Remember the Gravity Blanket?
The humble-looking blanket raised over $4.7 million on Kickstarter in May 2017, making it one of the 20 highest-funded projects to date. The blanket promised to do more than just keep you warm--it was designed using a blend of "micro weighted inner beads and cotton" supposedly to make people feel less stressed and anxious so they sleep better.
Clearly, the blanket's creator, John Fiorentino, founder of the New York City-based company Good Ones, had tapped into a big need. He says the blanket has generated more than $11 million in sales to date.
"After the overwhelming support for the blanket, I spent a lot of time thinking about other products in the relaxation space and tested a handful of other products," he says.
Fiorentino decided the classic beanbag chair was due for an update.
His version is called the Moon Pod, and it's a uniquely shaped beanbag that is designed to create the sensation of "zero-gravity weightlessness." The bag, which weighs around 10 pounds, holds your shape no matter how you bend it--use it as a seat when you want to do work or stretch it out to take a nap. The bag can also stand upright and be put away in the closet. The Kickstarter project launched this week and has already surpassed its $21,500 goal, raising over $350,000.
"The idea came from a similar thought process as with Gravity. [The blanket] was this insight into revamping a product that everyone is familiar with and loves and provided this sort of unique feeling," he says.
In designing the Moon Pod, Fiorentino drew inspiration from "sensory furniture" that's used to help kids with autism. The furniture coddles you and "forces you into the state of relaxation," he says.
To achieve the feeling of weightlessness, Fiorentino says, it's key to have your head aligned with your heels and your back and sternum supported. "Basically, when certain positions are maintained, your mind and body react accordingly, and this results in an overall calming feeling," he says.
Most of the design work zeroed in on the density and shape of the Moon Pod. Fiorentino says he tested six prototypes and sampled over 60 materials to find the right filler consistency. Rather than the traditional circular beanbag shape, Fiorentino designed the Moon Pod to have an "amorphous" shape using a mix of lightweight micro beads. The idea is that you can lean into it, and the bag will "react" by wrapping around your weight. For the outer shell, the Moon Pod uses a blend of four materials to create a soft "T-shirt feel." Fiorentino declined to disclose more details of the materials used, because he says when the Gravity Blanket was launched, around 40 competitors came out with their own knockoffs. The Moon Pod, which is manufactured in the United States, will start shipping to customers in October.
To be sure, Fiorentino isn't the only one trying to redesign the beanbag chair, which debuted in the late 60s. Companies like Tuft & Needle, Lovesac, and Inc. 5000 honoree Yogibo, to name a few, all have created their own versions of body-hugging beanbags.
The bags are part of a larger and booming trend in wellness products and services. The global wellness industry, valued at $3.7 trillion, has grown about 11 percent from 2013 to 2015, according to the Global Wellness Institute.
"These products really promise a sense of presence," Fiorentino says. "I think that this is the rarity I'm tapping into: giving people a moment in their home to get lost and reflect--to have this stillness that is so rare."