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Online & On Top: Homies a small but powerful purveyor of pillows

Long pillows have become a staple product for direct-to-consumer soft goods creator and retailer Homies.

It’s a smaller brand, but direct-to-consumer source Homies is starting to gain attention and traction in the marketplace.

Founded four years ago by Kiley Story, the Los Angeles-based company has a workforce of two: Story and a seamstress. But that hasn’t stopped Homies from making a splash. It caught the attention of Apartment Therapy, which called the company’s pillows a “one-and-done” product because it enables consumers to “effortlessly style your bed with just one pillow.”

Story said a lot of the attention the company receives comes from her willingness to hustle. In addition to kudos from Apartment Therapy, the brand has also drawn praise from a number of Instagram influencers.

“A lot of the featured stories I’ve gotten on the site have come from me reaching out to editors who are out there,” she said. “Whether I find them on an article about pillows or something in the home décor category, I reach out and introduce myself.”

She said the catchy name doesn’t hurt, either. And she fully leans into the play on words it creates.

“Everybody says they love the name so much. It’s so funny; homies are friends and then people are also making their home very homey and quaint and nicely decorated,” she said, noting that Homies’ catchphrase is hand-crafted décor for you and your homies. “It plays on friends plus home and it’s short and sweet.”

Story said she’s always been drawn to home décor and pillows seemed like a natural entry point. “I’ve always really liked home décor and pillows are something you can never have enough of,” she said. “It seems people like to swap them out on a regular basis. I decided that’s what I wanted to do.”

She sources fabric from all over, primarily Thailand, and her seamstress makes what she can from what’s provided, so each offering has a limited availability. Homies’ specialty is longer pillows, and as size has increased, so has demand.

“Last year I introduced long pillows, 14×50. Before then, 14×36 used to be my No. 1 seller. You can find square pillows everywhere but those are special,” Story said. “As soon as I added the 14×50 pillows, they’ve started growing and taking over sales.”

And while pillows are where business is at for now, Story sees Homies continuing to add product from the soft home landscape, with blankets and decorative flags likely coming soon.

“I definitely see opportunity for growth. Every year, I’ve gotten more and more sales. When I started, I only launched with 30 or 40 products. Now I think there’s between 350-400. As I continue adding more fabrics, I’m getting more customers. Having a lot of variation in colors and textures has been really great for me because it’s leading to more sales.”

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