Interview with Keith Davitt of CatFountains Etsy Shop
I’ve been a landscape designer/builder for most of my life, I’ve written four books on landscape design and numerous articles for trade and consumer magazines. I teach landscape design and give presentations throughout the country at botanic gardens and garden societies. Now I spend almost all my time in my shop making fountains for, as it turns out, a lot of really nice people.
Etsy Shop: CatFountains
All answers are copyright of Keith Davitt.
1. How did you get interested in cats? How old were you when you had your first kitty?
I was very late in coming to be a cat lover. About 7 years ago I was staying over at a client’s home in Brooklyn, New York and she and her two little girls were feeding a stray, several months old, Orange Tabby who would come and go. They never let him in the house but they gave him food and water, he would hang out for a few days, then disappear for a week. He had had a home in that neighborhood but my Bijou is a free spirit type (he’s an indoor outdoor cat here with free range in this quiet little town and he loves his life). He got out one day and his owners wouldn’t let him back in, so he roamed the streets, probably made friends here and there.
Bijou (now, they were calling him Halloween) took to me right away. Came up onto my lap and purred like a motor every time he came around me. My client and her daughters asked me to take him back to the country with me and I did. And I’m so glad I did. He is a great cat. A fabulous hunter (don’t know how many birds I’ve caught in my home and let free again, pretty much unharmed. I think they get out of his jaws when he goes through the cat door.) He’s affectionate, communicative and he seems to just absolutely love living here. He’s always finding new places to sleep out the day and he really enjoys snuggling with my wife at night. (I’m much too restless for him at night.). My wife has been a cat lover since childhood and has had many cats. She adores Bijou.
2. How did you discover Etsy? Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
My wife has a store on Etsy selling jewelry, called Fun With Silver. I had an online store called www.gardenhomeart.com but she suggested I go to Etsy, so I opened an Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/CatFountains.
3. Do you sell your products in a local store in your area?
No, all my sales are online.
4. Have you been successful at selling your products on Etsy? Have you always been successful, or did you end up getting a lot more traffic after being featured on a specific blog?
I have been successful and it is continually growing. I have been mentioned in a few blogs. That always helps. I donate fountains to animal shelters from time to time, sometimes for fund raisers and that usually gets me some more traffic.
5. Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?
Yes, and I actively solicit suggestions. One customer gave me a suggestion for a two tiered fountain and I gave her one of that design. She loves it and sent me pictures of it on her entry table. Now if anyone gives me an idea I use I will offer them a fountain of that design for the cost of shipping.
6. Have you thought of featuring a Ragdoll cat is some way? (Had to ask.)
Never thought of it but it’s a possibility.
7. Are you a one man show?
I pretty much am. I throw the pots, make the fountains (it took about 5 years to get the technology and techniques down to provide a fountain with a silent pump with the cord going out the bottom of the vessel yet is still removable). I do the copper work and the enameling on the fountains that have that. I do the photography and post the fountains.
8. Do you have a blog?
I have a blog on Artfire. My shop there is called indoorfountains.
9. Do you do custom ordering? Can someone return it if they don’t care for it?
Anyone who isn’t completely happy with their fountain may return it for any reason for a full refund. I do take custom orders. Allow about a month (takes time for the vessels to dry, get bisqued, glazed, fired again and turned into fountains.)
10. 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?
Yea, Bijou invented my cat fountains. I was making fountains because I love fountains (I’ve been a landscape designer most of my life and most of my gardens across the country have a water feature of some kind). Anyway, I was putting my fountains around the house, no intention of selling them and found Bijou drinking from them, all of them, way more than I ever saw him use his water bowl. It didn’t take much research to discover that feline hydration is a real problem and that cats don’t like standing water. Voila. My cat fountains were born and have been evolving since. It was only after that discovery that I began selling them.