Oceanside brothers Matt and Luke Tagle have taken inspiration from ABC’s “Shark Tank” and created and trademarked a product that has already made its way to Walmart and Amazon. With The Pocket Pillow, the brothers are aiming to protect users’ phones from being damage or lost.
The Pocket Pillow is a pillow with a square, clear pocket on the front that is touch compatible. The pocket has three openings for chargers, as well. Luke, 18, said that clients have found uses outside of just the phone storage, with customers using the pocket as a picture frame, and somewhere to keep remotes, keys and wallets, too.
His older brother, Matt, 26, went off to college at SUNY Albany in 2015 and discovered that he was constantly losing and dropping his phone in his sleep. He often lost the phone in his sheets when falling asleep with it in hand and dropped it while lying in bed watching Netflix or scrolling through social media. Matt told his brother about the issue and that gave Luke the idea to repurpose an unfinished going away gift for his brother into the first iteration of their future product.
“This going away gift was a pillow that was made out of jeans,” Luke said. “On the front was one of the jeans’ pockets, so I finished it and I gave it to him.”
Matt said he was amused by the initial product, but did not expect it to be the beginning of a business venture with his little brother.
“I was like, ‘What is this? I’m never going to use this,’” Matt recalled. But, throughout his time at Albany and then working toward his master’s degree n business administration at Molloy College in 2018, Matt realized how useful the homemade gift was since he used it throughout his time at SUNY Albany and Molloy and stopped losing his phone.
After graduating college, Matt started his career as an accountant, but still had the urge to make The Pocket Pillow a reality. While skeptical at first, Luke joined his brother in the venture in 2019.
“We were just a few kids just trying to make an extra buck so we could buy nice clothes,” Luke said. “I never thought it would turn into this big business venture.”
The two started by going to Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store and purchased a sewing machine and fabric. Then, they got to work on the first prototype.
Their next steps were to patent The Pocket Pillow and begin manufacturing more of them. On the patent front, the Tagles combed the internet for attorneys on Long Island and found Sean Wilsusen, a patent attorney at Carter, Deluca & Farrell, LLP. After connecting, they met him in Long Beach on a brisk Saturday morning near Thanksgiving 2019 and showed him a prototype. Wilsusen, impressed by the potential for the product, referred the two to a consultant who had worked with Hasbro and Mattel to bring items like The Pocket Pillow to market. In May of 2020, larger manufacturing got underway in China and The Pocket Pillow is now available on Amazon and in Walmart.
“We always watched ‘Shark Tank’ and we always kind of developed our strategy based on what we heard and what we saw,” Matt said. He cited the show as one of the reasons they were able to focus their product and target market. The brothers even recently applied to be on “Shark Tank” and their goal is to raise more awareness about their product.