Collin Morikawa looks great walking down fairways in his Adidas and TaylorMade hat. To get a feel for the No. The headcover that he wears on his 3-wood is a great way to get a feel for the No. 4 player in the world. After his 2019 Barracuda Championship win, he kept the club warm with a generic plush Chocolate Lab that had the name of his girlfriend, Palmer, embroidered on it.
He has become a ringer for the couple’s Instagram-famous Goldendoodle, Koa. Cuddle Clones, a Louisville-based company that makes custom headcovers is responsible.
“Morikawa’s representative reached out to us to establish a formal agreement. We discussed the details and decided that it was not worth it from a cost standpoint, but he is still using it.” Adam Greene, chief marketing officer at Cuddle Clones and co-founder of Cuddle Clones, said that he received it the week before the Masters and has used it in every tournament since.
Peter Uihlein, a Korn Ferry Tour player, has also been known to decorate his clubs with headcovers that pay tribute to his furry friends, Siberian Huskies. These covers were made by the same company. He would swap them from week to week depending on how he performed: “I didn’t drive the ball last weekend that well with Breya, so Bagger is this week’s one to go,” he once joked.
Handmade plush headcovers are more expensive than mass-produced generic ones. Cuddle Clones examines pet owners’ photos to identify every wrinkle and facial characteristic. It takes eight weeks for orders to be delivered. However, the company offers expedited services for an additional $169 fee. Every sale contributes a portion to shelters and animal welfare.
We’ve made all kinds of animals, including snakes, spiders, and reptiles. Greene says that a headcover for a sloth was made after one from Zoo Miami.
Horses are the biggest challenge in headcover design for Cuddle Clones, and they rank third on their leaderboard after cats and dogs. Because of their large muzzles, it is difficult to place them on a golf ball. However, they can be viewed clearly enough so that the golfers can see all the clubs in their bags.
Although plush stuffed animals remain their most popular product to date, the second-most successful category is golf headcovers. They are pushing for the top spot.
Greene states that while there are only so many people who play golf, the truth is that there are tons of pet owners. He adds that while the plush stuffed animal has a larger market, segmentation-wise, the golf headcover makes sense all year (spring, summer, and fall) when most people are playing golf, as well as during the gift-giving season in winter.
Cuddle Clones was born in a University of Louisville classroom. Greene and Jennifer Williams, his co-founder, were both students in the school’s Integrative Master of Business Administration program. Williams was at that time an actuary for PricewaterhouseCoopers, while Greene was a digital marketer for Humana.
Williams presented the idea of replica stuffed animals of pets during a class exercise. Greene saw great potential in the idea and approached Williams after class. The pair agreed to work together.
They started competing in student pitch competitions that were similar to NBC’s Shark Tank. __S.34__ The funds were used to start-up expenses, including product development and market research to determine the public’s interest and to establish a price point.
“The first two samples were terrible. These beanie babies looked like they were made by kindergarteners. Greene says it took us two years to get the product right so we could finally go to market.
Initial plans were to use a third-party manufacturer and tap the expertise of a plush animal specialist to make the product. Although this worked well during prototyping, it proved difficult to find a partner who would make custom orders. They were already set up for mass production. They decided to pivot and set up their own manufacturing plant in China. From there, they assembled a small team consisting of seamsters and designers. This has grown tenfold.
We couldn’t have grown so quickly if we didn’t make a big investment. So, starting small was the best option. It has been a blessing in disguise since then because we are now completely vertically integrated and can control our own costs,” Greene states.
Cuddle Clones had $3.5 million in top-line revenue in 2018 and Greene says they have more than doubled this annual revenue each year since. Cuddle Clones’ private market value is $10 million based on the last round of funding.
Partnering with a PGA Tour pro may be possible if they keep growing at their current rate. Greene would love to partner with Justin Thomas, whose dog Franklin frequently appears on his Instagram.
He’s young enough to prove that the investment was worthwhile. He seems to enjoy being front and center at the PGA. I believe he would make a great ambassador. We also have a connection because he is from Louisville.