Interview with Kathy Bennett of WraptCats Etsy
I was fortunate enough to find my true companion in life. A friend through thick and thin. I didn’t know we were going to be bound together the way we were, but she did. She insisted. I found Jesse and her siblings in my shed when they were 3 weeks old. Her mother had disappeared. So, I took them in. I raised them, and found good homes for her brother and sister. But Jesse stayed with me.
She followed me everywhere. She even learned how to turn doorknobs and open doors so she was never left behind. Soon, if she wasn’t by my side, I felt incomplete.
She passed away on February 15th, 2010. She spent her last Valentine’s Day with me, plus 19 other wonderful years. I miss her terribly. In order to honor her memory I started making cat beds. She loved sleeping on my wool sweaters. So, each time I make a cat bed, it is made with love and intention. Something that will last the lifetime of your pet with wishes of good health and happiness.
For the love of Jesse.
Etsy Shop: WraptCats
All answers are copyright of Kathy Bennett.
I started here at Etsy as kyassib.etsy.com in 2007. I changed the shop over to Wrapt.etsy.com in 2009. Although the kyassib name has great sentimental value to me, I thought Wrapt might be a little easier to remember…….especially if you are looking for a wrap or scarf. Now I have opened WraptCats.Etsy.com specializing in hand knit wool felted cat beds.
1. How did you get interested in cats?
I cannot remember ever not loving animals. But I guess that the first cat I had as an adult, in my own home, was the “catalyst” for getting more involved. His name was Bill, one of the sweetest chocolate point Siamese. Sometimes, until you are on your own, you don’t give true consideration to what goes into raising an animal. There is so much to learn.
How old were you when you had your first kitty?
The first cat I remember as a child was a calico I named Jewel. Jewel, sadly, was quite aloof. She only came around to be fed. I was probably around 8 or 9 years old at the time. We lived in a very rural area. Our neighbor had cats all around here home. She was an older lady living on her own. The cats loved her, but unfortunately she did not love the cats. She would complain whenever they would come and rub around her legs. I thought the cats were being so sweet to her. But she complained she couldn’t stand it when they did that. So, as a child, I thought my neighbor lady was kind of odd. I would have loved that kind of attention from a cat.
2. Please describe your creative process.
The first part of the process for me is deciding whether or not to do a mosaic pattern. Or if I should do a piece that is a variation of solid colors. Choosing colors is next. I try to visualize how it will look as a finished piece.. So often my imagination does not even come close to the beautifully vibrant colors that the yarns possess. While I am knitting I try to think about the cat who will sleep in this bed, and hope he or she somehow knows that good wishes are cast into every stitch. I can’t wait to completely finish a pieceto see how it looks. I am always amazed that two sticks and some yarn (plus several hours of working it) can turn into something so beautiful.
3. How did you discover Etsy?
It seems so long ago. I think I was looking at a local newspaper and saw an ad for handmade soaps. Once I typed the address into the computer and started really looking around I was hooked. It was quite like Hotel California……you can checkout anytime you like, but you can never leave.
Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
I have sold some knitting on Ebay, but after finding Etsy I have never gone back.
4. Do you sell your products in a local store in your area?
Not at this time.
5. Have you been successful at selling your products on Etsy?
I guess that depends on how you measure success. For me, I have been very pleased with Etsy. The community at Etsy is unlike anything else I have ever experienced. The people are amazing. I am proud and honored to be here.
Have you always been successful, or did you end up getting a lot more traffic after being featured on a specific blog?
Wrapt has been consistent with holiday sales. The primary function of Wrapt is hand knit accessories like scarves and shawls. Unfortunately these items are seasonal. I introduced the cat beds last summer, and they did help fill the void between seasons. The one thing that did noticeably increase traffic to the shop was a mention at ModernCat.net.
6. Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?
If you mean has anyone ever said, “Hey, why don’t you make this?” Well, no. But I have come up with a new line of cat toys. I always send a little something extra (lagniappe) with a purchase. I have had a few returning customers lately that I have made felted toys for. The designs for them are being tweaked and they will be available soon at WraptCats.
7. Have you thought of featuring a Ragdoll cat is some way? (Had to ask.)
If I knew a Ragdoll to feature I would. Maybe someone can hook me up. =o)
8. Are you a one wo/man show?
Yes. One woman, 6 cats……..3 who model, 3 who don’t know how to sit still and stay.
9. Do you have a blog?
No, not at this time.
10. Do you do custom ordering?
Honestly, I can, but I prefer to just let the creative process take place on it’s own.
Can someone return it if they don’t care for it?
Yes, as long as it is in original, new condition.
11. Can you share a story with us behind any of your products that you especially enjoyed working on? Maybe because of the story behind the kitty?
I am really enjoying working on this new line of cat toys. They involve a fringing process that is just way cool. I am getting into color combinations that replicate real fur.