Juno the Unicorn: Interview with Inventors Matthew and Jennifer Mills

Juno The Unicorn is a plush toy and a Thermal-Aid product that also provides pain relief to children and it made of natural materials.

Juno The Unicorn is a plush toy that also provides pain relief to children. A Thermal-Aid product, Juno is a heating /cooling pack made from all-natural materials which makes them easy to reuse. Juno is microwaveable and freezable and is made with a patented, doctor-developed process and a natural corn filling that is mold-resistant and will hold a steady temperature for up to 45 minutes. The materials used are washable, and the filling eliminates mold, fungi and foul odors often associated with other natural heating packs. The toy-turned-aid is available on Amazon for $19.95.

Juno was designed by a husband-and-wife duo, Matthew and Jennifer Mills. Matthew serves as the CEO of parent company Med-X and Jennifer Mills is the President of Med-X. Both Matthew and Jennifer spent years developing all-natural products for families and the Thermal-Aid line was the result of the couple’s teamwork. In fact, Matthew sourced the all-natural corn filling and Jennifer sewed each product!

The Mills recently discussed their experiences at the helm of the company and the invention of these cute toys that double as pain relievers.

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you initially get interested in the healthcare field and how did you come to be involved with Med-X?

The Mills: After many years within our finance careers, we came together to make a difference with a company that places an emphasis on positively impacting both health and ecology. Our passions center around our commitment to work with, and develop, all-natural and alternative solutions to outdated poisonous chemicals and harmful pharmaceutical products. Along the way, we’ve even partnered with physicians to validate and oversee the work we’re doing as part of that commitment.

MM: How did you meet one another and what is it like to work with your spouse?

The Mills: We met 28 years ago on St Patrick’s Day at an outdoor event. Working together is easy! We don’t work in the same departments, but we come together with management to detail our workload, and at the end of each day we go home and focus on our personal life.

MM: How did you decide to delve into the world of invention and how, exactly, did you come up with an idea to combine a toy with a soothing aid?

The Mills: With Thermal-Aid, our quest started when a family member experienced severe allergic reactions after using traditional heating packs that had developed mold in the interior filling. We set out to identify an all-natural corn-based filling that wouldn’t develop toxic mold. Once we found the perfect mix, Jennifer got to work sewing to make the individual heating pads. While we worked to get traction with the traditional heating packs, Jennifer had the idea to utilize the same product but for children, offering a more natural way to treat various aches and pains or to simply provide comfort. The first Thermal-Aid product for children was a line of stuffed bears, and then we expanded to various animals. And so, Thermal-Aid Zoo was born.

JunoMM: How are the toys in this line different from other thermal aids on the market?

The Mills: The first leading difference that sets our line apart, is that the unique all-natural corn filling holds its temperature for a longer period of time than any other heating-cooling pad. That differentiator extends to the children’s animal collection as well.  Doctors can also bill patient insurance carriers for the full cost of the products and provide them through FSA-coverage. The products have also gone through clinical trials, where participants in the group reported a 35.3% improvement in pain control, a 21.8% decrease in acetaminophen usage, and a 21.3% decrease in the use of NSAIDS.

MM: Juno is the latest release and is she also the only mythical creature in the line?

The Mills: When looking to add to our children’s line, we focused on our research to ensure we were creating something children would love. We quickly discovered unicorns are the most searched plush animal in the world. Knowing we wanted to meet that demand, we quickly got to work on the design of our unicorn, Juno. Since the release in late October, November and December are showing record sales in e-Commerce.

MM: What is some of the best feedback you’ve gotten about this toy line?

The Mills: We love hearing from parents and guardians how the line has helped children recover and feel better when they are sick. This is exactly what we were looking to accomplish when we started Thermal-Aid, and over these last few years we have certainly captured that sentiment, as 100’s of thousands of Thermal-Aid products have been sold over the years.

MM: What has been the best part of your jobs so far?

The Mills: The best part of our jobs has been knowing that thousands of people all over the United States are discovering and using our products regularly. We know we’re making a difference, by providing a quality product that’s proven to work, and offers an alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals and or chemicals.

MM: What other initiatives or projects are you working on right now?

The Mills: We’re looking to take Thermal-Aid’s parent company, Med-X, to the public market to access expansion capital while we continue to work on innovative new products to bring safer alternatives for the home and environment, globally.