KENTVILLE, NS – Catnip toys have never been so cute or so sure to get your cats playful and purring.
Kentville resident Jenna Park runs the Mini Tiger Design company, and creates handmade catnip toys sold online in her Etsy shop.
The toy designs span from fried eggs to fish to llamas, and each is stuffed with potent, organic catnip. Park sews and designs each one, creating toys cats and owners alike are crazy for.
“These are cute toys that get both cats and owners excited. People have been loving them,” says Park.
A crafty business idea
Park discovered her love for cats after adopting her first, named the Grey Gatsby, with her husband, Jeffrey Prime. They fell in love, and adopted another one, Fable, soon after.
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She did, however, always know she had a love for crafting, having spent lots of time while growing up in South Korea with her grandmother, who was a tailor.
She first starting creating the pieces in early 2016 after seeing how her own cats ignored toys she bought from the store that were supposed to have catnip in them.
“I would buy them these toys, and they’d play with them for a few minutes, and ignore them after that,” she says.
So she decided to sew her own, stuff them with fresh catnip, and see what happened.
Her cats loved them.
Park opened her online shop in July that same year after giving the toys to her friends and hearing their cats loved them too, realizing she had a marketable product on her hands.
Her toys are made with natural materials, and no glue. Designs go from objects to what Park calls ‘animal friends,’ including seagulls, chicken, sardines, and llamas.
“Cats actually want to play with them because the catnip is fresh, and it captivates their attention,” she says.
Stitch by stitch
Park now works full-time creating her catnip toys in a small studio space in her home in Kentville.
Her own cats, the Grey Gatsby and Fable, sit with her while she sews, often playing with one of their own Mini Tiger Design toys.
Business has grown quickly, and Park has had to invest in a sewing machine to keep pace with the orders.
Her products sell mainly via her online shop, but have also been picked up by several Nova Scotia stores, including Inkwell in Halifax.
Toys have been bought and shipped to customers in the U.S., Ontario and from here in the Annapolis Valley region as well, with sales having increased over the holiday season.
“Wholesale orders are regular, and customers purchased quite a few toys as unique gift items. It’s been amazing to see the growth this year,” says Park.
While sales are hot, Park knows she must keep on diversifying to continue growing her business – her biggest goal as the New Year unfolds.
“Growing this to get more buyers is definitely the priority, and I think I’m well on my way to doing that,” she says.
“As far as business, we’ve got room to grow, but I’m still happy with where we’re at.”
To shop Mini Tiger Design, visit Jenna Park’s Etsy page: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/MiniTigerDesign
To follow the business on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/minitigerdesign/