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Summer 2017

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From ‘pillow king’ to foot-care tycoon

Dr. Leonard Feldman. Before enrolling at Palmer, Dr. Feldman served in the U.S. Army from 1955 to 1957.
Leonard Feldman, D.C.

Leonard Feldman, D.C., Davenport ’63, had no idea a visit from a supplies salesperson to his Brooklyn, N.Y., clinic would change his life.

“He came to my office with an orthopedic pillow and asked me what I thought about it. I had one of my patients try it. She was delighted with the product but said there were a few things she’d want to change to improve it.”

Dr. Feldman asked his aunt, who used to work in the garment industry, to make a pillow with the specified changes.

Some of the wide array of PROFOOT products.
Some of the wide array of PROFOOT products.

“When I showed it to the supplies salesperson, he said, ‘How much are they?’ I asked how much the other pillow was and tacked on 50 cents. He ordered 50 pillows on the spot, then came back in four weeks and ordered 50 more. Another salesperson came and asked to purchase pillows. I realized this was something people really liked.” Dr. Feldman eventually became known as the “pillow king.”

Thus began the business that evolved into PROFOOT®, Inc., which now is second only to Dr. Scholl’s in the footcare product arena. Dr. Feldman is the CEO and his son, Daniel David Feldman, runs the company.

From his first successful orthopedic pillow, Dr. Feldman added other products and eventually started a mail-order business and then a catalog company, which sold a variety of items, including foot-care products. It eventually grew to employ 150 people and sell hundreds of thousands of products each year.

The foot-care products were the biggest sellers, Dr. Feldman says. “I went to area drugstores to see if they carried footcare products. They didn’t. My idea was to sell products Dr. Scholl’s didn’t sell and market them in ways they didn’t.”

PROFOOT was started 26 years ago and grew rapidly. Today, PROFOOT products are sold in every major drugstore chain in the U.S. and they’re the number-one foot-care product in Mexico and Latin America. Products include full-length insoles, inserts, and corn, callus and anti-fungal items.

“Dr. Scholl’s is a billion-dollar company, but we manage to compete by being fast on our feet and we’re willing to take risks they aren’t,” Dr. Feldman says. “PROFOOT has become the No. 2 company to Dr. Scholl’s in all major markets.”

He’s proud the company is still headquartered in Brooklyn. “Brooklyn’s been good to us and we want to give back to the community.” He’s also committed to giving back to his alma mater. Dr. Feldman is a Palmer Presidents Club member and has given a number of significant gifts to the College. “I’ve told everyone I meet that my success goes directly back to the training I received at Palmer College. I learned a lot at Palmer and feel I owe them something. I urge my fellow alumni to put Palmer on their list of charitable contributions.”

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