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'It's been nuts': McFarland family makes, sells iPad stands to help with virtual learning

'It's been nuts': McFarland family makes, sells iPad stands to help with virtual learning

Little Foxx Co 091420 06-09162020070956

The Domack family works together to build iPad and laptop stands for students in the community.

On the first day of virtual school this fall, Adam Domack and Jenna Dean tried to help their four sons through the three-and-a-half hours of instruction on their iPads.

The instruction wasn’t their biggest challenge.

“Trying to prop up everybody’s iPad stands was madness,” Domack said. “We’re leaning it up on boxes of garbage bags and leaning it up on centerpieces on the table. Doing that for three-and-a-half hours was madness.”

Domack, who works in construction and remodeling with his brother, decided to create a prototype of a stand to solve the problem.

“It worked out really well, so we made it for the kids,” he said. “Then my brother wanted some. Then my mom said I should make a post and see if anyone else would want them, too.”

His mom was right. The McFarland family, which is creating the stands together and learning lessons about business, marketing and saving money along the way, sold its 100th stand on Thursday night.

“It’s been nuts,” Dean said.

['It's still a big day': MMSD students, families navigate unprecedented first day of school]

They split the steps of making the stands among the six of them, with each of the kids (Izak, Anakin, Mason and Caleb) taking part. At first, they were staining the wooden stands as the final step, but they recently added a “paint-your-own” option that “has really been taking off,” Domack said.

Domack said the process takes about three hours to make a batch of 24. Stands cost $10 each, with the paint-your-own versions at $15, including the paint kits.

With 125 likes on its Facebook page, the Little Foxx Construction company, as the family decided to call it, is gaining popularity and already thinking of other products they can create. Domack said cell phone stands with wood left over from the iPad products are among their plans, along with a wooden candy dispenser. They’ve also made one custom order for a Chromebook to sit higher up on a desk so far, and Domack said they’ve gotten some interest in more of those.

Mason Domack, 13, called the business “epic.” Once the stands are completed, the family leaves them in the driveway on a table with a jar set out for money.

"When (customers) show up, they’re so happy,” Dean said. “So we all sit out on the front porch and we’ll have a pickup time.”

[Photos: Back to (virtual) school]

It’s been a great teaching opportunity for the parents, who had created “dream boards” earlier in the pandemic with each family member posting five things they wanted to do, achieve or purchase in the next five years. At first, it was a way to “plan something out for the kids to look forward to.” Now, it’s an easy reminder for the kids of what they can save money for.

“Whatever doesn’t go back into making the pieces, we are putting aside and saving up toward their dream boards,” Domack said. “That’s something fun and something they can work to achieve. It gives them the sense of pride and joy in everything they’re doing.”

He’s glad his family is able to use their skill set and space in a workshop to help others.

“It’s so fulfilling,” he said. “More than anything we’re just having a lot of fun doing it.”

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Scott Girard is the local k-12 education reporter at the Cap Times. A Madison native, he joined the paper in 2019 after working for six years for Unified Newspaper Group. Follow him on Twitter @sgirard9.

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