Hugimals were born out of a personal quest — and loads of research. A health and wellness journalist and former editor at Women's Health, Cosmopolitan and Glamour, Marina Khidekel discovered and became smitten with weighted blankets before they became widely used outside the special needs community. But it wasn’t long before she went searching for a more portable, less unwieldy solution for her own anxiety and insomnia. She started researching other weighted products and the science behind them, looking for something that could ease anxiety in anyone who loved the comforting sensation of Deep Touch Pressure: from kids to adults, neurotypical, neurodivergent, sensory-seeking, and everyone in between. She couldn't find what she was looking for — a product that was high- quality, lovable and beautifully designed...something she would be proud to gift to loved ones or cuddle at home — so she set out to make it.
The next step was bringing together a team of amazing experts who believed in her idea and helped perfect it — from psychologists, pediatricians and occupational therapists who've used weighted items as a "secret weapon" in their own practices and families, to toy industry experts behind some of the most emotionally resonant characters you’ve loved (from the Toy-of-the-Year-Award-winning Twilight Turtle to childhood favorites Pound Puppies and Tickle Me Elmo). With their help, Marina created the cuddly, comforting, luxe, lovable, washable, weighted plush of her dreams. Testers of all ages confirmed that these creatures were keepers. And now — at a moment where everyone could use a hug — Hugimals are finally here.Before we launched Hugimals, we wanted to test them in a place we knew we’d learn the most about their effects – with people who work with kids who really need their healing hugs. We partnered with the Toy Foundation and Children’s Hospital Association to pilot Hugimals with five children’s hospitals around the country, and the unanimously positive feedback has confirmed that Hugimals “are a hit” with kids and families.