State natives tend high-end cows of men behind Manolo Blahnik USA
By KATHERINE M. SKIBA
Harrisburg, Pa - She's a kept woman - a showgirl - living large on the East Coast thanks to the fortunes of Manolo Blahnik shoes.
It must be said she's never worn a pair of the mile-high stilettos.
She's a cow.
Vivian, a 9-year-old Holstein, makes her home at a showcase cattle farm begun in recent years by the two men who own Manolo Blahnik USA.
She took a blue ribbon Thursday at a dairy show here and visits Madison Oct. 2 to 6 for the World Dairy Expo, which bills itself as "the international meeting place for dairy."
That a wildly successful shoe merchant - whose product was made famous thanks to TV's "Sex and the City" - found a Midas touch in a different realm is simple, as he tells it.
Fifty-three-year-old George Malkemus, president and co-owner of Manolo Blahnik USA, said it's about a passion, hiring the right people and listening to them.
Some of his top people are Wisconsin-bred experts who were reared on the state's dairy farms and educated in its schools.
"Passion becomes the first thing in both of my businesses, whether it's a new collection I'm selling to Neiman-Marcus or talking to Ernie about a bull or selling semen," Malkemus said Friday (continued...)