Photographs courtesy of Kira Goldfarb
Munchiecat is proud to assist small and native companies. Just 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 reward and novelty retailer as a result of she wished to convey one thing new, enjoyable, and distinctive to her hometown. She additionally wished to draw cat lovers from close to and much to go to, store, and benefit from the scenic river metropolis.
Goldfarb can also be knowledgeable cat sitter, and she or he has her personal handmade pet accent enterprise referred to as Kira’s Pet Store. 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 canine) shares what it’s prefer to juggle three small companies whereas working by means of the coronavirus pandemic.
Why did you resolve to open Cat on the Nook?
I opened Cat on the Nook for a couple of causes. I clearly love cats. And in Catskill — a city settled by the Dutch, with the identify 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 complete life, and I’ve run my very own handmade store on Etsy for the previous 6 years. I believed I may convey one thing actually distinctive and enjoyable to our neighborhood by opening a cat-themed reward store. Within the age of Amazon and on-line procuring, brick-and-mortar retail actually has to offer the shopper a singular expertise to face out and survive. I prefer to assume Cat on the Nook gives that.
How did you get into making home made collars, leashes, and bandanas on Etsy?
Kira’s Pet Store truly began in 2015 with my canine, Eva. She was my first canine, a rescue mutt from Puerto Rico. At 9 months outdated, she developed luxating patellas [or trick knees] and wanted a $2,500 surgical procedure on each knees to appropriate it.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 many others. 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 nations.
How lengthy have you ever been cat sitting?
I have been cat-sitting for about 10 years. I truly began a yr earlier than I had any cats of my very own. I really like all my kitty purchasers! 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 consumer’s unspayed cat went into warmth for the primary time whereas I used to be visiting her. I knew what was occurring. However my consumer’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 improper along with her! I obtained there that night to no cat and a notice about it. I needed to name her and clarify, however the vet had already advised 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 obtained some starting rental help from the Catskill Native Growth Company (and a really sort landlord). So, fortunately, my store survived. Cat sitting was a bit slower to choose again up. However this previous yr has been busy on each fronts, notably since so many individuals have moved upstate from NYC within the final yr.
Has the provision chain disaster or the rise in United States Postal Service (USPS) charges affected your corporation?
Fortunately, I have never been affected a lot by USPS price modifications, as most of my gross sales at Cat on the Nook are in retailer, and every thing I ship on Etsy is light-weight. And since I purchase from principally unbiased manufacturers, I have never had as a lot hassle getting merchandise as some companies 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 Coronary heart of Catskill Affiliation (HOCA) has sponsored a program the place totally different artists design varied cat statues positioned round Catskill. They’re principally down Important Avenue, however there are a couple of scattered additional out. Every cat is sponsored by a enterprise. It will get to have its identify 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 gadgets from greater than 50 small and native companies. Why is it necessary to buy small?
Procuring small is so necessary, now greater than ever. Massive firms are making file earnings, however procuring with them will not assist our native economies as a lot as supporting small, native, independently-owned ones. This helps preserve the cash circulating by means of our communities.
As a small enterprise proprietor, I’ve a lot appreciation for each one that chooses to step in my door over ordering from Walmart or Amazon. Bonus — a variety of my stock is not offered on Amazon! When individuals store inside their native communities, they’re supporting their pals, neighbors, colleges, and many others. As a hand-crafted enterprise proprietor, I wished to assist different outlets within the methods I might prefer to be supported. So I inventory a variety of manufacturers which might be independently-owned, usually sole proprietorships run by girls like myself.
Promoting their gadgets in my store helps all of us, and it permits me to supply many gadgets that you simply will not discover in different shops. For instance, I’ve keychains from a girl 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 many others. By procuring with me, my prospects are supporting actual individuals from everywhere in the world who’re simply making an attempt 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 woman”, they image an older, lonely, single lady with too many cats and a smelly home. However that is not what we’re about! Cats are superb companions. They’re household. And nearly all of cat homeowners have an inexpensive quantity and a (moderately) clear home. Having cats does not make you messy, lonely, or “loopy”.
And with the arrival of the web, I believe we’re all studying extra about our shared love for these gentle, 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 woman” or “cat dad”.
Our kitty companions make our lives so significantly 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 consider by providing an area geared in direction of cat individuals, Cat on the Nook helps to verify the concept that there may be nothing unhealthy or “loopy” about loving cats — as a result of so, so many people do.
What are the preferred gadgets in your store?
In style gadgets 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 superb mixture of cat-themed items and toys for cats. Individuals love the playing cards from La Familia Inexperienced, the puzzles from Mudpuppy, and the mugs from Lenny Mud. And naturally, the Cat Butt Coloring Ebook is a well-liked one! With a whole bunch of merchandise within the store, there is a ton to select from. So it is at all times enjoyable to see which gadgets attraction to every individual.
Cat on the Nook (throughout from The Neighborhood Theatre and Kirwan’s Sport Retailer)
362 Important Avenue
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.