Merrimac Dillion

Mar 25 2024

by Katelyn Whelan

In the early 1980’s, Merrimac began her career in her native city of New Orleans in hotel marketing and catering sales. Her first positions were with the Brennan family at Commander’s Palace and the multi-unit boutique hotel company, Century Management Corporation.

Shortly after completing EMBA classes at Tulane University, Merrimac moved to Dallas to join the Trammell Crow Company as Director of Public Relations for The Dallas Apparel Mart where she remained for 3 years. During that time, they established the Dallas Fashion Awards and the Guest Designer programs, both which continue today.

In 1986, she was vice president of GO MAGAZINES, a New Orleans-based visitor publication, where she assisted in the national expansion effort and the eventual sale of the magazine. After the sale, Merrimac moved to New York City and became the public relations and marketing director for Doral Hotel and Resorts overseeing the marketing for 3200 hotel rooms and nine restaurants. During that time, she assisted in the planning, opening and marketing of two new hotel projects and four restaurants.

During this time in New York, Merrimac was successful in publishing two books: The 50+ Travel Guide (Doubleday/St.Martin’s Press) and The Real Life Guide for the Second Time Bride (Bounty Press).

Moving to Germany with her husband, she became fluent in the German language and then began a consulting firm to assist U.S.-based firms with their European marketing and special events efforts.

Returning to New Orleans in 1993, Merrimac joined a local multi-unit franchisee of Arby’s as vice president of development, where she oversaw the marketing and development efforts for a four state 30-unit franchisee.

She then transitioned into the Advertising Agency business where she became a partner in Keating Magee Advertising and Public Relations and oversaw the daily operations of a AAAA (4A’s) $30 million dollar agency. During this time, she and her partner began building The Curtain Exchange Franchise Company where she eventually moved full time until such time she sold out with more than 24 franchises established.

In 2008, Merrimac Dillon began working on the concept of The Pillow Bar, with the intention of providing herself and others with custom made down filled pillow. Having struggled to find her own “perfect pillow”, she was seeking to provide consumers with a unique luxury product that also offered immediate gratification and personalization. Her goal was to change the way consumers purchase pillows. No longer someone else’s idea of “soft, medium or hard”, but purchased by the sleep style and size of the purchaser. Working with various engineers, designers, chiropractors and neurosurgeons, over the course of 14 months, The Pillow Bar came to fruition and was introduced onto the market in January of 2008. The Pillow Bar now has hundreds of  retail store partners, designers and a variety of catalog and hospitality customers; to include notables such as Neiman Marcus, Wynn Casino and The Pierre Hotel. Merrimac has appeared on the Today Show, QVC and a variety of National Television Shows to share her expertise in supply chain management, entrepreneurship and marketing.

Dillon has been recognized by many publications such as; the Wall Street Journal as “10 most innovative businesses”, D Magazine as “Best of Big D”, Whoopi’s Favorite Things, Chicago Tribune Best, San Francisco Chronical as “Best products” and Dallas Business Journal. Merrimac was also named by the Dallas Business Journal as a “2016 Women in Business” award winner.

In 2021, Dillon sold the majority interest in The Pillow Bar to a Dallas family and continues her involvement as a consultant. In 2024, she established DRI consulting (Direction, Resources & Insights) where she offers her four decades of experience to other entrepreneurs looking for the next steps in building or selling their businesses.

Merrimac  is a board member for Camp John Marc (, and has served as a volunteer for The Hockaday School , The Texas American Saddlehorse Association and the Veritex Bank Women in Business mentor program.

The Pillow Bar has been awarded:
2008 Best of Big D by D Magazine
2009 Best Innovation by Wall Street Journal
2014 Graduate Goldman Sachs 10,000 small businesses
2015 Finalist ICON Awards
2016 Women in Business Award by Dallas Business Journal
2016 Gold Medal ADDY Award for Television excellence
2017 Oprah’s Magazine summer picks for The Pillow Bar
2017 Torch Award for Ethics Finalist Better Business Bureau
2018 Oprah’s Christmas list


Katelyn Whelan View More Blog Posts from this Author

Katelyn is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a dual degree in Marketing & Visual Communication Design. Settling in her hometown of Savannah, GA, she has spent the past 5 years building a career working with female owned small businesses. From events to retail, she has learned the art of translating ideas into action. Specializing in digital marketing, she seeks to bring the passion of her clients to life through the power of social media & e-commerce. She is the digital arm of a design firm founded with her two sisters, The Whelan Girls.

When she is not working, you can find her at the beach. She loves spending time with her family and can whip up a killer batch of chocolate chip cookies.

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