Take out your cell phone and think on your favorite emoji. Sometimes they are better equipped to express emotions than words can via text.
In 2013, a Kickstarter campaign was launched to bring forth a wave of pillows based on popular text expressions. Since then, the popularity increased tenfold sending Throwboy into a creative tank for more pillow designs. ((B-T-DUBS, THEY ARE AWESOME.))
Get ready to LOL TXT IT, because Espionage Cosmetics is ringing in the holiday season appropriately for all the feels with Roberto Hoyos, Founder & Creator of Throwboy: The Original Emoji Pillows.
Just as always, creating terrific, high quality products that make people smile has always been what drives me. I still get a rush of giddiness when I think of how people are going to react when we unveil a new product.
EC: So, the magnificent empire that is Throwboy Pillows all began one Christmas when trying to impress a girl. You hand sewed seven geeky pillows in the shape of Mac icons. We know the internet was ridiculously impressed, but we must know…was she?
RH: Yes, she was thrilled. Being that we were both total Mac geeks, I was sure she would love the pillows and be totally surprised. Beyond wanting to give a cool gift to her, I honestly didn't think much of it at the time. So it was a surprise to me when the Internet caught wind of them and the pictures went viral.
EC: Are there any stores and/or businesses in particular that Throwboy is now carried in that really sent your heart aflutter? Any deals that really invoked that sense of accomplishment and pride?
RH: Throwboy pillows are carried in over 1,000 stores now as well as on our website. It's still a wonderful feeling to walk into a Zumiez store anywhere in the country and see Throwboy pillows displayed. The first Zumiez I visited to see Throwboy on display was only a mile away from the apartment (aka the Throwboy Factory) where I had sewn pillows only a few years earlier. That was quite a trip and I'm still very thankful. We're also in Bloomingdale's which makes me happy because I've always put quality first for our products, and Bloomingdale's is known for only carrying top quality products. As for future stores, I've had my eye on Barnes & Noble. Their toys & gift section now is stellar. It would be a great fit for Pillow Fighters especially.
EC: We adore that your overall mission is “Share joy!” Do you have any great fan stories or inspiring moments that have stuck with you?
RH: There are so many amazing fan moments that come to mind. The most touching came from a fan (turned friend) two years ago at VidCon 2014. They told me they wanted to give me something and asked if they could meet me at the Throwboy booth at the end of the show. When we met, they told me the story of how years ago I did an impromptu giveaway during a live stream and picked their little sister as a winner. This was back when I was sewing pillows in my basement, so we're talking early days. They told me their sister always remained a big fan and kept the Throwboy pin that I had sent as a prize. Sadly, the sister was diagnosed with a rare disease and passed away at a young age. They told me during her last visit to the hospital she was working on a drawing, and they pulled out the drawing revealing a Throwboy logo. This was so moving and I still have the drawing to this day.
EC: Your Poop Emoji pillow is one of our absolute best sellers in the Geek Boutique. It has brought in gaggles of giggling patrons and stirred some hilarious and interesting conversations between parent and child. At one point, a wee tot held it triumphantly above his head and hollered, “Dad, it’s a poop!” He did this repeatedly and had us all in stitches! What’s your bestseller or attention grabber?
RH: I'm glad to hear that the Geek Boutique customers love our pillow! The Poop Emoji Pillow is still our best seller. It always gets a laugh whenever I tell that to people because who would have thought, right? Other top sellers of ours speak to other niches. For example, our Subscribe Button Pillow is huge every year at the YouTuber convention VidCon. We run out of stock every year.
EC: What fandoms and/or elements of this universe inspire you and keep you going? What drives you?
RH: Just as always, creating terrific, high quality products that make people smile has always been what drives me. I still get a rush of giddiness when I think of how people are going to react when we unveil a new product. I listen to my customers while still staying true to my vision of Throwboy. Looking back, the idea to make that first set of pillows really came from a place of giving and wanting to surprise and make someone smile. In that regard, not much has changed.
EC: What do you see in Throwboy’s future? Any new and exciting projects on the horizon?
More Throwboy pillows and more Pillow Fighters! We've teamed up with some popular brands such as Pepsi to make some products with their branding in our signature pillow style. I'm also excited to say we're working on new Pillow Fighters and collaborating with well known licenses as well. First up is The Three Stooges Pillow Fighters! All these products and more well be available in December but you can get a sneak preview on our Instagram (@throwboy
). Last but not least, we just released our own iMessage sticker app featuring the Pillow Fighters: Bimmy, Qwerty and Jimothy!