When Mike Grillo and his team launched the Kickstarter campaign for Gravity Blankets, they were not prepared to see their product go viral. They got orders from all over the world that they could not fulfill, but today, the company he co-founded, Gravity Products, has expanded its reach to Western Europe and the United Kingdom. The Gravity Blanket was listed among the best inventions of 2018, while Gravity Products is ranked among 100 Brilliant Companies. Let's share some facts about his personal and professional life to help you know him as more than just the Gravity Products CEO.
1. He Suffered From Insomnia
Mike spoke with Neurohacker and revealed that in his mid-20s, he often suffered from bouts of insomnia linked to anxiety and depression. Luckily, therapy helped him overcome his problem; Mike also praised the "Sleep like the Dead" blog for helping him with his insomnia battle. He has tried his best to maintain a sleep routine in which one thing he avoids is eating after 7 pm. He then usually takes a hot shower and relaxes on the couch with Gravity Blankets, doing anything that is not work-related. He prefers watching docu-series or listening to podcasts, but even the Calm app, with its sleep stories and meditation, enables him to fall asleep faster.
2. He Does Not Spend Personal Time with Co-workers
Mike used to hang out with his colleagues whenever they were out of the office, and he found that they would talk about work. Therefore, there was no boundary between his social and professional lives, so he decided to make conscious efforts to avoid being with his co-workers outside of work. Now, Mike only spends personal time with those who do not even work in the same industry as him. That way, he can expand his perspectives and decrease the amount of time he spends thinking about work.
3. He is Charitable
The Gravity Products CEO acknowledged the plight that first responders who need enough rest to perform their duties effectively are facing. As a result, Mike disclosed that his company would be granting a 30% discount on its products sold to first responders. He explained that his company is small and has been affected by the pandemic; thus, the discount was the much he could do. In better circumstances, he would have given out the blankets for free to the medical professionals.
4. His Fundraising Goal on Kickstarter was only $21,500
When Mike and his team launched the Kickstarter campaign, they only hoped to get $21,500. However, on the first day, they closed at $250,000, and by the end of the month, they had raised $4.7 million. The amount resulted in Gravity Products being in the top 10 Kickstarter campaigns, but it dropped a few places with time. It remains in the top 20 nonetheless.
5. What Does Mental Wellness Mean to Him?
The mind for most people is ever racing with thoughts about the future, present, and past. Therefore, Mike told Medium that mental wellness to him means being able to live in the present without getting caught up in the "what ifs." As one who advocates for quality sleep, Mike also admits that mental wellness also translates to getting the best quality of sleep possible. He also takes time to think about the day's events without getting anxious about the future.
6. He Had a Hard Time Coming Out
Noel Cunningham said that although he realized he was gay at a young age, he had to live a lie because of the bullying and victimization that surrounded him. He added that even today, it is hard for the gay community to come out in Ireland. The same goes for other countries, especially those that observe Islamic law. Mike may not be from Ireland or profess the Muslim faith but still coming out in his 20s proved to be so difficult that he had to seek therapy to deal with it.
7. He Has Been In Therapy for Over a Decade
They say a problem shared is half-solved, and for over 14 years, Mike has been sharing whatever he is going through with therapists. It started when he was going to college, and since it was the first time being away from home, Mike had to seek help to facilitate him in adjusting to his new life. Besides the coming out phase in which he termed therapy as invaluable at that point in his life, Mike still visits therapists whenever he is going through a rough patch.
8. His Earliest Childhood Memory of Money
In Mike's interview with Inspired Money, posted on Apple podcasts, the Gravity Products co-founder said that he grew up in a conservative Italian family. The family did not trust banks to keep their money, and Mike remembers seeing loads of cash stashed in his mother's closet, in a secret compartment.
9. How the Idea of Gravity Blankets Came to be
Mike was working as the Chief Operations Officer in a digital media company. They noticed that their readers were curious about the science of sleep; hence they decided to look into products that would appeal to their readers. They landed on weighted blankets, acknowledging that although the product has been in the market since the 90s, it was mostly presented as a clinical product to relieve anxiety. As a result, Mike and his team decided to redesign the blanket such that it appealed to more than just the adults with PTSD and autistic kids. They enhanced a few features and kickstarted it, which made the product go viral.
10. His Self-care Routine
It is easy to tell why Mike Grillo chose to pursue a product that helps with sleeping disorders; he confessed that if he does not get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night, the adverse effects will start to show since he is quite sensitive to lack of sleep. Apart from quality sleep, Mike cherishes getting a haircut, which makes him feel like he has been reborn, and he also uses the time to relax. He tries to remain active throughout the week by engaging in group fitness at least once a week and some form of physical activity at least twice a week.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee