Tuft and Paw's Jackson Cunningham on developing thoughtful furniture for cats

May 13, 2024
Emmy Liederman
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Jackson Cunningham has always likes animals, but he never really considered himself a cat person.

But his partner is cat obsessed. And when they moved into their new apartment in Vancouver they found that options for cat furniture outside of the typical litter box or scratching post were fairly limited.

"It just felt really janky having this ugly plush .. scratching posts.," said Cunningham. "And it just seemed really surprising that there was no other options out there. That was kind of the starting point to say 'hey, let's start this little small business.' And it was kind of almost a joke when people would ask about it. Like, you're doing cat furniture. Like, that's funny. That's so niche."

While it may be niche, it's also desirable, and Cunninghan's company, Tuft and Paw, is seeing great success.

Cunningham spends more budget on product development and cat behaviorists than he does marketing, and it's paying off.

"If somebody wants a Tuft and Paw product, they can't find that product anywhere else. It's not anywhere else and it would be a big investment for another company to start offering that product," said Cunningham. "That's where we've leaned into from the beginning, is having our own distinct stuff, and I think that investment is starting to pay off."

And Cunningham is already starting to pivot from say an $800 cat tree that looks like it belongs in a museum, to offering more affordable items, and even getting into the cat litter market.

"We started with the approach of really high end beautiful stuff for people who could afford to pay more, but we're definitely shifting to more attainable products for the masses,"  he said.

Listen to the full interview with Cunningham above and learn more about Tuft and Paw.

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