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Start Your Business Entrepreneurs

Small Business Snapshot: The Cat Ball

Small Business Snapshot: The Cat Ball Credit: Jennifer Boaro

Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. Jennifer Boaro, the founder and designer of a whimsical pet bed called The Cat Ball, explains how this image represents her business:

My business is designing and making cat beds, but sometimes I feel like my bigger goal is to make people laugh.

I developed my Cat Ball cat bed on a whim. I was working as a costume designer, and I was asked to make mascot costumes that looked like soccer balls. The project required me to use some new materials and techniques, so I started by creating a small scale model of the spherical costumes, with a large hole at the bottom for the feet and a large hole at the top for the head. The prototypes sat around my shop for a year or two until I got kittens, and realized that they might like using the foam thing as a bed. I was right: They loved it!

I thought the challenge of turning the Cat Ball into a shark sounded interesting, and as you can see in our photo, the resulting design is silly and compelling. Cats boldly enter the gaping mouth of this apex predator and fall asleep, apparently unaware of the perilous position they have walked into.

The shark is just one of many novelty designs. Most of the products are the Cat Ball cat bed or Cat Canoe made in attractive fabrics. We follow seasonal design trends when we purchase fabric, which means we are always adding new SKUs.

Our customers are taking wonderful photos of their cats (and dogs, kids and spouses) using our cat beds and they are great about sharing these photos on social media. This is a windfall that we hadn't predicted, and we work to encourage more photos by sharing them on our social media platforms and website.

Shannon Gausepohl

Shannon Gausepohl graduated from Rowan University in 2012 with a degree in journalism. She has worked at a newspaper and in the public relations field, and is currently a staff writer at Business News Daily. Shannon is a zealous bookworm, has her blue belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu, and loves her Blue Heeler mix, Tucker.