Using cushions and making forts is one of the fun time activities for the kids. And seeing that as a business idea, Conor B. Lewis appeared amongst the sharks in Season 13, Episode 18 of Shark Tank USA.
With a waterproof design and flexibility in forming different shapes, the founder pitched the product as a superior alternative to traditional cushion-based forts. But did Pillow Fort do well in its Shark Tank pitch, did it land a deal, is it still in business, what happened to it after Shark Tank, and what is Pillow Fort’s net worth in 2023?
Here’s a comprehensive update of Pillow Fort after the Shark Tank. So let’s get started.
Launched in the July of 2016 in Greater St. Louis, Pillow Fort is a magnetic pillow toy made for kids and children, who love to build pillow forts on their pastimes and play with them.
Since it’s specially made for kids, safety is given the utmost priority while building it. No harmful chemicals are used in the product. At the same time, high-quality material is used for the sake of quality.
The Pillow Fort consists of 12 foam pieces out of which 2 are squares, 4 are rectangles, 2 are triangles, 2 are half-moons, and the rest are arches.
The pieces can be combined to create houses, couches, ramps, story nooks, jumping pads, slides, fun, heart houses, etc.
In addition to being portable, it is also very easy to store. Besides all this, the safety of the product was made a priority, including heavy elements, torque, tension, impact, drop tests, etc.
In addition to providing safety, it is also waterproof, so you can use soap and water to clean it if you drop ketchup or curry.
|Episode||Season 13, Episode 18|
|Product Offering||Magnetic pillow fort cushions|
|Founder||Conor B. Lewis|
|Required Investment||$500,000 For 10% Equity|
|Closing Deal||No Deal|
|Current Business Status||In Business|
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Conor B. Lewis Founded Pillow Fort in 2016, who is a resident of St. Louis, Missouri, United States. He started this startup after losing his job amidst the aggravating situation of COVID-19.
The founder of Pillow Fort was a student of Fine Arts. He did his undergraduate course in Bachelor of Fine Arts – BFA, Graphic Design degree from Western Kentucky University in 2012.
In making this startup, he used the design skills and artistic tactics that he learned over the years. This skill enabled him to design this product’s ergonomics and outlook.
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Unlike the other ordinary forts, the design and construction of the Pillow Fort is heavily based on the use of magnets. Neodymium magnets are used to keep the fort pieces together while building a fort.
Pillow Fort’s official website (GettheFort) claims that the magnet used here is strong enough for kids to crawl inside, but not so strong that they can’t manipulate the magnets.
Leveraging the magnetic attraction, kids can stick the foam pieces with each other to form a house, couch, ramp, story nook, jumping pad, slide, fun, heart house, and so on. In addition to offering such an impressive level of flexibility, it’s also easily transportable and easy to store.
But the best feature has to be its waterproofness and ease of cleaning. This toy is made of soft yet durable polyurethane leather that is waterproof, addressing the cleaning challenge adults face when keeping their children’s toys hygienic and safe. With just water and mild soap, you can remove all stains and dirt.
But it doesn’t end here.
The Fort kit isn’t just about pillow forts; it can also be transformed into a couch or a reading nook by using your imagination. Opportunities are abound with this kit!
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Before Shark Tank, Pillow Fort’s founder Conor B. Lewis launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds and expand the product. The Kickstarter campaign was quite successful bagging a whopping $3,107,079 worth of funds in a very short time.
After receiving the funding, the company started shipping its product in August 2021. In the beginning phase, it suffered a massive supply chain issue, but Conor’s marketing skills and previous work experience helped him quickly figure out a solution.
In Pillow Fort’s Shark Tank pitch, Conor B. Lewis showcased the product as an alternative to forts made using couch cushions. Couch cushions are usually expensive and cleaning them after a kid spills his food or drink is usually a pain in the neck for adults. After helping his daughter make a pillow fort in their living room, he came up with the concept for Pillow Fort.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Conor claims to have raised $2 million within ten hours. In contrast, he has nearly gone out of business because of high production costs and shipping problems.
Though the pitch went great, Conor could not impress any of the Sharks. It was apparent to the sharks that the company was working in an inefficient manner. Furthermore, the sharks considered the $500 price tag for the product prohibitively expensive.
Moreover, Kickstarter orders hadn’t yet been delivered, so it was hard to assess how the product would fare.
First to leave was Kevin O’Leary (Mr. Wonderful), citing several business concerns. Mark Cuban was the next to leave. Conor would survive, Cuban said, but he was also a great example of what not to do as a business owner.
The Shark visitor Emma Grede left the business because she wasn’t convinced it was proven yet. Following the suit, Lori Greiner backed out because she believed she had nothing to contribute.
The remaining investor was Robert Herjavec, who stated that he was trying to persuade himself to invest. After a while, he went out.
In the end, Pillow Fort was unable to convince the sharks and ended up with no deal.
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After the airing of the episode, Pillow Fort received free marketing worldwide, and people liked the product’s uniqueness.
Unlike most other startups that came to Shark Tank for funding and did not receive funding from the show, Pillow Fort’s journey was rather more successful. And it was apparent from the massive orders from the customers.
Following the Shark Tank episode, its sales increased fourfold. This product has become increasingly popular among parents.
Pillow Fort, however, continues to experience issues with shipping and supply. Although their website has been backlogged for at least three weeks, they are still taking orders.
In the wake of the shark tank, Pillow Fort has been doing well and has exceeded Conor’s expectations.
It costs $499 for a set of 12 pillows and comes in a variety of vibrant colors. There are five colors you can choose from purple, green, light blue, brown, and beige. New designs and color combinations have been added to the company’s production, along with more recent editions in addition to teal and black.
Additionally, the company offers other accessories ranging from $15 to $67, including lights, blankets, and suede covers.
However, the product is only available on Fort’s website and ships within 3 to 4 weeks of placing an order.
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As far as the Pillow Fort Shark Tank Update in 2023 is concerned, the company is doing exceptionally well. Now that his startup has grown successfully, the founder is working with other companies to raise funds.
Pillow Fort also made a good amount of money by selling its products online through various eCommerce websites. By August 2021, he had earned more than $3,000,000.
It generated approximately $1 million in sales following the Shark Tank episode. Moreover, the company already has a supply chain as of now.
In such a short time, the Fort has grown tremendously. For now, the founder wishes to focus solely on marketing.
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Pillow Fort’s net worth in 2023 is $5 million with over $1 million worth of sales.
Pillow Fort is still in business and is operating remarkably well. Bringing it in multiple designs and colors, the company is offering a handful of options as well. As of 2023, the Pillow Fort has garnered a $5 million valuation and generated over $1 million worth of sales.
Currently, Pillow Fort is available only on the company’s website. If you are looking to get one for your kids, visit (Getthefort.com) and order one. Once you place an order, it can take up to 3 to 4 weeks for the shipping.