British Columbia

Let sleeping humans lie … in these dog beds designed for people

Two recent University of British Columbia graduates are hoping to corner the napping market with their human-sized dog beds.

UBC graduates hope to corner the napping market with canine-inspired comfort

The Plufl, a human-sized dog bed, has been designed by two students at the University of British Columbia. (Plufl/Instagram)

Sometimes it takes a Great Dane to spark a great idea.

Noah Silverman was in his fourth year of an economics degree at the University of British Columbia while also grinding at a campus coffee shop and he was tired enough to envy the shop owner's large dog lounging in a custom-made dog bed.

That's when it dawned on him that there was no reason people couldn't comfortably curl up on a similar design.

Silverman shared his eureka moment with his best friend, fellow economics student Yuki Kinoshita, and together they have now launched Plufl, a company that makes human-sized floor beds inspired by the ones commonly sold for canines.

"It's uniting the nappers of the world," said Silverman, speaking to CBC's North by Northwest.

Recent UBC economics graduates Noah Silverman (sitting) and Yuki Kinoshita (sleeping) have turned their passion for napping into a successful start-up business. (University of British Columbia )

Silverman and Kinoshita both relied on napping during their studies and Silverman actually wrote his final thesis on the correlation between napping and productivity.

He says the Plufl product's pillowy border and fluffy faux fur cover combined with its unique oval shape, which cradles users in a natural fetal position, makes it ideal for catching a few Zs. The cover is removable and washable.

"We see huge potential for workspaces," said Silverman.

The duo were unsure at first if the idea was worth building a business around. Then they put a Plufl video on TikTok that quickly racked upward of nine million views and figured they might have something.

They launched a fundraising campaign to get their company started and were shocked to net almost $400,000 in 30 days.

Kinoshita said he had an exam the day the campaign launched in April and raced to finish it to see how much he and his pal had raised. When he turned on his phone, he was rewarded with a slew of messages from an excited Silverman.

"We realized we killed this," said Kinoshita, adding maybe the moment is right to bring comfort into people's lives.

"We are stressed, people are exhausted … and as a society we need to do a better job of taking care of ourselves."

The newly minted business partners both graduated in May and are now, according to a media release from UBC, working around the clock to fill their first order of 800 beds.

They have also connected with a designer specializing in textiles and plan to incorporate orthopedic and memory foam into their designs.

While many of their peers are looking for internships, Silverman and Kinoshita are recruiting their own interns. Rest assured, the occasional nap at work will likely be encouraged.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bridgette Watson writes and produces for news and current affairs at CBC British Columbia. You can reach her at Bridgette.Watson@cbc.ca or @Beewatz on Twitter.

With files by North by Northwest

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