Interview with Laura of IncredibleCat Etsy Shop
The idea of inventing shred-proof luxury cat furniture was a long held dream of mine and I was often adapting pet store models and tearing them apart to try out my ideas. When I met my partner, Greg, about 7 years ago, and he told me he could only date a woman who loved cats, I knew my shred-proof luxury cat condos were just around the corner. Greg was a self-employed engineer at the time and I was a mom raising my teenage daughter and three cats, and running a successful eBay business. About a year later we started building our faux fur custom cat condos and cat beds in our workshop attached to our home in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Etsy Shop: IncredibleCat
1. How did you get interested in cats? How old were you when you had your first kitty?
I’m from a family of cat lovers. I think it’s an inherited gene! The only time I lived without a cat was when I was in the Peace Corps in Swaziland and even then, a kitty eventually came to live with me..
2. How did you discover Etsy? Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
We had been selling our cozy cat furniture on IncredibleCat.com for a few years when my nephew, a marketing expert, told me I needed to get on Etsy. I was so excited when I checked it out. What a wonderful venue for crafters and artists!
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3. Do you sell your products in a local store in your area?
We get offers from around the country all the time, but we would need to hire help and move to a larger location. It’s been a wonderful home based business and we’re not ready to give that up.
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?
Etsy has been great and really started taking off after we got some positive feedback. Selling our organic catnip helped us initially get sales and feedback to give customers confidence to make a larger purchase.
We are often in people’s treasuries and have been on Etsy’s home page once and that helps as well. Being on Etsy also often puts us on the first or second page of google when people search using terms such as Luxury Cat Condos, Custom Cat Trees, and Designer Cat Beds.
5. What’s special about your product?
It’s Shred-proof – cats can’t get their claws into the faux fur to shred it and our posts are made from polyrope, which takes years to show wear.
It’s Modular – everything is interchangeable, rotates, and pieces can be added on later.
It’s Beautiful – people love having cat furniture they can display in their living room.
6. Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?
Yes – our second year in business we made a great design change suggested by a customer that kept buying our cat condos, attached together, and made a cat castle. More recently a customer needed a larger bed for her huge Maine Coon so we designed an octagonal bed and added it to our cat furniture models.
7. Have you thought of featuring a Ragdoll cat in some way? (Had to ask.)
We have been told by Ragdoll breeders that our rescue cat, Otie, is part Ragdoll. He is the sweetest cat we have ever owned! We also have a customer that sent great photos of her Ragdolls helping her put their new cat condo together.
8. Are you a one wo/man show?
I’m actually the owner of IncredibleCat.com. Greg designed our modular system and the machines I use for making the posts and beds. He also helps me cut batches of wood parts. Greg’s owns VisionImprovementCenter.com, a site that helps people improve their vision naturally. A few years ago when I was less busy, I helped Greg write a book that he sells with his Vision CD programs and I occasionally help him put on workshops. We need to write a book about successfully working together!
9. Do you have a blog?
No, I have more fun building our cat furniture. Maintaining both sites gives me more than enough computer time.
10. Do you do custom ordering? Can someone return it if they don’t care for it?
Custom ordering is what we are about. You choose the faux fur and we’ll build your cat furniture. Our shop at www.Etsy.com/Shop/IncredibleCat offers a few of our more popular cat condos models and cat beds. Our main website, www.IncredibleCat.com, has over 50 models to choose from and a design-your-own cat condo page.
Returns are always welcome, though they are extremely rare.
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?
My favorite story is of a woman in NYC who wrote and sent photos of her cats having a play date on our cat furniture with another cat. We have great pics of two Ragdoll customers helping “mom” put their new cat tree together.
Last year we ran into a customer from Wyoming who had owned one of our cat trees for three years. She stretched her arms up to the sky and said, “It’s the greatest cat furniture I’ve ever owned and it still looks as good as the day I bought it!” It’s a great visual I can’t get out of my head!
We also have many cat breeders who have our cat furniture in their breeding rooms and in 5 years the breeders still tell us our furniture is always covered with cats, looks great, and has not shredded. What great cat testers.
If you decide to place an order, please let us know your cats’ names and a bit about them. It’s fun tot think of them while I’m making their cat condos. And it’s always so fun for us to hear back from customers!
Are you a seller on Etsy? Do you sell products related to cats? If so, please contact us with interest in being interviewed for our site.