A World-Changing Hammock

Loungers rejoice, then take a nap on this comfy yarn nest.

Joe Demin has created the job we all wish we had: Chief Relaxation Officer. That title sounds like it must come with a set of company embroidered pajamas and fuzzy slippers. In reality, Demin cofounded San Francisco-based Yellow Leaf Hammocks, which are handwoven in Thailand. In honor of National Hammock Day (July 22), we went straight to the king of kickback himself to find out how the world’s most life-changing chill-out tool also changed a country.

Why Thailand?

I was struck by the weavers and the village. While traveling there in 2010, I came across these hammocks that were so incredibly comfortable that I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I returned to the village in the mountains of northern Thailand to meet the weavers, who are part of an endangered tribe. I saw how weaving had improved their quality of life. And I wanted to connect them to “the nap-driven and lazy” (our words, not his). I started selling them, and it went really well. At first, we worked directly with 20 weavers. Now, it’s 200.

What makes them so comfortable?

The weavers use three and a half miles of yarn for a single hammock. Mayan hammocks, which have been called the world’s most comfortable, only use one or so miles. The Thai people have been making hammocks like this since the ‘90s. They also work with a textile engineer brought in by me. He works with them to develop even more cocoon-like weaves.

Do the names for your hammocks come from places with heavy hammock use?

They’re actually named after our favorite vacation destinations, like Big Sur and Sedona. It’s also about the look. For example, we named the Sedona hammock that because the red and orange coloring looks beautiful against the Arizona rocks.

Could we give up our beds? Are they that comfy? 

Actually, many people do that in South America. It’s just not as culturally accepted here. But from a comfort perspective, totally! You can even nap with someone else. These can hold up to 550 pounds.

How many hammocks do you have in your home?

We have a small apartment, so we only have one hammock hung. That said, there are plenty more in the closet.

Why CRO (chief relaxation officer)?

CEO just didn’t feel right, since we were starting a hammock company.

As CRO, what rule do you enforce?

Employees have to spend at least ten minutes a day in a hammock. Taking a break from the job is crucial for well-being.

Any hammock horror stories?

I’ve accidentally flipped out of many traditional hammocks. But the worst is that imprint some wide-weave rope hammocks will leave in your skin. I call it the waffle weave.

What are your plans for National Hammock Day?

We’ll probably do a team outing to Big Sur or Santa Barbara, with hammocks (of course), beach volleyball, and a bonfire.

The name Yellow Leaf came from a practice of the villagers, who built temporary structures out of bamboo sticks and green banana leaves. They would occupy these structures until the green leaves turned yellow.

Yellow Leaf Palm Trees

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