This holiday season, two 22-year-old friends and business partners are embarking on a road trip from Louisville to Toronto, Canada to hand deliver 100 Plufl’s, a human-sized dog bed, dubbed the “ultimate napping product designed to reduce stress and anxiety.”
The duo, who appeared on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in October, came up with the unique product idea and has seen rapid growth and success. Earlier this year, Plufl opened its fulfillment center in Shepherdsville, Kentucky.
For co-owner and Seattle, Washington native Noah Silverman, Louisville has been a destination city because it’s centrally located in the country, which makes shipping easier.
“Louisville is a big city and the perfect place to kind of embark on our journey,” Silverman told the Courier Journal.
What is a Plufl?
Working as a barista while attending the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, the now 22-year-old Silverman found himself tired, and envious, of a Great Dane.
During Silverman’s shift at the coffee shop as he was battling to stay awake, exhausted from his studies in International Economics, he noticed the Great Dane that lived at the coffee shop had a custom-made, very large dog bed, perfect for mid-day napping.
Silverman wished there was a product for him to catch a nap in that was like the massive dog bed. That’s when Silverman and co-founder Yuki Kinoshita decided to create Plufl, “the world’s first dog bed for humans.”
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“One day, I just kind of had this realization like, ‘Wow, I really want to be in a dog bed right now,'” Silverman said. “I kind of thought, ‘OK, dog bed, but for humans’ and realized there was no product like that there was.”
Naturally, the next step in the young entrepreneur’s journey was to test out the oversized dog bed the Great Dane used.
“When he first started, we jumped into the Great Dane’s dog bed, and we hit the floor really hard because it just has like a cushion pillow. It’s just like a giant cushion pillow,” Kinoshita told the Courier Journal. “Not only were we covered in dog hair, but we also just weren’t that comfortable.”
The duo decided their product would be made with high-grade orthopedic foam and memory foam. Since they aspired to create a luxury space where someone could relax, nap, and be comfortable, they decided the outside material would be faux fur.
The company name, Plufl, is derived from a mash-up of “fluffy” and “plush,” which were words used by Silverman and Kinoshita’s friends to describe the product.
From Tik Tok stars to an appearance on ‘Shark Tank’
After going through more than 10 different prototypes and business planning, the company was officially incorporated in March and Plufl found its claim to fame through the viral Tik Tok.
The video became so widely circulated that the two young businessmen found themselves with an opportunity to go on ABC’s “Shark Tank”. Silverman and Kinoshita came away from the tv show with a deal with Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner for a $200,000 investment for a 20% stake in Plufl.
“They approached us to be on the show,” Silverman said. “It was just so great to be able to kind of bring our product in front of the world and kind of present it in that kind of venue.”
The product retails for $499 and can only be found on the Plufl website. To date, Plufl has filled more than 3,000 orders.
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The company is currently waiting for 800 more orders to arrive at its warehouse in Shepherdsville from Asia. Once the orders arrive, Silverman and Kinoshita plan to rent a U-Haul and hit the road to hand deliver the products, hopefully stopping in seven cities on the voyage, starting in Louisville.
Kinoshita said his biggest piece of advice for people wanting to start a business with nothing more than a crazy idea is “just do something that is fun and feels rewarding, and it’ll take you somewhere.”
Contact reporter Olivia Evans at [email protected] or on Twitter at @oliviamevans_
This article originally appeared on the Louisville Courier Journal: What is a Plufl? The napping product has gone viral on TikTok, Shark Tank