I have been interested in BlanketID for some time as I think it is superb idea – they are ID tags for pets that never expire. In other words, if you move a lot or if you just want to have the most information available possible if your pet gets lost then Blanket ID is the way to go. When you buy an ID, you register it online and enter all your information and then put the ID tag on your cat’s collar. The ID comes with a special code and if your kitty is found, then the finder just has to go to the Internet and enter your cat’s ID code to find out your information and get in touch with you. But it doesn’t stop there. When you report your pet missing, there are email broadcasts with photos to local SPCA, shelters, hospitals, and other local BlanketID members. Genius.
I love products like BlanketID that have thought of everything, so I wanted to pry a little more and see what else I could find out from Cate.
Thank you, Cate, for the interview.
1. How old were you when you got your first pet? Was it a cat or a dog or something else?
My family traveled a lot and we lived in many different countries, so I was actually about 14 before I had my own pet, a miniature long haired dachshund called BoBo. We had several cats that didn’t belong to us, but lived in our garden.
2. How did you come up with the BlanketID name? Did it take you awhile to figure out what the name should be?
We wanted a name that was associated with comfort and security but also a name that would also reflect the idea that we had everything “covered”, in terms of the email broadcasts, the ability to print lost pet posters, the inclusion of medial details etc. Blanket seemed a natural choice.
3. You started in Canada, right? And when did you enter the USA market?
We manufacture our tags right here in British Columbia and thought that we would grow our business in Canada and ‘someday’ move into the USA. However, within 3 months of launching we had so much interest from the USA that we had to bring forward our plans to build a USA database and offer our service there too. We’ve been offering a North American- wide service since November 2009.
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4. What differences have you found from working in Canada and now in the USA? What challenges do you face that are the same and which ones are different according to identifying pets in the two countries?
I guess pet lovers are the same all over and there’s really no difference between Canada and the USA as far as our service goes – except perhaps that the USA has more kill shelters so things get a little more urgent. Our biggest challenge is getting people to realize the importance of using visible ID even if your animal has been microchipped. A microchip is a great ‘last line of defense’ but it needs someone to take your animal to be scanned, find the right scanner, and hope that your details are up to date at the chip registry. We’ve published a really enlightening article , it contains some staggering factual statistics that I think all pet owners should know about.
5. Where do the styles of your ID tags come from?
We work with a number of designers (who are friends) and closely watch the current trends for pet products. We want the tags to fit nicely with different collars.
6. What’s been your most effective way of marketing your ID tags?
We’ve been lucky enough to be featured in some great publications and we get a great deal of word-of-mouth publicity from our members. We also run a special affiliate program for non-profit animal organizations and shelters. I would have to say that social media plays a huge part for us and I love being connected to like-minded animal lovers.
7. How come you decided to go with a rectangular design for the tags rather than circular, for example?
The rectangular format is much better for carrying our web address and blanketID number. It also makes us a little unique.
8. How heavy are your tags? They seem like they would be heavy for a cat to wear.
Not at all! Our tags weigh just 5 grams and are great for any size animal. Our two rescue cats wear them with ease. They are also waterproof, scratch resistant and noiseless.
9. Can you do custom orders for designs on the tags?
Great timing for this question! In January 2011 we will be expanding a special program called FundsForever. This program allows organizations to have their own custom design and elect for all of the funds raised from the sale of their tag and on-going memberships to be forever directed to their selected charity.
10. How do you choose what animals get help from the Blanket Fund for Animals?
It’s really difficult. There are so many worthy organizations and so many animals that need help. We try to allot funds based on members’ addresses but it’s hard to keep up with changing needs. We are hoping that our FundsForever program will help to better target some of our funds at a local level and make us aware of more organizations that could use our little bit of help.