It's becoming the "Halloween of Christmas," and at the forefront of it all are three friends from Northwest Indiana who are witnessing their fun blog idea from a few years ago turn into one "ugly" little empire.
UglyChristmasSweaterParty.com was founded by Adam Paulson and Kevin Wool, of Crown Point, and Brian Miller, of St. John. "Team Ugly" is celebrating its second Christmas selling a gaudy product by the truckload.
"We went from a small, 1,000-sweater company last year to 10,000 this year," said Paulson, 29. "Next year is going to be out of control. It's like feeding piranhas."
They've outgrown operating the company from Miller's basement and next year are looking at warehouse space and employees.
"Most companies take years to be profitable," Paulson said. "We were literally profitable on day three."
The men no longer acquire most of their sweaters by combing and clearing out thrift stores. Because their success has spawned competitors, Paulson won't give away the secret, but it seems a supplier has been found and it's not uncommon for a semitruck to unload a batch of sweaters at the St. John home.
Ugly Christmas sweater parties are becoming more mainstream, and while Team Ugly admits to not inventing the phenomenon, the owners definitely have driven it to its current point, Paulson said.
"We didn't start it, but we made it better," he said.
The threesome are definitely the go-to guys when it comes to wearing the ugly Christmas sweaters or throwing a party to celebrate them. On Christmas morning they will be featured, for the second consecutive year, on Fox News. They also will be featured as a national campaign Christmas Day on livingsocial.com and have signed a book deal with Abrams Publishing.
Their sweaters even were bought to use in the next "Harold and Kumar" movie that features a plot revolving around Christmas.
Wool, 28, said movies and books are nice, but they hope to develop more partnerships with other websites and companies.
Miller, 28, credits social media with much of their recent success.
"Eighty percent of our traffic still comes from search engines, but social media has quickly spread the word about these parties and of us," he said.
Their Facebook page has nearly 2,000 followers who often have a chance to win a sweater or witness Wool having a pumpkin pie thrown at his face.
For more information, visit http://www.uglychristmassweaterparty.com.