New Year, New Blog! 2017
Life as an Intern March 01 2017
Just like any other high school junior, I was starting to feel overwhelmed with the idea of applying for colleges and entering into the “real world”. I had always had a summer job at a local restaurant but I was beginning to look into the possibility of an internship that would help my job experience stand out for those college applications. I contacted the local chamber of commerce who helped me find just what I was looking for – a paid internship with a local business, named Ogallala Comfort Company. After an interview with the owners, Herb & Karen Knudsen, I had found myself the perfect summer job!
My days with OCC consisted of a variety of tasks depending on the day. First, I had to learn about all the products and ventures of the company & familiarize myself with everything going on in the business. I had no idea the process it took to make these luxury bedding products! From picking the milkweed, to blending the Hypodown, ordering the bedding shells, hand-filling each item to fit the customers specifications, hand-sewing the tags, and packaging each order – and those were just the basics! There was much more that happened behind the scenes. Plus, at that time, the company was just beginning the process of marketing and selling their Milkweed Balm, which has since become a whole other segment of the company!
I helped conduct market research for our various products & tried to help find places or people that could help advance our sales. I also helped with our social media at the very beginning (I’m talking less than 300 likes!) and assisted our Sales Manager, Chanielle with other sales projects. I helped gather & design the elements for our booth that we were taking to trade shows that year, and also organized and cleaned the office, storage rooms, and store front. To this day I can thank the OCC for my box taping skills – as I helped package & ship items in production every day. As a high school student, I got to sit in on office meetings, listen to conference calls & learn the overall workings of a small business.
Above all, the best thing about working at OCC were the people. We had a small team back then and it was fun to work with, and get to know every one of them. They sent me off to college, kept up on Facebook, and some even came to my wedding just this last year. Bonus: luxury pillows as a wedding gift! J Also, they liked me enough to let me come back & work for them out of my home! I currently help as a social media assistant – helping with Facebook and handling daily Instagram posts.
So I may have set out to find just a summer internship, but I found much more than that. I found a company that cares about its employees & people that make you feel like you’re part of a family.
-- Blair Cissell
Dress Your Bedroom as You Dress Yourself. February 24 2017
The ever so lovely Peacock Alley Linens shared some Wednesday wisdom with us today from their founder, Mary Ella Gabler.
"It made sense to me that these women would want to dress their bedrooms as they dressed themselves: in natural fibers, simple silhouettes and classic colors. It was how I dressed and it was how I wanted to live."
If you're like most women, you put a lot of time, money, and effort into your wardrobe. It could be because we like our clothes to be comfy and cozy, because we wear them against our skin for 12+ hours a day, and what woman doesn't love a good compliment!? So why not treat yourself to these same luxuries when choosing your bedding? After all, we do spend 1/3rd of our lives sleeping in that bed!
By dressing your bed in Ogallala products, you are not only surrounding yourself in naturally hypoallergenic luxury, you are helping support and revive the Monarch butterfly population. How, you ask? Our luxurious Hypodown® products are made with 70% white goose down, and 30% Syriaca clusters (also known as Milkweed fibers). By responsibly collecting milkweed pods to make Hypodown®, we help preserve the native milkweed stands and create demand for milkweed products.
Do yourself, and the Monarch butterfly population, a favor and treat yourself to one of many Hypodown® products at Ogallala Comfort Company - www.ogallalacomfort.com.
For more information on the Monarch butterflies and our story, visit www.monarchflyway.com
-- Cassie Knoop
Vintage? February 07 2017
As much as we'd like to consider it "vintage", our company sign has been up for over 30 years and didn't quite age as well as we would have liked (I wish I could insert an emoji here). Designing our shiny, new signs was a lot of fun but once we returned to our showroom all bright-eyed and full of creativity, we knew that it needed some new life breathed into it as well.
Side note: all of this was decided while the bosses were traveling for the week. SURPRISE!
Being located in a rural, ranching community of 5,000 people, you can probably assume the bulk of our business is not in store. Instead, we shift our focus to maintaining a significant online presence and making sure your incredible Hypodown products are quickly out our door and into yours! Have I mentioned that we make everything to order? You won't find your product sitting on a dusty shelf here! You'll find it being carefully hand-crafted by the skilled members of our production team. You, our wonderful and faithful customers, sure keep us busy (thank you!), but who says we can't make time for a little wallpaper removal? Check out a little "behind the scenes" remodel in action and check back soon for the finished product!
-your Ogallala Comfort Company crew
Chief Dreamin' January 17 2017
What does milkweed have to do with luxury down bedding?? To the blind eye; probably nothing, but to the creative dreamer; everything. Chief Dreamer and Founder of Ogallala Comfort Company, Herb Knudsen, discovered the amazing qualities of milkweed fiber for bedding after ending his career with Standard Oil of Ohio (Sohio).
Sohio had a $2,000,000 research budget for special projects, and reached out to Herb to be their creative genius to develop alternative oil sources. This was the beginning of Herb’s connection with Milkweed. It wasn’t long before Kimberly-Clark of Wisconsin contacted Herb about his research. They had been interested in Milkweed for some time, but for different purposes. Sohio was in it for the oil and Kimberly-Clark wanted the Floss, or the silk-like fibers inside of the Milkweed pod. Through extensive testing, Kimberly-Clark found that Milkweed Floss tested high in warmth and absorption, as well as obtained hydrophobic, or waterproof qualities. This research project was short lived after Sohio was bought out by British Petroleum, who had no interest in many of the special projects Sohio had started.
After having his job eliminated with Sohio, Herb continued with the milkweed project on his own; discovering quickly that producing results as Herb Knudsen, rather than Sohio, was much more difficult. Though he encountered rough roads to his success, Herb never gave up. He knew that milkweed was much more valuable than just a weed farmers considered to be a pain in their crop fields.
For his continued research, Herb needed to grow milkweed; which was not a problem when he was with Sohio. He knew to be successful, he needed to find a location west of the 18” rain fall line. After asking around, he came up with the name Ralph Holzfaster, who had previously worked on a Chick Pea project with Sohio. Herb flew to Nebraska to meet with Ralph about growing milkweed. After much discussion, Ralph agreed to plant milkweed in a field of his where no other farmers could be disturbed by it. Naturally, this field seemed to be the target of many hailstorms and suffered much frustration, but eventually, the milkweed grew. Herb still lived in Cleveland, Ohio at this time and spent two years flying to Nebraska every other week to continue his research. Eventually, he move to Nebraska with his wife Karen, and their four children.
In 1987, Herb founded Ogallala Comfort Company after discovering Milkweed Fiber was comparable to down; actually Milkweed Fiber was better than down alone. He sought out several different down companies to share his research and propose that, instead of using 100% down in products, they blend the down with his Milkweed Fiber. This would create a higher quality product with a lower volume requirement. Many told him he was crazy, down was great on its own. He refused to feel defeated though and he kept going. He finally decided that he would make his own down comforters and pillows after the lack of interest from other companies. He trademarked the name Hypodown® because Milkweed Fiber was discovered to be hypoallergenic, more durable and more breathable – how AMAZING! It took Herb years of his time, mounds of his effort and perseverance, and a dream that most deemed “crazy”, but Hypodown® proves itself and has continued to grow throughout the 30 years of business. Now you know why Herb will always be our “Chief Dreamer”.
P.S. In case you’re wondering, yes, this is the title on his business card ;)
-- Marlee Waugh
New Year, New Blog! January 10 2017