As read in the Summer Issue of Remix Magazine.
Hyoumankind understand that in our ‘always on’ modern world, we grab sleep where and when we can. Under the watchful eye of passionate founder and CEO Steph Wyborn, the company has become a name synonymous with a great sleep via a cleverly curated offering of products created with making the best of your forty winks in mind. Helene Ravlich talks to Steph to find out a little more about what makes the innovative company tick.
WHEN WERE YOU FIRST INSPIRED TO CREATE YOUR OWN LINE OF PILLOWS, AND WHAT INSPIRED IT?
My light bulb moment came on holiday with friends, some of us woke looking refreshed and others like we had not slept at all. As we talked, some patterns emerged – my friend with facial lines slept on her stomach, another with cleavage wrinkles slept on her side. I too had noticed that some days I woke up looking and feeling better than others, and then it clicked – it was all about sleeping positions! The ‘line’ between sleep and beauty was clear (excuse the pun!)
IT’S CLEAR THAT A LOT OF CAREFUL RESEARCH HAS GONE INTO YOUR PILLOWS, HOW LONG DID YOU WORK ON THE CONCEPTS BEFORE THEY WERE FINALLY UNVEILED TO THE PUBLIC?
It’s been a 10 year journey to where we are today. After my lightbulb moment I did tonnes of research on the science of sleep: how wrinkles form, postural alignment, snoring, and how sleep influences wellbeing and beauty. Despite the science there were few solutions related to pillows. So I set out to create my own. I took some sketches to an inventor I knew, who cut foam into the shape I’d drawn (which eventually evolved into the Back Sleep Pillow). I then spent two years searching for the right memory foam and producer – but there was only one New Zealand manufacturer at the time, and they hadn’t quite cracked it. Altogether we trialled 16 prototypes for a range of four pillows.
DID YOU HAVE A BACKGROUND IN A SIMILAR FIELD?
I didn’t have a background in pillow, however I had created a consumer product before which also was about seeing a gap in the market, and having the goal to enhance people’s lives. I believe that if we feel good we look our best rather than the other way around. This is my purpose – to use my creativity to develop products that improve people’s lives. My vision is to take Hyoumankind to the world, to help people at scale, and really change the way we value and use sleep to optimise wellbeing.
WHO DID YOU CONSULT, SLEEP SPECIALISTS, PHYSIOS, ENGINEERS? IT SEEMS LIKE GETTING A P ILLOW JUST RIGHT WOULD INVOLVE A VILLAGE!
Yes, it was a village! I engaged with sleep specialists, physios, chiropractors, plastic surgeons, beauty therapists, yoga teachers, researchers, foam manufacturers, design engineers for aesthetics and comfort, legal experts for design protection.
I LOVE THE IDEA OF YOUR GO PILLOW, WHICH SOUNDS L IKE SOMETHING WE COULD ALL USE! HOW DID YOU FIRST COME UP WITH THE CONCEPT FOR THAT?
We wanted to take the comfort and contoured design of our Back Sleep Pillow and make it more compact and versatile for side sleepers. But it has evolved into something so much more! We trialled it with elite athletes and everyday people who travelled a lot and realised they weren’t just using the pillow in bed or on the plane, they were using them absolutely everywhere – working at a desk, in the car, at the gym and yoga… And so the Go Pillow was born! I love that the Go Pillow can be rolled for lumbar support, to sit on, sleep on, hug while you’re watching TV. It’s like a reusable water bottle – by your side when you need it.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU REPLACE YOUR PILLOW?
It’s a good idea to do this every two years.
YOU ALSO OFFER SILK PILLOWCASES AND TRAVEL BAGS FOR YOUR PILLOWS, HAVE YOU ANY OTHER NEW ACCESSORIES IN THE PIPELINE?
Having the options of different covers and bags means people can get more use out of each pillow and take it with them. We’re constantly thinking about what else we can offer, and currently working with hotels, airlines and super yachts – so that will definitely be opening the door to new products. Watch this space.