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Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Learn how one Made In America company is revolutionizing how the world sleeps.

Forget memory foam. South Carolina-based HIBR — pronounced like “hibernate” without the “nate” — is on the market with an innovative pillow that will blow that old foam pillow back into the last century. The new technology combines everything you love about memory foam and adds advanced improvements that manage heat while sleeping and pillow design to optimize neck and back alignment to create a good night’s sleep. 

And the best part? Everything is Made in America. While HIBR is headquartered in South Carolina, the company sources and manufactures all of its pillows and packaging in North Carolina and Georgia.

We chatted with Nick Ondrako, co-founder of HIBR, about the creation and evolution of the company and his thoughts on American manufacturing.

AAM: How did HIBR start?

Ondrako: There has been very little innovation in the bedding industry for about 30 years. We started looking into all the new materials and technologies available to consumers but just not being used. Through trial and error, research and design and consumer testing we made some major leaps forward. 

In the fall of 2014 we launched a Kickstarter Campaign under the company name Fohm. It was a huge success — we sold a ton of pillows and got the most amazing reviews. We then received an email from Brookstone, claiming our name was too similar to a product that they offered. As a startup, we just didn't have the money to legally dispute their claim, so we decided to rebrand under the name HIBR. In the end, it was all for the best. 

We love the new name and our customers have been loyal and supportive throughout the change. We have come out the gates stronger than before, picking up right where we left off at the end of 2014.

"I personally think that outsourcing for the sake of making a few extra points on margin is un-American and doing a disservice to this country." —Nick Ondrako, HIBR 

AAM: Why do you manufacture in America instead of outsourcing like other companies?

Ondrako: Both myself and fellow co-founder, Erick Arbé, have a lot of pride in this country. We both are involved with a local non-profit called Operation Sidekick that pairs service dogs with veterans suffering from PTSD. It was a no brainer from day one that we would be keeping everything here at home. I personally think that outsourcing for the sake of making a few extra points on margin is un-American and doing a disservice to this country. We were born in this country, educated in this country and live in this country — we want our business to succeed in this country.

AAM: What is your favorite thing about HIBR/the HIBR Team?

Ondrako: I love this question — it's really simple. I love the fact that our company puts quality, service and people a head of profits. We have this wild concept — just make great products that improve people’s lives and everything else will take care of itself. It's a different, non-traditional approach to business - but we can sleep well (pun intended) knowing our hearts and motivations are in the right place.

Find the Right Pillow for You

HIBR offers three different types of pillows, the Simple, Side, and Silhouette pillow. The Simple pillow is designed for the sleeper who rests in a single position. The Side design is for — you guessed it — the side sleeper, as it helps support and align neck and shoulders throughout the night to promote stability. It also helps if you like to sleep with your arm under your pillow. The last design, Silhouette, is made for people with sleep issues such sleep apnea. Like the side pillow, it helps align the neck and back.  

Looking for an American-made mattress to go with your new HIBR pillow? Check out Casper.