Our story

Hugimals World founder Marina Khidekel is a longtime heath & 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 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 who believed in the idea of Hugimals and helped Marina perfect the product — from psychologists, pediatricians and occupational therapists to product designers. With their help, 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!).

And now, Hugimals are finally here for everyone to enjoy! Since launching in summer 2022, Hugimals experienced instant appeal, winning TIME magazine’s Best Inventions and being recommended in press outlets like the TODAY Show, Goop, Good Housekeeping, and many more. We went viral on TikTok with 16M views and counting, and sold out — but we're finally back in stock!

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