The Kalm Koala story starts in the United States, where our founder, Chris Katona, discovered North America’s love for the weighted blanket.
What intrigued Chris most wasn’t the sheer number of them available, but the rather sensational claim that people were having success treating their insomnia and anxiety with a weighted blanket. Could it really be a magical cure?
Chris was sceptical. Given blankets are non-medicinal, and everyone is different, he thought it was all a marketing ploy -- until he looked into the research himself.
And what Chris found was remarkable.
He discovered that weighted blankets enable Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS), a proven therapy for calming children and adults with anxiety and autism. This is the same therapy utilised in hospitals with ‘squeeze’ machines.
His research led him deeper into weighted blankets specifically, and there were plenty of clinical and scientific studies to feast on.
With regards to insomnia, this study and this study provided Chris with irrefutable prove weighted blankets can help. With regards to anxiety, this study and this study proved weighted blankets and Deep Pressure Stimulation can help. Weighted blankets are also linked to helping ease symptoms of Tourette syndrome, and calming those with ADHD, as well as autism in some cases, and restless leg syndrome.
Inspired by his research, Chris set out to buy a blanket. But incredibly, despite so many different weighted blankets being available in the States, Chris couldn’t find one he liked.
Some blankets were too thin; some were too thick; some had nasty outer covers; some were available in odd sizes; and some were only available in bland colours. Chris had a light bulb moment, “why don’t I just make one myself?”.
The Start of the Koala Blanket
And thus, the idea for a weighted blanket was born.
Our brand name Kalm Koala was dreamed up because it’s Chris’s wife’s favourite animal and seeing Koala bears in the wild on a trip to Australia was one of Chris’s favourite moments ever from his travels.
The design stage for the Koala Blanket started with a sketch, drawing inspiration from competitor products. An original design was eventually created, offered in two sizes to suit a single or double bed. Competitor research unearthed a gap in the market for a plush and extremely high-quality blanket for a mid-range price. We wanted the Koala to be affordable, but not at the expense of quality!
We made the Koala Blanket stand out with two features:
Loop and tie system
The Koala Blanket is THE ORIGINAL weighted blanket to have a loop and tie system. It enables the user to securely fit the inner duvet inside the weighted blanket. This prevents it from ‘bunching up’ and rolling when you move.
Reversible outer cover
This is a customer-favourite feature! Our reversible outer cover is made using two outer materials to suit warm and cooler nights. One side is a low-pile ultra-soft artificial mink; the other is a silky-smooth bamboo.
It’s no exaggeration to say we travelled halfway round the world to find the right outer cover materials for our weighted blanket. We had various samples sent to us, but we had doubts over quality control in mass production. We had to fly out to see textiles in person to get a real sense of their quality and feel.
We tested over 10 competitor products. We found most to have good quality fabrics, but nothing blew us away. We wanted to do better than everyone else, so we settled on a high-quality artificial mink and a bamboo.
We wanted to create an environmentally-friendly blanket, so the materials are machine washable on a cold cycle.
The inner cover is made from cotton. It is designed to fix to the outer cover with the loop and tie system. It is made from a high-quality cotton which is sourced from a supplier whose environmental credentials are sound.
The inner cover isn’t designed to be washed, but because the outer cover is removable, it can be wipe washed with a mild detergent.
The filling is also of premium-grade. The Koala Blanket is filled with BPA-free, non-toxic glass beads which are fully recyclable. They are a third the size of plastic beads and do not come with any of the environmental issues of plastic.
The decision to use glass beads is a functional and environmental one. Glass beads are smaller but denser than plastic beads, so they take up less space in the blanket. This means they can move more freely and provide greater comfort.
Quality and customer experience
The quality of our product is its distinguishing feature.
The Koala Blanket looks, smells and feels luxurious. Our benchmark for this was simple, “would we be happy to get it is a gift?”, so we worked hard on everything from the product to the packaging to make the Koala experience a great experience.
From the moment you use our weighted blanket, it feels like a lovely, warm cuddle. The experience is quite a surreal one at first because it’s so calming and so nice. But you quickly get used to it. Personally, we wouldn’t be without ours!
To make sure each and every one of our weighted blankets lasts a lifetime (so long as it isn’t damaged), the pockets that hold the filling are double stitched with extra thick thread and a seamer inspects each product before it’s packaged up.
The product you receive should be absolutely perfect.
This is how we created the ULTIMATE weighted blanket. There are hundreds of other products out there, but none have had as much love and passion put into them as ours.
PS – The Koala Blanket includes the duvet AND cover. We also recently launched a new weight class, giving you the choice of a 4kg, 6.8kg or 9kg blanket! The correct weight for you is anywhere between 7-13% of your body weight.