Meet Shelton McCoy: Inventor of the Smart Pillo

After a hard day’s work, you pull up to your driveway, anxiously pressing the garage door remote control so you can dash into the house to begin the first night of a long weekend. Once inside, you have managed to eat, take a hot, steaming shower and you are ready to hit your high-thread count cotton sheets. Because your alert mind prevents you from immediately falling asleep, you decide to lay down to relax with some soothing music. Imagine if these wonderful sounds echoing about your room were actually coming from your pillow? Is that even possible? Yes it is, thanks to the brilliant mind of Shelton McCoy. I was privy to interview the founder and inventor of The SmartPillo Company LLC on behalf of Level 21 Magazine.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? 

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I am the middle child of five. I am the left handed middle child, which is why I think that ventured out into extreme things to get attention; the middle child is the “invisible child”.

You have a background as an artist. Tell us a bit about that?

I entered the music industry, and the first time going for it, I became a platinum recording Hip Hop artist with a group called Divine Sounds. “What People Do for Money”, is a record that is still being played today.

So you collaborated on a song with Notorious BIG, can you elaborate on this? How did this affect your music career?

I paid and requested reference vocals from the Notorious B.I.G., on a song I wrote called “Macks N’ Dons”, which eventually became part of the soundtrack to his biopic. But, I  never received credit, nor funds for, even to this day. His mother insisted that it was his song, but I have proof that the song belonged to me.  After his untimely death, I lost my taste for the industry and left the music scene. Then, I packed my things, and moved to L.A. without knowing anyone.

Eventually, what led to your career in celebrity security?

Six months after moving to L.A., I was hanging out with some guys, and I just bumped into a really cool guy, who approached me, handing me a business card. Because of my size, he said I should join the security team for American Idol, and I worked there for three years. Next, I toured with Carrie for two-and-a-half years. The year I joined American Idol, was the same year she won, and because she remembered me during the competition, she asked me to join her on tour as head of security. I traveled all over with Carrie, and met all kinds of  high-end people, so that is when I began submitting patents because of my exposure to the world, and my mind was just running crazy and I realized I had an invention.

You mentioned that you had submitted patents before. Were they prototypes of the Pillo?

I had a prior invention before the SmartPillo. It was a dual-screen net book, which was before there ever was a tablet, kindle, or an iPad. It was insane, I still have it. Because I was ahead of my time, I was told that people wouldn’t want to give up their books, because they like the feel of paper. Now, look at everybody; they are on their tablets. I lived in L.A. for eleven years, and after I had that experience, I moved to Fargo, North Dakota, just for a year.  I was put into a technology incubator at NDSU (North Dakota State University). I met some cool people in North Dakota who believed I had more to offer than working security. I told them that I do have some great ideas, and that I am working on this patent, which was the net book at the time. So, I took my earnings from working with Carrie and started The SmartPillo Company.

What concerns did you have that led to your invention? What personal health issues did you have that contributed to the Smart Pillo’s creation?

As a protector and someone who is protective by nature, I saw my daughter, who was fifteen at the time, stick her iPhone inside of her head wrap so she would be hands free. Prior to that, I saw a segment on CNN about cell phone radiation, and I even got a tumor on my ear due to cell phone radiation. This is why I don’t put a cell phone to my ear anymore. I knew that it was dangerous so I told my daughter to stop putting the phone to her ear. That night, I went to bed and as clear as day, had a vision for a Bluetooth Pillo, through which she could talk to her friends, and even listen to music.

I put it all on the line. I took my patent and went to China alone. I even shared my idea with my barber, Damian Johnson, Owner of No Grease Barber Shop. Barbers are also great therapists, so I told him, and he is one of the first people to tell me that it was a great idea. That gave me the fuel to pursue my dream. Three months later, I had a working prototype for the Pillo. If you ever want to pursue something, write it down, so you can see it everyday. So I sketched what I wanted it to look like on paper, and I looked at that paper everyday.

The paper now is talking to me. It is indicating that “Shelton, you need speakers, because it is enabled by Bluetooth technology.”  I am now looking at the paper for further inspiration, and it says “it is a Pillo, now you need foam to hold the speakers.” So I had to cut the foam so all the components could fit perfectly. Now, I needed a seamstress to put the cover together. And that is how I accomplished this by the paper telling me what to do. And here we are, five years later, that The SmartPillo Company has now turned into Kushion, the world’s first Bluetooth Pillo.

Did you know it would go this far?

No I didn’t know my invention would go this far, but I knew I had something. Everyone I met and let test the Pillo were in awe. I would let them connect their phone to the Pillo and they would be so impressed with it. But, I didn’t know I would  ever partner up with a business tycoon! I called it a divine connection, that I had nothing to do with. Here I came from a group called Divine Sound, and now here it is I am having a divine connection with a mogul like Michael Fux (pronounced Fewks), who is the inventor of the memory foam pillow. I could have never orchestrated this myself. I do not even have an engineering background. Sealy Corporation also has a headquarters in Charlotte so we met there. And, the CEO of Sealy was even impressed with how I met Michael Fux, asking “how did you two guys meet?” The Pillo is so amazing and ahead of its time. So, if any one asks “who the inventor of the Kushion is, I can say, “Shelton McCoy is the inventor if the Cushion Pillo”.

We saw you on Good Morning America, featuring some celebrities testing the pillows. What was their feedback on the product? How did you land a license agreement with distribution company Comfort Revolution?

I was on Good Morning America, during Cyber Monday, where I received great feedback from many celebrities, who thought the idea was dope. The bodyguard for Randy Jackson (American Idol Judge) wanted me to show Randy the Pillo, because he thought Randy may want to partner with me. So, he sent me to meet Randy, who was at the race track at Concord Mills in Concord, NC. So I had in my mind that I would partner with Randy Jackson, as I grab my Pillo and head over to meet with him.

Twenty minutes later, I get a phone call from Randy, who tells me that everyone headed back to the Ritz Carlton! I told him, “I am twenty minutes away, I will meet you guys tomorrow.” And Randy said “no, no, no, we want to meet with you now”, so I decided to head over to the hotel after all since I haven’t seen him in awhile. So, once I got there, I walked up to Randy, who was in the lobby. and he said “Dude what are you doing in Charlotte, Man? What woman brought you to Charlotte? We missed you man, everyone would love to talk to you and meet with you about the Pillo”. I laughed and said “no, I am here because I started a new company, called The SmartPillo Company”.

As he was checking out my Pillo, I got a tap on the shoulder from behind. I turned around to see David, the nephew of Michael Fux, who asked me about the pillow because he thought the Pillo was awesome. So I began pitching the Pillo to David, who was intrigued by it. So, now he wanted to show his Uncle the pillow, and asked me if I had some time. So, what I thought was supposed to be a meeting with Randy Jackson was really God setting up a meeting with Michael Fux, a successful owner of a pillow company! So Michael Fux and his team came down after receiving a call from David to meet me.

After pitching to Michael, he said “This is the future guys, pay attention. The betting industry never changes. Putting this type of technology into the industry is looking into the future. This young man is onto something. If you stick with me, you are going to make a lot of money”.  I told him I didn’t know who he was, but I told him I would Google him once I got home, and I did! Fux is also a world-famous car collector, which he purchased with earnings from his successful pillow empire. If you go on Instagram, his name is spelled Michael F-U-X, and you will see his car collection. It is the sickest car collection ever. And that is whom I am partnered with.

What is the next step for the Pillo?

If someone asked me, “what else do you have going on?” I can show them these other great products I have. I have a bunch of deals in the works now. NFL Kushion Pillos are coming soon, as I have a licensing agreement with the National Football League to patent them for its individual teams. I also am working on another Kushion called the “S1 Kushion”, (for now) that you can speak commands into. There are some smaller, more lightweight Kushions that I am also coming out with. What is great is that it only takes three weeks to produce the Pillos.

What else are you working on? 

I am putting up an eco-friendly community with Darryl Williams, President and CEO of Neighboring Concepts, called Shelton Beach, which will be the world’s first eco-community. It has seven-acres, a salt-water swimming pool, imported white sand, and we are building thirty, 1-2 bedroom, bungalow-like homes surrounding it. It will give the appearance of being in a place like Bora Bora. Every tree produces a fruit or vegetable so the community is self-sustainable.  We are also partnering up with Tesla Motors, who has built a battery for the community.

Ironically, Darryl also introduced me to a guy who has forty-acres of land near Concord Airport that he hasn’t yet found use for, and he agreed to donate the land for Shelton Beach! I met Darryl, who initially wanted to set up a meeting. He asked me, “where are you now” and I said “I am getting a haircut at the same place where I saw you while shooting for another magazine.” He wanted to know which barbershop, and I realized, as we were talking on the phone, that he actually less than five feet away from me!

So, I met with Darryl and his team. Mind you, I have no architectural design background, but they were so impressed with my plans that even they want to live in my design. The First Lady of Congo also wants me to travel there to invest in my eco-community, and I am not sure what will happen next. My end game is to become an investor. I have to be a blessing to others because none of this happened based on my credentials. I also want to hit the circuit and talk to our youth, and share my story.

Do you have a specific target market?

My target market is anyone who has a tablet, iPhone, listen to their music on smartphones, watch movies or read their books on such devices. If I am tired, and I have some scriptures to read, I connect my bible app to the Pillo and let it read them to me as I relax. My core audience are also Beats by Dre fans.

What advice would you give to other business owners regarding inventions and patents? How must one remain faithful when it appears that things aren’t materializing yet? 

It is going to sound simple. Just do it. If  you envision it, and believe it, you cannot see it on your own; it is coming from another place, deep down inside of you. God is saying, this is what I have for you. Don’t let your fear, because God did not give us the spirit of fear, distract you and keep you from seeing your next step. If you let fear dictate, fear will rob you of the gift God gave you. Step out on faith. God will put those opportunities in place for you. There is power in the unseen and unknown.

If this is a pure vision that comes to you, you know it is from The Most High.  You will have concerns but keep working at it everyday, and God is going to put those people you need in front of you. You will go see a Randy Jackson, who you think will be the face of your business, and you will get a tap on the back from behind, someone I did not see, and God will have the right person in place to assist you on your journey. Anything coming from lust, saying “look at me, see what I drive”, materialistic thoughts are not of God.

He will introduce you to someone; I call that person a crossroad. Everything has a crossroad. For every left there is a right; everything has an opposite. There is someone out there looking for something you can offer. For example, if you put two pianos in the room, one all the way to the left, and the other to the right.  Play a chord on one, and then walk to the other, that same note will resonate on that piano. Because those two pianos are connected. God will connect you with someone who is praying to invest in your gift. That is how these marriages work. It has all been vision, and God has aligned me with the right people to help me on the journey of fulfilling my dream. These investors understand that they are not investing in my Pillo, they are investing in Shelton McCoy! This has all been a vision of people, tapping me on the shoulder and asking me about my invention. Also, be open to receiving those blessings from God when they come, and they will come in ways that you won’t expect them.

Where do we find The Smart Pillo or Kushion?

Customers can go on my websites, www.kushion.com, and  www.sheltonmccoy.com.  For the readers, I have something for you; if you use my exclusive promotional code F1MCCOY, you will receive a $100 discount off of your order!

How do we follow you on social media?

IG @ S1McCoy is my main social media outlet.

Shelton McCoy’s dreams of having safe yet convenient technology has now become our reality. He is a shining example that faith, along with hard work and dedication will align us with divine opportunities to see our own ideas to fruition. Also, when that passion involves serving  others, it is a guarantee that success will surely follow close behind. As technology advances forward, it is vital that we have someone like Shelton, who invents products that keep the health, safety, and comfort of the human race in mind. Take that discount code and “Get a Pillo that could do both”.

 

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Michael Kors SS17 Show

[(Disclaimer: this is not a post to bash, or slander the Michael Kors).

For the past few years, the Michael Kors brand has taken a hit due to an assumed aggressive market penetration of his bridge line, Michael by Michael Kors. This line, which could be found in most department stores, such as Macy*s or Dillards, is not to be confused with his eponymous luxury line Michael Kors. Please note that many luxury designers choose to create lines that are affordable at all price points.]

This post is about Michael Kors luxury line, and is a review of his recent SS17 show during NYFW.

Dresses, structured jackets, and soft silhouettes are the epitome of cool in this collection. Androgynous lines are blurred together as Kors blends haberdashery  with floral prints. A preview of his men’s line was also a treat: oversized sweaters with slacks, giving business casual a more playful approach.  A peek of argyle with pantsuits and platform shoes gave the tone of the show a 60’s vibe.

Bright colors and Bermuda shorts makes us all long for summer. The styles are relaxed, with effortless day-to-night wear. Trench “jackets” and palazzo pants are utility chic. Frilly, floral dresses in brown and blue combinations were easy on the eye. Fun swimwear had the same overall theme as the attire. Then came the “sequined finale” with beautiful, black dresses that allow for a gentle transition into spring. Michael Kors has raised the career dress code and weekend wardrobe standards with this collection.

The Michael Kors brand has and can continue to recover, and this recent SS17 collection is a prime example of that. Remember, Kors has been in the fashion game since 1981 and has thrived for nearly four decades. Many brands have tried certain strategies that proved unsuccessful. But what makes a brand like Michael Kors so profitable, is his preeminent ability to show resiliency in an ever-changing world. May the Michael Kors empire experience more success.

Hadid x Hilfiger 2017 Fashion Show Review

Last week, Tommy Hilfiger launched his SS17 Women’s Fashion Show on famed Venice Beach in California. The show opens with Gigi Hadid strutting down the runway with her steely blue-eyed gaze,  and long, flowing golden locks. She is wearing a color block midriff top, black leather pants and an oversized jacket hanging off of her shoulders. At this point I knew the rest of the show would be a treat!

Deviating from his traditional looks, Hilfiger’s SS17 collaboration with Gigi is more sporty and fun! He blended the brand’s usual Red, White, and Blue–homage to the All-American, with bright yellow, striped, patchy denim, and shocking prints. Hilfiger also played with metallics and frayed details. I love when a designer blurs gender lines. While there were some masculine elements, such as baggy pants and hoodies, there were also feminine, maxi dresses and and blouses.

The line also included Varsity jackets that would all make us reminisce about our high school years. Western boots, heavy knits and leather shorts screamed American Pride and our appreciation for style and comfort. There is something in the collection for everyone, whether you are going on a weekend trip to the Hamptons, hanging with friends on South Beach, or running late to a lecture at Princeton.

Why Customer Service is Vital to Successful Branding

As with most customers, I am dedicated to quite a few companies, but there are a few key elements I look for. First, I am a sucker for packaging. I am easily attracted to color schemes, shapes and fancy lettering.  Another thing I look for is good quality for my money. And I have learned just because something is expensive, doesn’t mean it is made with superior products and workmanship.But, the most important factor is one that determines a brand’s trust-worthiness and validity. A company’s ability to admit when a product or service wasn’t up to standard, and their willingness to take the necessary steps to appease the customer wins me over. Ipsy has proven to be one of those companies.

Ipsy is a reputable cosmetics subscription company, that allows the members to sample an array of products, from hair to skin to nails. As a monthly subscriber, I expect my Glambag to arrive in a timely manner, and when that did not happen, I took my concern to Twitter and messaged @ipsycare (Ipsy Customer Care Account). Ipsy responded in a timely manner, suggesting that I direct message them my name and address. Once I provided that information, they explained to me how they would resolve the issue, and to expect a confirmation email.

Once I received the email, I was informed to expect a replacement Glambag for my trouble, along with a Fed Ex routing number.  This showed me that Ipsy cared that a paying member did not receive her product, although it is not common, but went above and beyond to resolve the issue. A few days later, I received my Glambag, which turned out to have some great products (that are currently under review). But the point is, Ipsy was able to stand behind their brand even when something not-so-perfect happens.

Any company is great as long as all of their consumers are satisfied. When trouble arises with a product or service is when a brand really proves itself. A company is only as strong as its customer service, and has the maturity to accept when it has failed to please a customer. Good customer service is like health insurance. No one plans to get sick, but in case we do, it is great to know health insurance is available. I did not count on my Glambag being stolen in transit, but I am relieved to know that I can contact a company like Ipsy, tell them what happened, and they will happily solve the problem. That is when I can feel secure in my continued loyalty, and I know that a brand in need, is a brand indeed.