By Yona Mishanina
Palm Beach Gardens, Co-Editor
Michele Ojea, a flight attendant at a major airline company, has invented fashionable insoles for flip-flops, sandals and shoes called Piggy Pillows. With its success, she has transformed herself into a successful entrepreneur.
One day, after her regular pedicure session, Ojea went to the grocery store and noticed that her feet were slipping around in her sandals, making it uncomfortable to walk. “And I thought to myself, “Gosh, I really need something that will absorb the moisture from the lotion.”” says Ojea.
She wanted a product that would help make her sandals more comfortable and at the same time, prevent after-pedicure slipping.
She started looking for the insole that would fit inside her flip-flops in the grocery store, department store, and finally in the drug store where she found one brand of insole. However, it was not exactly what she had in mind. “It was not going to absorb the lotion and it was not attractive,” said Ojea. She then took this insole home and cut, shaped, mended some existing holes and sewed bright designer fabric over her creation.
The next time she went to a nail salon, customers noticed and took an interest in the insoles. At that moment Ojea realized that she could make these insoles even better, more comfortable and beautiful. So, she dedicated the next two years to the product’s research and development.
A prototype was made. She found a manufacturer. And the very first Piggy Pillows were born. She started the marketing of the product at a very low budget. “I utilized all I could free. I posted my product on Facebook, Linked In and Wedding Wire,” she said.
She added that the smartest thing she did to get her business going was an inexpensive video that was posted online. This led to distributor contacts in Germany and Spain, in addition to the United States’ distributors.
Contemporary Ladies Boutique Blondie’s in Vero Beach sells the product. “Piggy Pillows are great,” said Patricia Reid, owner of Blondie’s. “We had customers buying them when they were on vacation, and now they call and ask us to ship them some more.”
“My product is very whimsical, light and fun. I think you should have fun with it,” Ojea concluded. The company’s website is piggypillows.com