Sports marketers Ryan Totka and Adam Alson have worked with athletes with personalities and athletic attributes as large as Terrell Owens and Dez Bryant, and they are always seen traveling around on what many would consider tough schedules. Yet, their newest venture is somewhat soft. The duo is now focusing on the business of selling pillows.
Totka and Alson have created a company called Big League Pillows, which still connects to their passion of working on sports projects while also expanding to a consumer base of children that they are not used to targeting. I recently spoke with Alson to learn more about the new company, his inspiration for its creation and more.
What exactly is Big League Pillows and the mission behind the company?
Alson: The mission of Big League Pillows is to encourage little and big kids to envision and "hold" onto their dreams. Every Big League Pillow is a one of a kind. You select the team colors, city and featured name. Your personalized Big League Pillow will arrive in its very own "locker" box, accompanied by a motivational draft letter to add to the excitement for your littlest or biggest fan. We truly believe this experience creates a positive and indelible childhood memory every parent and developing youth will cherish for a lifetime.
What was your dream as a child?
Alson: I grew up in an "awesome" time for pop culture; as a child of the 80's I was enamored and consumed by the toys, movies, music and brands of the era. In a decade where everything was "BIG" it certainly seeded and influenced many of my dreams, passions and ventures that I pursue to this day, including Big League Pillows. To me, it's a "totally 80's" throwback with a modern twist. I believe that's a big part of our brand's appeal and what makes it so charming to today's generation of parents.
How do you want to have an impact or influence on our youth?
Alson: Whether a child wants to be a pro athlete, a teacher or a doctor, we want them to understand with hard work and passion you can attain all of your goals. We hope Big League Pillows can serve as an aspirational symbol of dedication and discipline and of course fun.
Did you have a toy that had a special influence on your life?
Alson: Like most children, the toys I played with certainly had a profound and influential impact on my life and career. Some toys came with backstories that we're provided to me via classic 80's "Saturday Morning Cartoons," which were great and inspired me creatively. Others were nameless orphaned stuffed animals, action figures, vehicles and robots I had to create my own names and origin stories for, which really allowed me to unlock my imagination. So for me, it's the unsung heroes of my toy box I personally hold in my highest regard.
What was the inspiration behind BLP?
Alson: Oddly enough, "inspiration" was the inspiration for Big League Pillows! I believe over the past half decade we've gone through a "motivational" and "inspirational" renaissance. We don't have to scroll more than a post or two in our own personal social feeds to see that one of our friends or family members had just posted a motivational quote. I thought, why wait so long to condition ourselves with motivational messaging? Why not share the messages of inspiration and dreaming big with our children at early ages in a fun way that creates a very memorable life moment for both parent and child?