Our story

Hugimals World's founder Marina Khidekel is a longtime health & wellness journalist and mental health expert. Before founding Hugimals, she served as deputy editor at Women's Health and chief content officer at Thrive. She authored the book Your Time To Thrive, which is all about tiny actionable steps anyone can take to improve their mental & physical well-being.

Hugimals was born out of a personal quest — and loads of research. Marina had a weighted blanket before they went viral to ease her own nighttime anxiety and trouble sleeping, but like many other people, she found it too hot and smothering. She started researching weighted products and the science behind them, looking for something smaller that could ease anxiety in anyone who loved the comforting sensation of Deep Touch Pressure: from kids to adults, neurotypical, neurodivergent, sensory-seeking, and everyone in between. She couldn't find what she was looking for — a high-quality, lovable and beautifully designed weighted plush, something she would be proud to gift to loved ones or cuddle at home — so she created Hugimals!

The next step was bringing together a team of experts — top psychologists, occupational therapists and product designers — who believed in the idea of Hugimals and helped Marina perfect the product. With their input, Marina created the cuddly, comforting, high-quality, lovable, washable, weighted plush of her dreams. Testers of all ages confirmed that these creatures were keepers (and the feedback about Hugimals' efficacy from our hospital pilot program was incredible).

Now, Hugimals are here for everyone to enjoy! Since launching in summer 2022, Hugimals has appealed to a wide group of customers and has been recognized with awards and press coverage. Hugimals has won awards including TIME magazine’s Best Inventions, Good Housekeeping's, Parents' and Fatherly's Best Toy Awards, Glamour's Best Woman-Owned Brands, the People's Play Awards and more. We've been recommended in press outlets like the TODAY Show, Goop, Travel & Leisure, Elle, InStyle, Oprah Daily, and many more, being named the #1 Best Weighted Stuffed Animal by Esquire and Parade. We went viral on TikTok with 22M views and counting, and have sold out twice, working hard to stay in stock for our thousands of happy customers (check out our reviews)!

We hope you and your loved ones enjoy our calming, comforting, healing hugs!