Mogu brings its squishy pillows to the U.S.
By Andrea Lillo -- Home Textiles Today, 1/26/2004 12:00:00 AM
NEW YORK —
Already marketed in Japan and Europe, a line of irresistibly squishy pillows from Mogu is now available in the United States, as the company's first store opened here on Elizabeth Street.
Only founded a year ago, Mogu America, the U.S.-based division of Japan's Ebisukasei Inc., is taking what was formerly a manufacturing by-product of bicycle helmets — tiny Styrofoam balls — to new heights, and is having a lot of fun doing it.
"We are much, much more than a company that makes consumer products," said Geoff Roesch, director of business development for Mogu America. "We believe that people want comfort — many kinds of comfort — in the environment around them, so we create products and programs that help people feel good in and about the way they live."
The company grew from $10 million in sales in 2002 to $50 million last year, he said.
"Every person has an innate search for comfort, whether in the workplace, the home or wherever," Roesch said, and Mogu is "the answer to that desire for comfort."
At 2,000 square feet, the store fits in with the eclectic group of shops on Elizabeth, just south of Houston. Inside, pillows of all shapes and sizes are everywhere — in bins, hanging from the ceiling, and on displays.
All colorful, touchable and hard to put down, the current assortment ranges from heart-shaped pillows for Valentine's Day, to long, snake-like pillows that dangle from the ceiling. Some pillows are covered with faux skins, such as boa and shag, and soon the store will sell the covers only as well, so people can change the pillow's looks.
Prices range from about $20 for a small pear-shaped pillow to a $600 huge egg-shaped shaggy pillow.
Though the store just opened last month, the company is already considering other cities in the United States where it can expand.
But retail is only one leg of its strategy, as the brand is being extended to many arenas.
Its Web site, mogu.com, is currently informational, but will eventually sell products.
The Mogu Entertainment division has just launched Mogu People, which are character-shaped pillows that convey human attributes such as courage, patience and adventure. That brand will eventually include wireless communication.
"The store helps introduce the Mogu brand, and this is just the beginning," said Roesch. "There is so much more of Mogu to come."