Rich Jackson came up with the idea for Skinny Pete's Gourmet Catnip in the dead of a Michigan winter after working a full day in a local coffeeshop on a 3D animation project.
He pulled into his yard and noticed a forlorn catnip plant in the corner of the yard, and his mind wandered to a recent news story he'd read about the pet gift business category growing into a three-billion dollar industry.
"It was the holiday season in 2017, and I remember spending all day on this animation project," says Jackson, Chief Catnipologist for Skinny Pete's Gourmet Catnip. "I got home and spied this dead catnip bush in my garden. I have cats, and I realized there was a vacuum in the cat gift space that was ready for a sophisticated catnip brand."
It was the lightbulb moment that many entrepreneurs can remember with a vivid nostalgia, and it was the catalyst for Rich to leave behind his career in animation and turn his attention full time to developing a catnip brand.
Now, Rich has turned that winter's afternoon inspiration into action by reviving the spirit of that catnip plant and many more. It started as a side project named after Skinny Pete, his wife's cat at the time. Skinny Pete was anything but trim, and that's where the name for the company came from. Also, Breaking Bad was big at the time and that inspired the feline namesake.
For those who are feline-deficient, Catnip is an herb in the mint family. It contains a chemical, nepetalactone, which is this chemical that triggers the amazing response many cats have when they encounter catnip. It is a fun treat for cats and their owners.
While Skinny Pete didn't make it to the launch of her eponymous brand (RIP), her inspiration is the still there. The business is entering its third life, with branded apparel for men and women and even dog treats.
The signature products is the three piece gift set that comes with three tins of gourmet catnip with iconic flavors like "Blue Meowy Wowy" with a hint of spearmint, the unflavored green "Furmaceutical Grade," and "Purruvian Pink" with just a hint of peppermint. They also include a free, small cloth bag to use as a cat toy. For those who are dog lovers, the Dog-Ezz Packet is the ideal antidote for an anxious hound. It's an all-natural, herbal remedy believed to help calm nervous dogs. It’s made from 100% pure, organically grown catnip. The leaves are fine ground so that they can be sprinkled on your pet’s food. They even got a write up in Animal Wellness about how this product helps Fido when it comes to things like fireworks, thunderstorms, car rides, visitors, or trips to the groomers.
Safe to say, Rich has big plans. One new product in the online store is a cat face mask that's on-trend and perfectly situated for these times during COVID-19. To help brand these products, Rich has turned to StickerGiant for custom product labels and promotional stickers. On the catnip and dog treats, you'll find the glossy labels. In each box that's sent out, there's a custom die cut logo sticker. Since he's using multiple products, Rich is able to take advantage of the StickerGiant multiple item discount and maintain the quality he needs for his brand across different products.
"I love working with StickerGiant, since the quality is superior to other printers I've tried," says Jackson. "I love the friendly and responsive the customer service team, and I put the StickerGiant fireball logo sticker on my car right next to my Skinny Pete's Gourmet Catnip sticker. The fact that sometimes you throw in a few extras is always a nice bonus."
The logos themselves feature artful renditions of felines and canines, and the design really brings to life the spirit of Skinny Pete herself. These days Tucker and Panda are the resident felines featured in photo shoots and product testing. Tucker was just recently awarded Employee of the Month, which is a high honor at the company. You can also see Tucker laying resplendent amongst the catnip in the photo above. He's quite the product model.
Rich has grand plans to keep the buzz alive for Skinny Pete's, and the most recent addition of human face masks is a tell-tale example of how the brand will evolve to respond to the culture. The latest product that has entered the store is a Cat Mat that comes with a package of catnip that you can place in the beautifully illustrated blanket that will attract your kitty and keep them napping in a comfy spot all day long.
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