Pictures courtesy of Kira Goldfarb
Munchiecat is proud to assist small and native companies. Lately, we had the chance to talk with Kira Goldfarb, the founding father of Cat on the Nook in Catskill, New York. In 2020, she opened her cat-themed present and novelty retailer as a result of she needed to deliver one thing new, enjoyable, and distinctive to her hometown. She additionally needed to draw cat lovers from close to and much to go to, store, and benefit from the scenic river metropolis.
Goldfarb can be an expert cat sitter, and he or she has her personal handmade pet accent enterprise known as Kira’s Pet Shop. Utilizing high-quality cotton materials with novelty prints like the Hanukkah menorah, she creates pet collars, leashes, and bandanas with tag slots. She additionally gives hand-stamped pet ID tags and engraved collar buckles.
Under the mother of 4 cats (and two canines) shares what it’s wish to juggle three small companies whereas working by way of the coronavirus pandemic.
Why did you determine to open Cat on the Nook?
I opened Cat on the Corner for a couple of causes. I clearly love cats. And in Catskill — a city settled by the Dutch, with the title which means “cat creek” — it simply appeared like the world wasn’t capitalizing on the cat issue sufficient.
I’ve labored for small and native companies right here in Catskill my entire life, and I’ve run my very own handmade store on Etsy for the previous 6 years. I believed I may deliver one thing actually distinctive and enjoyable to our group by opening a cat-themed present store. Within the age of Amazon and on-line buying, brick-and-mortar retail actually has to offer the client a singular expertise to face out and survive. I wish to suppose Cat on the Corner gives that.
How did you get into making do-it-yourself collars, leashes, and bandanas on Etsy?
Kira’s Pet Shop really began in 2015 with my canine, Eva. She was my first canine, a rescue mutt from Puerto Rico. At 9 months previous, she developed luxating patellas and wanted a $2,500 surgical procedure on each knees to appropriate it. I had already began stitching bandanas for her to put on, so I began promoting them on-line to assist pay for her surgical procedure. It grew from there. I expanded to canine and cat collars, leashes, and so on. Eva had the surgical procedure and made a full restoration. I’ve since had greater than 11,000 gross sales and have shipped to over 30 international locations.
How lengthy have you ever been cat sitting?
I have been cat-sitting for about 10 years. I really began a yr earlier than I had any cats of my very own. I really like all my kitty shoppers! Some are very pleasant, some shy, some by no means heat as much as me, however I simply give every cat the area they want and a focus when they need it.
Is there a cat-sitting expertise that stands proud in your thoughts?
I did have one humorous expertise some years again when a shopper’s unspayed cat went into warmth for the primary time whereas I used to be visiting her. I knew what was taking place. However my shopper’s mom occurred to cease by through the day and ended up taking the cat to the emergency vet on a Sunday as a result of she thought one thing was fallacious together with her! I received there that night to no cat and a be aware about it. I needed to name her and clarify, however the vet had already informed her by then. The cat was completely wholesome, just a bit…excited.
Have there been any cat-sitting challenges through the COVID-19 pandemic?
2020 was tough! I opened Cat on the Nook in February 2020 and had some cat-sitting visits lined up for the winter and spring. However by March everybody had canceled their journeys, after which my store needed to shut till June. I used to be fortunate sufficient to have acquired some starting rental help from the Catskill Native Improvement Company (and a really form landlord). So, fortunately, my store survived. Cat sitting was a bit slower to select again up. However this previous yr has been busy on each fronts, significantly since so many individuals have moved upstate from NYC within the final yr.
Has the availability chain disaster or the rise in United States Postal Service (USPS) charges affected what you are promoting?
Fortunately, I have not been affected a lot by USPS price adjustments, as most of my gross sales at Cat on the Nook are in retailer, and all the things I ship on Etsy is light-weight. And since I purchase from largely impartial manufacturers, I have not had as a lot hassle getting merchandise as some businesses have.
Are you able to inform us extra about The Cat’s Meow Public sale and Gala that you simply went to in September 2021?
For the final 15 years, the Heart of Catskill Association (HOCA) has sponsored a program the place totally different artists design numerous cat statues positioned round Catskill. They’re largely down Essential Road, however there are a couple of scattered additional out. Every cat is sponsored by a enterprise. It will get to have its title on the plaque and two tickets to the Gala.
This yr, Cat on the Nook sponsored the “LEGO My Cat” statue. It was designed by artist Stephen Martin and lined head to toe in LEGO bricks. The statues are put up round Memorial Day, they usually keep up all summer time, attracting new and repeat guests. Individuals like to see all the brand new cat designs every year. On the finish of the season, they’re auctioned off on the Gala, and the proceeds are break up between the HOCA, the artists, and native scholarships. The public sale costs begin at $500 for every cat, they usually can go for as much as greater than $2,500.
Cat on the Nook options objects from greater than 50 small and local businesses. Why is it necessary to buy small?
Procuring small is so necessary, now greater than ever. Massive companies are making file earnings, however buying with them will not assist our native economies as a lot as supporting small, native, independently-owned ones. This helps maintain the cash circulating by way of our communities.
As a small business proprietor, I’ve a lot appreciation for each one that chooses to step in my door over ordering from Walmart or Amazon. Bonus — quite a lot of my stock is not bought on Amazon! When individuals store inside their native communities, they’re supporting their associates, neighbors, colleges, and so on. As a hand-crafted enterprise proprietor, I needed to assist different retailers within the methods I would wish to be supported. So I inventory quite a lot of manufacturers which are independently-owned, typically sole proprietorships run by ladies like myself.
Promoting their objects in my store helps all of us, and it permits me to supply many objects that you simply will not discover in different shops. For instance, I’ve keychains from a lady in Singapore; tote luggage from an artist in Thailand; earrings from a pal in Wyoming; and pins from a husband and spouse duo in California; and so on. By buying with me, my prospects are supporting actual individuals from all around the world who’re simply attempting to make a dwelling doing what they love.
How is Cat on the Nook altering the cat proprietor stereotype?
When individuals hear the time period “cat girl”, they image an older, lonely, single girl with too many cats and a smelly home. However that is not what we’re about! Cats are wonderful companions. They’re household. And the vast majority of cat homeowners have an affordable quantity and a (moderately) clear home. Having cats would not make you messy, lonely, or “loopy”.
And with the arrival of the web, I feel we’re all studying extra about our shared love for these smooth, playful, humorous little creatures. Even simply the elevated availability of cat-themed merchandise — notably, with trendy designs that attraction extra to youthful generations — suggests a transfer in direction of embracing the title of “cat girl” or “cat dad”.
Our kitty companions make our lives so a lot better. They assist with loneliness, melancholy, and tedium. They fulfill a want to share our love with others and take care of one thing past ourselves. So I imagine by providing an area geared in direction of cat individuals, Cat on the Corner helps to verify the concept that there’s nothing dangerous or “loopy” about loving cats — as a result of so, so many people do.
What are the most well-liked objects in your store?
Well-liked objects within the store this yr have ranged from the litter scoop earrings from Layers by Design to the sauce packet catnip toys, from Polydactyl to our Catskill-themed stickers and magnets, and Japanese blind field “cat caps”. It is actually a very good mixture of cat-themed items and toys for cats. Individuals love the playing cards from La Familia Green, the puzzles from Mudpuppy, and the mugs from Lenny Mud. And naturally, the Cat Butt Coloring Guide is a well-liked one! With a whole lot of merchandise within the store, there is a ton to select from. So it is at all times enjoyable to see which objects attraction to every particular person.
Cat on the Corner (throughout from The Community Theatre and Kirwan’s Game Store)
362 Essential Road
Catskill, New York 12414
Electronic mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.