Ceiba pillow stands out at New York home show

Community News & Features Feb 16, 2005 at 3:18 pm

Local businesswoman, Corie Laraya-Coutts, runs a company called Desalon International Inc. that manufactures and sells the Ceiba Pillow. Her product was recently recognized at the New York Home Textiles Show for its innovative features being an all-natural hypoallergenic fibre.

The Ceiba Pillow is made from the seedpod fibres of the oldest tallest tree in the rainforest called the Ceiba or Kapok tree and is currently in the spotlight as an alternative to pillows made with down, feathers and synthetics. Because of the Avian Influenza (bird flu) scare, retailers and consumers have expressed concern with down and feathers. Although, the Ceiba Pillow has the luxury of down feel, the product is used in its natural form and not mixed with other fill materials.

Desalon International has four main objectives. First, we recognized there is a need and a niche market for an organic, natural product. Secondly, from a health conscious perspective, the Ceiba Pillow is hypoallergenic. There are many people who have sensitivity to down, feather and synthetic materials. Third, we want to provide local employment to the indigenous people of the Philippines with the hope of re-establishing a new commodity in the national and international marketplace and last, we want to help rebuild the ecosystem.

Using Kapok pods helps to maintain the vanishing ecosystem in the rainforest. “And every kapok tree left standing is a step towards the preservation of the rainforest,” say Corie Laraya-Coutts. The Kapok/Ceiba tree is a native tree grown in tropical areas, like the southern part of thePhilippines and being in digenous to the area requires no chemical treatment. Our plan, as a company, is to rebuild the ecosystem by planting Ceiba trees in the marginal lands that aren’t arable.

When Desalon International Inc. decided to import and market the Ceiba Pillow in North America Ms. Laraya-Coutts saw that there was an opportunity to provide additional employment to the local farmer once rice-planting season was over. Corie says, “We purchase the pods directly from the farmer, who collects the pods. We then hire the wives and other family members to work at our manufacturing plant where the pods are processed.”

In order to ensure the workers harvesting the kapok are treated fairly a price is set according to the national price of rice commodity. This assures that the farmer is paid a fair price for his product. Desalon has been instrumental in re-establishing kapok as a commodity. Historically, kapok was a big commodity in the 1950’s but had lost its status when synthetics came on the market.

Presently, the Ceiba Pillow is only sold in Canada exclusively manufactured and distributed by Desalon International Inc., 6038 Erin Township C1, Orton, Ontario L0N 1N0. For more information, contact Desalon International Inc. @ 519.855.9592 or visit our website @ www.desalon.com or email us @ info@desalon.com

Right now, the Ceiba pillow is on a special offer — for every pillow sold, $10 will be donated to the Jeffrey Reodica Memorial Trust Fund. Jeffrey died last May in a Scarborough hospital after being shot by a Toronto police officer.