of what we’ve eaten while enjoying beautiful surroundings. We always tell people that you’ll never be bored, hungry or thirsty when you come to Dallas because we know how to entertain.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family and my amazing staff are truly the only reason we are where we are today. Building a business, especially when you’re not 25, is a lot of work. It’s long nights, longer days and time that flies by. My family has encouraged me every step of the way because they knew I was creating something that was going to make a difference in people’s lives. My daughter even participated in some of our photoshoots! Then there is my truly incredible staff of hardworking women who make every day in the office enjoyable. They are all Superwoman in my eyes. From fulfilling orders to helping create new and exciting things, we are a team that works together to make The Pillow Bar the best it can be and I am so incredibly thankful for that. No successful business would be where they are without the hard work, determination and support of their team.
The Pillow Bar