I’ve always been very touched and honoured by the feedback that we have received from our customers about their experiences with our products. The true story behind the making of the first Wings collection has never really been told, as it was far too personal for me at the time to share. But over the years, I came to realise that the very things that I created to help me get through a difficult time, after the sudden passing of my mother in 2004, would later help hundreds of thousand others too.
Back then, my husband and I had just received a delivery of a long awaited stylish deep-seated leather couch. Its smooth surface was cold to the touch, and I remember feeling acutely not at ease and unable to get comfortable with conventional cushions. This is when I tried to imagine what kind of cushioning could possibly address my needs. After a lot of soul searching, I realised that a kind of soft “buffer” to sink into and give me a feeling of comfort was what I was looking for. I experimented with many different designs until, during a discussion with a friend about angels, I had a Eureka moment that indeed “form follows function” and that a cushion in the shape of an oversized wing could be perfect solution to what I needed. There followed a flurry of activity and resulting strange looking shapes and forms until finally arriving at what you see today. Those first prototypes turned out to provide much more support and comfort than I had possibly expected. This is what encouraged me to patent the designs and create a company, so that others would also be able to enjoy their benefits. By the way, the choice of the name for the company came before realizing that the word “mero”, means almost or partial in Greek, so the products were somehow appropriately named.
Starting a business is never an easy thing to do and launching a unique, organic looking form onto the German market was no exception, to say the least. However, what was extremely motivating were the increasing number of emails and calls we’d receive to tell us that our customer’s “MeroWings” had become indispensable “companions” in a variety of different circumstances.
Meena Valail-Dieter on MeroWings' Classic Wings Pillow
In the beginning, many of these accounts related to situations where they had given support during convalescence and back operations, which involved long periods of sitting or lying down. Interested to understand what was behind these phenomena, I took the route of asking independent orthopedic practitioners and osteopaths to assess the specific aspects of the various wings’ models were delivering the kind of benefits our customers were sharing with us. I was subsequently extremely grateful to receive many in-depth testimonials, which elucidated the ergonomic benefits of the cushions and the physical support that they can give in a variety of different situations, from a medical perspective.
However, as time went on, as the MeroWings found their way into more people’s homes, we started receiving regular reports of how the wings not only gave people physical support but also somehow engendered a sense of joy and wellbeing. From all accounts, these seemed to be very much coming from an emotional place rather than a reaction to the organic looking form of the wings. Accounts like, “when you’re alone and there’s no one there to give you a hug, it feels like you’re being held by the MeroWings” were often shared with us.
Some accounts conveyed the sense of sheer enthusiasm and excitement that the “Wings” engender upon arrival in a household. Others, how people and especially children, would take their MeroWings wherever they went, were just as frequent and very heartening and motivating for all of us at base camp ;-)
As a company, we’ve participated in many international trade fairs where often they’ll be one day on the weekend where the smaller traders bring their children. I’ll never forget one occasion a couple of years ago, at the 100% Design show in London, when a young boy accompanying his mother made a B-line across our entire stand and made straight for two of our larger Wings that were resting on one of our Tree Trunk beanbags at the back.
It was so absolutely heartwarming to see him literally pick them up and then snuggle into them for a long cuddling session. Upon speaking to his mother, I learned that there’d just been a very traumatic period and at most times, he was trying to be strong to support his mother and younger sibling. But when he saw the wings cushions, he instantly felt that he could project his need to give and receive comfort and “love” in an unquestionable way. I was so touched by being party to this experience, that I was very glad when his mother agreed to allow me to give him the cushion as a gift. I was also subsequently extremely happy to hear that he never went to sleep without his wings cushion.
I recently came across some very interesting online articles that led me to the work of Dr. Donald Winnicott, (7 April 1896 – 25 January 1971), an English pediatrician and psychoanalyst who was especially influential in the field of object relations theory. Donald Winnicott coined transitional objects those that help children obtain soothing and comfort from additional sources other than their parents or primary caregivers. Typically examples of transitional objects tend to be teddy bears and blankets, but generally speaking can be anything soft and cuddly.
Little girl hugging the Classic Organic Cotton Plush Wings Pillow
According to Fairuz Gaibie, a clinical psychologist from South Africa, when we cuddle anything soft and comforting, like a teddy bear, it releases oxytocin. This is a hormone that leaves us feeling calm and soothed. Oxytocin leads to feelings of safety, relaxation, and well-being — that’s why it’s often referred to as the “cuddle hormone” or the “bonding hormone.” That’s the same hormone that babies release when they’re held safely, and that adults release when they’re being held or cuddled as well. She goes on to say that we’re actually hardwired to be drawn toward soft and cuddly things. This instinct applies not only to kids but adults too. On a psychological level, it has been proven that the act of cuddling a soft pillow can be very relaxing as it simulates the same feelings of hugging which in turn releases that feel-good hormone, oxytocin.
Interestingly, another focus of Winnicott's paediatric work with children and their mothers led to the development of his influential concept concerning the "holding environment".
Among other things, Winnicott considered that the mothers, or in primary carer’s, technique of holding, helped to foster in the child a sense of the body as the place wherein one securely lives. Extrapolating from this concept of holding to the feeling of being securely held by a soft cuddly cushion, which pretty much gives the feeling of being embraced, goes a long way to explaining why MeroWings’ wings cushions provide more than physical comfort!
Ein sehr schön geschriebener Blogeintrag, der ans Herz geht und den ich nach meinem langen Leben mit den Flügelkissen nur bestätigen kann.
Auch ich kann mir sie nicht mehr aus meinem Haus wegdenken.
Danke liebe Meena!