We all loved making pillow forts when we were young. Building one was every kid’s dream, but cleaning up can be a nightmare for parents. Because of this, Conor Lewis created Pillow Fort, a company that provides pillows that can be assembled into forts. He pitched the business on Shark Tank but didn’t get a deal. As of 2023, Pillow Fort is worth $2 million.
Conor Lewis’ Background
Conor Lewis resides with his family in St. Louis, Missouri. Before getting married, he got a fine arts degree, specializing in graphic design, and graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2012.
Right after college, he was hired to work in the digital media department of an advertising company called OBATA. After three years, he became a director at Alton Encore. Then, he became a writer and produced documentaries.
In 2016, he served on the digital marketing and video production divisions of Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC. Nearly two years later, he worked on marketing and communications at AltonWorks.
How a Father’s Love Inspired an Ingenious Idea
During the start of the pandemic, Conor lost his job. So, he got to spend a lot of time with his daughter at home. She loved building forts out of couch pillows and always left a mess in the living room.
This gave the unemployed father a business idea. He created magnetic pillows in sets that can be formed into cute forts. They are resistant to water and stain and are also made to fit in normal couches.
Lewis started Pillow Fort in 2020 with a private business partner who owns 5% of the company. They launched a Kickstarter campaign and raised more than $3.1 million in 2021.
Pitching to the Sharks
Conor Lewis didn’t anticipate the success he would get and this caused a lot of problems. He needed help from the Sharks and appeared on season 13, asking for $500,000 for 10% equity.
The Sharks loved his demonstration, and they appreciated the fact that the entrepreneur was very honest about the company’s issues. However, this also made them hesitant to invest.
The Sharks were mostly concerned about Conor’s partner, who has an option to buy 40% of the company if it reaches $30 million in gross sales. This was a big issue because it put a cap on their future returns. The Sharks sadly went out one by one but they loved Conor’s personality.
Pillow Fort’s Challenges Post Shark Tank
After Shark Tank, the extra publicity from appearing on national TV further exacerbated supply chain issues. The Kickstarter comment section is mainly disgruntled customers complaining that they never received the product.
The magnetic pillows are available to buy on GetTheFort.com, but shipping delays are expected to be at least three weeks. Conor posted an update on Kickstarter in August 2022, highlighting how they’re improving customer service and offering refunds.
This is why they only have a 2.1-star rating on Trustpilot. Despite the setbacks, Pillow Fort is planning to create new product designs. They haven’t released any recent revenue figures and are focusing on turning the business around. Currently, the company is worth an estimated $2 million.