MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WMTV) Business is hot for Moo Muffs and it's because of these early winter temperatures. It's been nearly 10 months since NBC15 first introduced you to these adorable calves in ear muffs. The local invention is now a global sensation.
Moo Muffs are ear muffs for calves to prevent frostbite. Holly Poad, the creator, a Lone Rock farmer, has since moved the production operation out of her aunt's embroidery shop and to a manufacturing facility in Milwaukee to keep up with the global demand. She now has distributors in South Dakota and Japan.
Holly Poad, co-creator of Moo Muffs, could barely keep up with the demand this past spring as the polar vortex made it difficult for farmers to protect their newborn calves. She said small calves' ears are susceptible to frostbite. Farmers want to protect them not only for the animals general welfare, but because most sale barns will dock the price of the animal.
"It's kinda strange to think that we're getting calf ear muffs made by the hundreds," said Poad.
In order to keep up with the global demand, she and her aunt enlisted the help of a Milwaukee manufacturer. This June, she began talks with Jonco Industries and by Sept. a team of four professional sewers took over.
"They are more unified and professional looking now," said Poad. "It's probably because my cutting skills weren't one hundred percent," she laughed.
To put it into perspective, her aunt could make a pair in about 20 minutes. The team of sewers can produce a pair in just minutes.
Mauricio Barboza is the director of business development at Jonco Industries. He and his team work with about 300 small business owners to help bring their products to life.
"[Moo Muffs] was one of those shocking ones," said Barboza. "We just saw it as a new challenge and we said 'Yes, we can make it happen.'"
At a rate of about 350 Moo Muffs made a day, Poad is shipping them out just as fast.
"The website just got launched two weeks ago now and there have been so many views and orders off of that," said Poad. "It's really taken off."
People from Germany, Australia, South Africa and China have all expressed interest in this Wisconsin-made product.
Even though Poad is having the items manufactured in Milwaukee, she still ships from her farm in Lone Rock. She also has distributors in South Dakota and Japan.
When Yuusuke Tabata with Tabata Corporation reached out to Poad from Japan, she said she was skeptical at first.
"He contacted me and it was all in Japanese. I had to literally use Google translate," said Poad.
Once she received payment, she sent him 100 Moo Muffs to sell in to Japan farmers. Poad described his business as a farm supply store that works primarily with dairy farmers. Originally, Tabata wanted a thousand, but he wanted to make sure the design worked well with cattle in Japan, according to Poad.
Looking ahead, Poad said she wants to keep Moo Muffs manufactured in the U.S.; however, she is working on getting distributors in Canada as well as Fort Atkinson.
Since she launched out of her aunt's embroidery shop in Lone Rock, Poad said she's sold more than a thousand to farmers around the globe.