The Design Phase or "How hard could it be to put boobs on a pillow?"

After understanding that the way to create a memory foam pillow involved creating a metal mold I set out to figure out how to shape a mold. My first stop was Alibaba and I hoped that if I sent some mockup images of what I needed then a pillow manufacturer would create the mold for me and off we’d go. The idea was simple: take a memory foam pillow and put boobs on it. In my mind it seemed so simple.

What could be so hard about putting boobs on a pillow?

What could be so hard about putting boobs on a pillow?

I started contacting several manufacturers in China through Alibaba. Things started off easily enough but I soon realized this wasn’t the right process. They asked me for 3D designs and specific file types. I had no idea what they were talking about so it was back to do some research and find someone who could help me create a 3D design. My first stop was Craigslist. I lucked out and found a college student who was into the project so we worked out an arrangement where he’d create the 3D design in exchange for college credit hours. I was on cloud nine. And looking back it was a stroke of luck to get to work with him because it got me started on the path of designing the pillow but best of all he created the Booby Pillow logo which I immediately fell in love with.

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Working on creating the 3D design was a big highlight. What could be better than designing the perfect pair of breasts that you can hold any time you want? More research was needed, and research was done. I knew I wanted the pillow to be as wide as a medium throw pillow. It shouldn’t be too narrow that it didn’t work as a pillow but it shouldn’t be too wide or the boobs would look too small relative to the size of the pillow. I settled on a pillow 15 inches wide and set out to find the best shape boobs that would compliment that size in the best way possible. Along the way I came across some pretty technical and simply fascinating research. Who knew so much hard science was looking at boobs. For example this research paper published by the National Institute of Health investigated what would be the most attractive position for the nipple and areola on women’s breasts. As part of their research they surveyed over 2,000 men and women!

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But the internet is full of great reference material so I gathered some of the best I could find… for the sake of research.

And after a few trials we finally started to develop the design that looked like the real thing. We had the right dimensions for a pillow and had a sensual set of boobs combined with it.

The first 3D model comes to life

The first 3D model comes to life

Finally! After months of work and research our boob pillow had come to life. Now it was time to actually make it…

The Research Phase or “How in the world do you make a boob pillow?”

Once the idea was born, the next logical step was to start doing as much research as possible. I needed to understand a few things. First of all I wanted to know if there were already other similar products for sale. I did the searches necessary to find a few cheap looking pillows on Etsy and Amazon. None of them had the realistic shape I wanted, and none were made of real high quality materials like the memory foam we use. I also came across the boob sex toy category. These are dense, waterproof, latex materials used for masturbating. The shapes of these are fantastic but I made the decision early on that we didn't want to create just another sex toy.

I wanted the Booby Pillow to create a totally new category of product that somehow could fit between sex toy and home decor. It's definitely taken some time but I think we've struck the perfect balance. Customers love how realistic the pillow is and good it feels to hold or lay on - but they're just as comfortable having it visible in their home. I think it's a telling sign for example that many of our customers are women who buy the pillow for their husbands, boyfriends or partners.

The next type of research was all about the shape and size we should design. Since I wanted the material to be memory foam I knew it would need to be cast out of a mold, and I figured that the mold would need to be made from a digital design. I didn't know that right out of the gate but after reading a few articles I quickly understood this was the case. I almost ended up going in a totally different direction though. One of the first business relationships that presented itself was with a well known Hollywood props designer. I learned about him through some friends who hired him to build clear plastic mannequin bodies. They were super realistic so I figured he would know exactly how I should create my pillow. And as soon as I told him about the idea he loved it and wanted to partner up. At first I thought this made a ton of sense. A well known and highly talented Hollywood prop designer helping make the world's sexiest and most realistic boob shaped pillow; a no brainer. But once I started learning more about the process of creating props for Hollywood I realised it was very different than what I'd need to manufacture the booby pillow. You see, Hollywood props are made by hand. The initial idea may be drawn, sketched, or made digital. But the next steps involve hand making the sculpture and using it to create a mold made of latex or rubber. The figures that can then be cast from these molds become prototypes and the process repeats itself until you have just the right shape. This works great when you want to make just a few copies but it doesn't work well if you want to create hundreds or thousands of replicas because the rubber or latex molds can’t hold up for that high volume of units.

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To make a high volume of figures you need a mold made of either aluminum or steal. And molds of this material can't be created by pouring molten metal around a hand made object. Instead these molds are made by taking a solid block of the metal and cutting it using a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) Router. So a digital design was needed from the start to cut the mold. Long story short, I realized that while the prop designer was highly talented it just didn't make sense for the product I wanted to create. I've been through a few business partnerships and I think it's incredibly important to understand what each person brings to the table before agreeing to work together.

The next part of the research was the most fun; finding the right shape...