bbhugme was created by three chiropractors from Norway. For many years, pregnant women entered their chiropractic clinic searching for answers and support. Backaches, pelvic pain, and leg cramping were leaving these women feeling sleep-deprived and stressed.
Hilde, Kristin, and Elisabeth, the co-founders of bbhugme, understood their patients’ challenges. They offered patients generic pillows to alleviate pregnancy discomfort. But the pillows weren’t very effective. One day in their office building’s lunchroom, a chance encounter with a group of industrial designers changed everything.
“The three of us were talking at lunch about how nice it would be to have a certain kind of pillow to offer support,” Hilde says. “We were getting frustrated on our patients’ behalf. When the industrial designers overheard us, they said they could help us. Help was the magic word, and we trusted in that.”
Hilde, Ann Kristin, and Elisabeth set out to create a high-quality, versatile pregnancy pillow to sell at their clinic and other chiropractic offices in Norway.
“Our prototype came together fairly quickly because we knew exactly what we wanted the pillow to do,” Hilde says. “We could be very specific about the design.”
It’s all in the name
The name of the product—bbhugme—came about after a brainstorming session in Oslo. Hilde, Ann Kristin, and Elisabeth started talking about words that symbolized belly, bottom, and baby, and words that began with the letter b.
“At first, I said, ‘bb hugger’ because what does this product do? It gives you a hug, and everyone needs a hug,” Hilde says, adding that the trio quickly agreed on the name bbhugme. “There is a meaning behind our name. It represents something and resonates.”
Commercial success and global expansion
While creating a prototype pregnancy pillow, the three partners regularly consulted with women visiting their clinic, who sampled the pillow and offered feedback.
The company’s commercial success didn’t happen overnight. The founders were focused on their patients and chiropractic practice and could only devote part-time hours to bbhugme. Over time, they realized their product could also benefit pregnant women outside their clinic.
“There are women all over the world with the same problems as our patients—so why limit it to our clinics?” Hilde says. “That’s how we slowly started to think there was an opportunity here.”
At first, larger retailers weren’t interested in carrying the bbhugme pregnancy pillow. But the product began to create a buzz in the pregnancy community, and women were requesting that retailers sell the pillow. Eventually, bbhugme’s phones began ringing off the hook from major stores interested in selling their pregnancy pillows.
The product first launched in Norway, followed by Sweden, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and the United States. An e-commerce shop was also established to sell bbhugme worldwide.
“No matter where you live, you can relate to things like lack of sleep, stress, and body aches. We’re talking about basic human needs, which is at the core of our mission,” Hilde says. “We want to make a difference in women’s lives, and we want women to know that they are seen and understood.”