- A waterproof outdoor cushion from other industries' waste materials
‘It all started when we, as a group of students studying the top-up bachelor Innovation and Entrepreneurship, participated in a competition to see who could make the most profit from a 500 DKK investment in a week,’ says Frida Birk, co-founder of PILLOWTALKS.
The competition, called 5-5-5, is an intense course for students and takes place right at the beginning of their study programme.
‘After a short period of idea generation, we came up with the idea of creating a waterproof outdoor cushion produced from other industries’ waste materials, both to exploit existing resources and to solve a problem we encountered in the restaurant industry. This is also a problem that many home owners can relate to – forgetting to take cushions and pillows in on time when the unpredictable Danish weather sets in’, Frida adds.
The study group quickly achieved several breakthroughs early on in the process. For example, they managed to collect free leftover materials from, among others, large construction companies. After this, and with a few good partnership agreements, the group could immediately start making a prototype.
‘Subsequently, we did intense market testing, where the product was tested by private individuals as well as restaurateurs, while - through several agile sprints - we honed the concept and product until we had a product that customers were ready to pay for,’ explains Adam Aouni.
Good feedback resulted in PILLOWTALKS ApS
Based on the quick results and positive reception from the potential users, the group decided to continue working on the project.
‘Our process has been consistently user-focused, combined with viability and feasibility. This together with structured innovation processes, resulted in PILLOWTALKS ApS being formed in 2021,’ describes Frida, who has graduated and now works full-time with the company, from their office in GROW at Business Academy Aarhus.
Want to show the world that sustainable production is possible
PILLOWTALKS aims to take sustainable responsibility and contribute with hard-wearing, durable and practical outdoor comfort solutions for sale and rental - to make the world a little greener and show that responsible production can be done by bringing the circular mindset into play.
Their degree programme provided both space and good advice for the startup
During the process from idea to finished company, PILLOWTALKS has taken advantage of the many different offers available at Business Academy Aarhus.
‘First and foremost, we have used the professional work processes from the teaching in the creation of the concept, but in addition to this, we have also used the opportunity to do an internship in our own company, which includes office space in GROW. Via GROW we got sparring from a mentor in the restaurant industry, and we were nominated for the Spir Prize with “Aarhus Omstiller”, which resulted in us producing a professional video. We had to settle for second place, but the learning and the video itself have been of great value to us,’ Frida concludes.