(Above: one of the first incarnations of our holiday-themed pillowcases on my son's bed.)
Cases 4 Hope was conceptualized in the Fall of 2016. Redefining my life as a single dad with sole custody, I was trying to find a balance between being a good parent and a commitment to a high-level job.
When the holidays rolled around, I wanted what any parent wants for their children: a magical experience, especially raising a child who still believed in Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. As a parent, I knew that these special times time wouldn't last forever, so I wanted to make the most of it.
My son’s grandmother had originally made my son a set of pillowcases, each representing a holiday. I noticed how excited my son and I became when it was time for the “changing of the pillowcase.” A holiday ritual was created.
I also noticed how this new tradition gave us time to talk about the deeper meaning of holidays, especially when he lie in bed, ready to sleep, when the world was a little quieter.
I began to mull over how something as seemingly small created such a magical ripple effect for my family. I started looking around the marketplace for something similar to these themed pillowcases and found nothing. Sure, some cute kids sheets existed. But nothing touched on this concept of being able to change your kids room multiple times a year at a relatively low cost.
The next step was to price pillowcases. I found that most pillowcases come in sets of 2 and cost anywhere from $30 - $45 for decent quality ones. From my background at Nike, I knew I wanted the “product to be king.” These cases should stand on their own, not lean on a story to sell it. I reached out to factories and started the product creation process, maniacally focusing on the best ways to bring product to market.
Initially, I spoke with lots of consumer (okay, lots of moms) for feedback. Interestingly, I came across a few common annoyances I wanted to improve upon. The first: size and separation. Many parents stated that the pillow and case would separate at night.
“My daughter would wind up with her face on the pillow, not the case.” I went to work addressing this issue with our 18 cm pillow tucker, designed to hold the pillow in place.
Other feedback included the overall size of the pillow. I spent considerable time measuring out a variety of pillows and defining a size that fit most pillows with none of that sloppy fit.
The next area of concern? Fabric. Something that gets slept on for roughly 8 hours is often washed only once a week. That’s roughly the equivalent of wearing an article of clothing for 56 hours without washing it (yuck).
I reviewed all kinds of fabrics including cotton, polyester, peached this, sateen that. I also looked at the latest in technology fibers and fabrics. After much deliberation, I landed upon microfiber for a number of reasons: it’s antimicrobial, durable, takes color and pattern well and (key to many moms), it doesn’t bleed or run easily.
So the product was poised to launch...but what was the purpose? What was the message? Around this time, my son Logan saw an ad for a donation of a meal for every X amount of money you donate. He asked if we could provide a meal with each pillowcase sale.
We morphed the idea a bit to be our current model: a one-to-one donation. For every pillowcase sold, we donate one to charity. Originally named SleepOnTheHolidays, we changed the name to Cases4Hope and looked at the ways we could best help kids in need.
But who needs a pillowcase, you might think?
Looking at the stats, I was surprised at how many kids were in need of something as seemingly simple as a clean pillowcase. Often poverty-stricken homes don’t have proper bedding, leaving a child vulnerable to a host of illnesses.
Homeless shelters are often radically underfunded. Homeless children not only value a clean pillowcase, but sadly, often use them to carry their possessions.
Then I looked into hospitals. Chronically ill children often spend hundreds of hours in a hospital, often surrounded by cold, sterile surroundings. A cheerful pillowcase wouldn’t make their illness go away, but it might brighten their spirits and lift their moods.
Since starting Cases4Hope, I often think of Mother Teresa’s quote:
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
Exactly. Just a pillowcase, sure. But with love and effort, even a pillowcase can make a big difference. Just like it did in our household.
Since its inception, Cases4Hope has donated thousands of pillowcases to worthwhile charities and organizations, from my son’s bedside to the beds of children around the San Diego and now, around the U.S.
Small things make big differences. I’ve seen it myself.
Chief Hope Ambassador at Cases4Hope
Tel: +1 800 836 1512