It’s been five years since Arizona brothers Michael and Brian Speciale debuted their wearable blanket, The Comfy, on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” With only a prototype in hand, the Cave Creek natives closed a deal with Barbara Corcoran in 2017.
Available in over 100 countries, The Comfy has since gone on to become the show’s third most successful product-launch. Earlier this year, the siblings had their own holiday: National Comfy Day.
The Registrar at National Day Calendar proclaimed the first National Comfy Day Feb. 20, 2021. The day marks the fifth anniversary of the product that went viral. It celebrates the patented wearable blanket and the importance of breaks, according to the brothers.
“We’re trying to get the word out there about The Comfy for sure, but it’s not just about the product. It’s an overall comfort day for everyone, whether you’re wearing your Comfy or not,” Michael said. “It’s just a holiday where you want to get comfortable and we want to let everybody know to take time for yourself and chill out a bit – and while you’re at it, hopefully you’re wearing your Comfy.”
The Comfy, sold across 5,000 retailers, has expanded to a range of products designed to “wrap everyone in a giant, warm hug.” The one-size-fits-all design, made from 100% polyester, combines a soft microfiber exterior with a luxurious, Sherpa-lined interior.
“We do think our product is special enough that it should have its own holiday,” Brian added. “It wraps the world in a big, warm, giant comfy hug and we love that people can experience that – especially in this day and age. We’re just coming out of the pandemic. It’s (National Comfy Day) is in February, in the middle of winter and it’s the coldest time of the year. It’s just the perfect time for someone to be wrapped up in some of our products.”
Aside from The Comfy Original, the company offers a variety of lines, including The Comfy College, featuring schools such as The University of Arizona and The University of Florida, The Comfy Characters, with cartoon-themed blankets like Spider-Man and Minnie Mouse, and The Comfy Jr.
The blankets range from roughly $40 to $70. A quarter-zip option is also available, as well as slipper socks.
“It’s not just a product, it’s a lifestyle. It’s the ultimate work-from-home uniform,” Michael expressed. “We were the first ones to come out with a truly wearable blanket that is closable in the back. In terms of competitors, every single one is a rip off or knock off. Ours is patented and we protect our product very heavily.”
His brother, Brian, echoed these sentiments and said the brand has seen an uptick in purchases since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everyone wants to be at home and be warm and comfy, and since it’s a wearable blanket, it allows you to get that warmth and comfort,” Brian said.
The “Shark Tank” success story stems from humble beginnings, however.
The brothers created Cozy Comfort Company LLC, in April 2017 while Michael was staying at Brian’s house during a time of turmoil.
“I was going through a tough time and a divorce, so my brother let me stay at his house,” recalled Michael, who ran a pool cleaning and repair business.
“One morning I got up and walked out of the living room, and my brother’s 7-year-old son, Saxon, was sitting on the couch. He was wearing one of my brother’s old hoodies, just a big sweatshirt from his dad, and he had his knees pulled in and the hood on. He was just bummed up sitting there on the iPad. We locked eyes and I said, ‘Wow, you look so warm and comfy,’ and the idea popped into my head right there.”
The brothers were soon invited to pitch their product on “Shark Tank” in Denver in May.
“I’m most proud of the fact that we went for it, whether we succeeded or not, we took action. That’s where everybody gets bogged down and that was not going to happen to us,” said Brian, who helms a TV production company. “We were not going to be the ones to have a great idea and were too scared to take action on it.”
While the dynamic duo expressed that “Shark Tank” has been great for business, it has not been the be-all-end-all.
Brian attributes the brand’s longevity to the sibling’s chemistry and bubbly social media presence. Videos of the founders demonstrating The Comfy quickly went viral, “to the tune of more than 100 million video views,” about a month after the show aired.
In 10 days, the product sold into more than 70 countries and was backordered for more than five months. Now, Michael and Brian are turning their attention toward transforming The Comfy into a fully fleshed out lifestyle brand.
“We truly want to turn The Comfy into a worldwide lifestyle brand, starting with our core product of The Comfy Original and moving it into all aspects of comfort, whether it’s normal blankets, bedding or anything that is comfortable,” Michael said.