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  • Sam Gipson

the story of PillowWeights

It all started with frustration and a search for a quick fix that wasn't there.



Before the pandemic...


I started a 20 acre getaway right before the big Joshua Tree boom. I found an undeveloped, hidden 20 acre lot in Joshua Tree with great features for less than what I paid for my car! It was my little heaven and before long I purchased an Airstream to grace it, built a shade and deck then started renting the place out on Airbnb every weekend.


Driving from Los Angeles between guests became cumbersome so I made a friend, Erika, who needed the work there and she would turn the place over in preparation for the next guests as she needed the work. Whenever I would find time off work to come maintain the roads or make repairs, I would notice the outdoor throw pillows tucked away in a little chest we typically filled with blankets. I finally asked Erika why she did that when they looked so great for presentation? It turns out, the guests were never seeing the presentation you see above as Joshua Tree is known to get intense wind. Consequently, guests were finding the pillows strewn across the deck and sand as they arrived to their weekend getaway and Erika didn't have the time to come get the dirty covers, wash them, then bring them back between every guest. I had no idea! I would have put them in the chest too!

Being the Mr. I'll solve this quick, I brazenly replied, "don't worry, I'll order a pillow weight on Amazon to weight these down." I said this like I knew what I was talking about. SURELY there was a ready made solution that doesn't hamper the aesthetic. Boy was I wrong. I searched for hours! All I found was forums with frustrated comments and suggestions of bean bags and buying pillows with ties. I finally settled on bean bags which helped a bit but made the pillows lumpy and uneven. Though the heavier pillows withstood slightly higher winds, they would blow over face down, pivoting on the weight of the bean bag, ruining our colorful presentation. I thought, how in the world has nobody created something that works?


As Joshua Tree became more popular, regulations started to tighten and the county was threatening legal action if we continued. They wanted full sewage, electricity and a permitted dwelling in order to continue. With the ranch not paying for it's own bills... it was time to sell. Though I was heartbroken, the universe was steering me in the right direction as the pandemic would have crushed us. Work slowed to a halt and I would have had no guests, just bills.


With no work and a purposeless Airstream in possession, there was plenty of time for camping. While camping with my longtime friend, we were talking about that revelation and how we thought it was crazy that nobody had come up with a ready made solution for this. We lightly joked around that we should take a crack at it and as the liquid courage went down, the seriousness of our little idea grew.

Luckily, with the abundance of time locked away in our homes during the pandemic, we were able to fail enough times to learn along the way. We quickly realized why it hasn't been done before and luckily, technology met opportunity and after damn near ruining a washing machine and a bank account, we found materials and a process that worked just right. Hopefully you'll agree!


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