Rechargeable, heated cushions help you comfortably sit outside even during a cold Maine winter
Multiple awards | $100k
Maine Restaurants that use hüga heated cushions
temperature range of the heat settings
As COVID forced people to eat and entertain outside, it drove one Maine couple to create rechargeable seat warmers to make the experience more enjoyable.
Hüga’s cushions are like the heated seats in your car, without the car. Each water-resistant, portable, heated cushion includes a rechargeable battery that can last for 6-10 hours of heat, depending on the temperature setting. Hüga cushions are made for outdoor dining and socializing in the colder months, keeping you toasty warm on a restaurant’s sidewalk dining room or in your camp chair around the firepit.
As we all increase our outside socializing, even during the winter, hüga makes the experience a lot more pleasant by giving your backside its own personalized heater.
Jocelyn Olsen and Colin Greig initially designed the heated cushions to help the local restaurant industry keep their outdoor patios open and comfortable through the first COVID winter. Hüga has now sold its cushions to 17 Maine restaurants. The total addressable market looks as large as 300,000 when they tally all restaurants in other cold-weather states.
Additionally, the company has expanded its direct-to-customer business with the launch of its e-commerce website. And they are expanding into retail partnerships and hosting pop-up events targeting home consumers.
Hüga has experienced the highs and lows of the pandemic. The business idea and demand for the product probably would never have materialized if COVID did not drastically change how we dine and socialize. But ongoing supply chain issues have created challenges of their own with material and battery shortages, as well as production delays when stitchers are out sick or caring for family members. Luckily, Jocelyn and Colin have that scrappy Yankee ingenuity that Mainers are famous for. And Colin, who learned to be very adaptable in his previous career as a general contractor, has gotten very creative in sourcing a variety of vendors to always have a backup available.
The team is now looking to manage their growth, which can be difficult for manufacturing companies. They initially feared creating a demand that they could not support, but MTI provided hüga with two grants, both of which were instrumental in rapidly scaling the business. It allowed hüga to secure the materials, services, and equipment to have an in-stock inventory of their stuffed cushions and batteries.
Hüga is sourcing the marine vinyl locally, and the covers are sewn by another MTI client company, Flowfold.
Now that they are prepared, the team is ready to expand. MTI has continued its support, encouraging them to aggressively spread the word with advertising, trade show attendance, pitch contest participation, and general outreach to new customers.
The company is also developing new hüga sizes, materials, colors, and styles to keep hüga fans warm on the bleachers at high school and college games, at golf and ski resorts, and on boats. This plan should keep them growing even as pandemic restrictions wane.