Interview With Randi Warhol Of Polydactyl Cat Toys Etsy Shop
Polydactyl (pol-ee-dak-tul) is an independent cat toy company owned by Philadelphia artist Randi Warhol. With every toy sold, Polydactyl will donate $0.25 to PAWS: the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society. Pet owners can choose what filling goes into their cats' toys: 100% organic catnip, or organic bamboo fiber filling. In the future, Polydactyl will be featuring toys that look like hash browns, fortune cookies with over 100 cat fortunes, and rice cereal treats. All toys are designed and created by Randi Warhol.
Etsy Shop: Polydactyl Cat Toys
1. How did you get interested in cats? How old were you when you had your first kitty?
My family has always been an “animal family.” I’ve been very familiar with cats and dogs since I was born. I took a special interest in cats. Being an only child, cats were my playmates. I often drew pictures of my cats, made things for them, and dressed them in doll clothes. I found that cats helped me with all of my creative processes. There is something so wonderful about working on an art project while your cat sits besides you and watches. My childhood home was never without a feline.
When I was about 4 or 5 years old, I was able to choose a kitten of my own. I chose a grey kitten with green eyes and white paws, and I obviously named her Mittens. Of all of the cats that I’ve lived with growing up, she wasn’t the one that tolerated all of the dress up and costuming. Instead, she loved to sit next to me while I worked on art projects. Very often she would run around the house with an art marker in her mouth. Mittens was such a sweet cat and she lived to the impressive age of 21.
2. How did you discover Etsy? Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
I have a lot of artsy friends, so I came across Etsy from people I know that use it. Now that the weather is nice, I’ll be able to sell my cat toys at flea markets and art shows.
3. Do you sell your products in a local store in your area?
Not yet, but it is a goal that I am working towards. We have many wonderful family owned pet stores in the Philadelphia area, and I’m eager to worth with them. Quite possibly this time next year I’ll be able to have my cat toys in stores.
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 just opened my shop on Etsy not too long ago, so I haven’t had too many sales, and this marks my first “cat toy interview.” It is interesting to see where my toys go. So far, they have found their way to the East and West Coast in the United States. As time progresses, I hope to have cats all over the world playing with my toys.
5. Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?
Lots of people give me ideas and I love that! I love listening to what people have to say. It makes me happy when cat owners tell me their cats’ likes, dislikes, how they play, etc. Hearing people talk about their cats with the enthusiasm that I often have is wonderful.
6. Have you thought of featuring a Ragdoll cat is some way? (Had to ask.)
At the moment, my polydactyl tabby, Elliott has been the only cat featured with my toys. I embrace all kinds of cats, and I certainly would incorporate a Ragdoll in my photos and toys in the future. A family member of mine has a Ragdoll. Though he is a little shy, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind being photographed.
7. Are you a one woman show?
Many people could look at me and say that I am a one woman show: I do all of my own designing, ordering, cutting, sewing and photography. But, as far as support goes, my friends and family are wonderful. I take my inspiration from everything in my life. Nothing is too big or too small to leave an impression on me. So while it may seem that I may do all of the work, the people in my life play a huge part in everything from the creative process to encouragement.
8. Do you have a blog?
While I don’t have a blog, I do have a Facebook Fan page for Polydactyl. Anyone is welcomed to become a fan to receive the latest news and updates on new toys and events.
9. Do you do custom ordering? Can someone return it if they don't care for it?
I am able to take bulk orders for all toys that I offer. I am unable to take personal requests to do specific toys that aren’t already offered by Polydactyl. It takes me a very long time to develop a toy from start to finish. However, I do listen to any ideas or opinions that friends or customers may have- I love doing that! I keep a list of all toy ideas suggested to me. As far as returns go, I take great pride in the toys that I produce. I give as much information as possible to make sure that the consumer is educated to the fullest extent about my products. If someone is unsatisfied with a toy, I welcome his/her feedback so we can reach a resolution together. Communication is very important to me when making a sale. I want the whole experience from start to finish to be a pleasant one.
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?
Many people ask “Why Polydactyl?” Polydactyl refers to cats that have more than the ordinary number of digits. I own an orange polydactyl named Elliott; you can see his face used on my Asian sauce packet toys. Though polydactyl is more of a scientific name, cats with extra digits are also known as: thumb cats, mitten cats, and Hemmingway Cats. At age 10 I had the opportunity to visit Ernest Hemmingway’s house in Key West, where dozens of polydactyl cats reside. Ever since my Hemmingway visit, I’ve always found cats with extra digits very charming and I’m glad that I can express that through my cat toys.