Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Hi, Mom’s Choice readers! Today we’re excited to share with you an interview with Maggie Bermudez, one of our Mom’s Choice Award-Winning creators, authors, and illustrators. Maggie Bermudez is the creative mind behind the MCA award-winning JJ Pillowdoll and the co-author and illustrator of another MCA award winner, Pably and Me! JJ Pillowdoll is both a soft cotton pillow and a sweet doll all in one! The JJ Pillowdoll comes with a children’s book filled with infinite love poems. Pably and Me (Pably y Yo), Meet my Big Family is a fun and heartwarming family story about a widowed father raising his 9 children on his own and can be read in either English or Spanish. Keep reading to learn more about Maggie and her path to becoming an award-winning author, illustrator, and creator!
MCA: Hi Maggie! Thank you so much for joining us today and congratulations on your second Mom’s Choice Award! JJ Pillowdolls are personalized pillow dolls that are so adorable and unique. I’d like to start this interview with you telling us a little bit about yourself!
Maggie: I have an extensive and successful background in Fashion Design, Design and Development of apparel and toys, and children’s book authorship. I first started my professional career in the Fashion Industry with Bisou-Bisou as a Designer under the Founder Michelle Bohbot. I was then recruited by a toy company giant MGA Toys, the makers of the fashion dolls “The Bratz,” as the first in-house Fashion Designer. I opened my own Fashion/Desing Company; Maggie Bermuda & BeMe as purveyors of contemporary Tall Women’s fashions. I also worked as Director of Design and Development for Jakks Pacific in the Disney Princess Division. I managed and Directed the Design & Development of the Girls Division at Jada Toys, and was promoted to General Manager under the CEO, Jack Li. I am also the founder and Author of Chiky Rose/JJ Pillowdoll Co. As for my education, I graduated from International Fine Arts College in Miami, Florida with a Degree in Design!
MCA: That is a very interesting background! I used to love playing with Bratz dolls and all of their fashion accessories when I was younger. Tell us about the creation of Chiky Rose/JJ Pillowdoll Co!
Maggie: With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, I felt compelled to become active in some way and give back to my community. I began sewing and embroidering face masks for my family and friends and soon it became an avenue whereby I was able to donate face masks not only to my family and friends but also to national organizations that were in need as there was a scarcity of face masks available.
Born from this idea came the conceptualization to produce a toy that could bring hope, gratefulness, and love, produced at home in California. JJ Pillowdoll came to life with God’s blessing. The initials “JJ” have a double entendre meaning that has a spiritual undertone.
We also wanted JJ to appeal to every season and holiday gift-giving occasion so JJ is produced in every seasonal expression, the gift-giving opportunities are endless. Additionally, we wanted to offer a children’s book as well to reinforce the message of infinite love and hope in God.
MCA: What a sweet origin story! It’s wonderful to hear stories about innovation and imagination coming out of a very trying year. The JJ Pillowdoll absolutely delivers hope, gratefulness, and love in every single stitch! How many different versions of JJ Pillowdoll are there?
Maggie: JJ Pillowdoll is two in one, a soft pillow and a tenderhearted doll. “JJ” addresses every seasonal/holiday expression making it versatile and ideal for every gift-giving occasion, the opportunities are endless. Some examples are Christmas, Birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Anniversaries, Mother’s Day, etc.
The lettering is richly embroidered, machine washable, made in the US, and USPTO Trademark pending.
MCA: The lettering is truly something beautiful and adds a great touch to the pillow doll. Tell us about the children’s book Infinite Love Poems that comes with the JJ Pillowdoll!
Maggie: The Infinite Love Books is a collaboration with my friend Maricela Escobedo. Both Maricela and I have a God-given passion to make the world a better place for children. We want to influence children to be more loving, kind, and grateful so that the world can become a better one.
MCA: Why was important for you to spread the message of teaching kids to be “thankful for all” and to “Spread the Love” with the JJ Pillowdoll?
Maggie: I live my life putting into practice the “Golden Rule” do on to others as you would like others to do to you. With this in mind – Love, Gratitude, Compassion, and Kindness are part of my daily life and I want to propagate this through my work.
MCA: What has been the most popular JJ Pillowdoll you have sold so far?
Maggie: The red/white – Love You JJ Pillowdoll has been the best seller as the version that was submitted to the Mom’s Choice Award panel and the recipient of the Gold Medal. We also produce an Avocado-themed expression for our local area, as we live in a city named Fallbrook, the “Avocado Capital of the World,” that does well in supermarkets and boutique shops.
MCA: I love both of those, so cute! What is next for JJ Pillowdoll?
Maggie: My husband Robert manages our sales and is tasked with growing our sales and distribution. We are currently seeking an entertainment company to partner with our efforts and help us grow the JJ Pillowdoll brand by the use of animation/cartoon content.
We are committed to donating 10% of our net profits to a non-profit children’s organization. We have teamed up with our local Toy Village to donate JJ Pillowdolls to foster children. As we grow the brand we plan to continue to partner up with various non-profit organizations such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
MCA: That is an amazing mission and one we can definitely relate to here at MCA! Thank you for a great interview, Maggie.