It does at Orange Kat. I realized this on Sunday while Steve and I were working to put together a large order that included about a dozen pieces we had not previously manufactured and photographed. The beauty of our business is that the work is fun and rewarding. The beauty of working weekends and evenings is that Steve and I get to work together during those times.
Steve still works full-time as a software developer so I work alone on weekdays (unless you count the orange cats and their six brothers and sisters). Managing the office is no sweat and I prefer quiet and solitude when working on the books and marketing. Learning to design, cut, engrave, assemble and finish our laser products has been a bit more challenging. Fortunately, Steve paid attention in his geometry classes and has been able to design every custom request we’ve received, along with dozens of his own creations, with seeming ease. My role in the laser division is as more of an assistant to my incredibly creative husband. I get to express my creativity more in developing the Mountain Creek Naturals product line and Steve is always ready and willing to help bottle and label.
The amount of work we’re able to accomplish together really amazes me. We complete far more than if we were working on the same projects separately. I would judge the output to be at least three times that of working individually. We have a certain synchronicity that I’ve never experienced working with others which I expect results from working with my partner in life and best friend. Now I just need to remember to adjust my expectations to account for working alone during the week when 1 + 0 really does equal 1.
The biggest challenge Steve and I have encountered in our business is learning how to market our products. Creating new products is an endless source of fun and entertainment for us, fueling long hours of work that never feels like work because it’s so enjoyable. However, once we delve into how to best market our creations our eyes begin to glaze over and we both start thinking about what else we might be able to do with our time that does not include finalizing a marketing plan. Thus, we have spent the past several years bouncing around, trying various methods of advertising and promotion and learning what does and does not work as we go.
We happened upon one method that appears to work well quite simply by seeing what works for others. We’ve been wholesaling items from our laser line to a customer who sells them in craft malls in the Midwest and today Orange Kat is finalizing plans to place merchandise in The Calico Rabbit located in Plainwell, MI. This will be Orange Kat’s first experience working directly with a craft mall and will add a third location (joining malls in IN and OH) at which our merchandise is displayed for sale. By week’s end we also expect to contract with Exit 76 Antiques in Edinburgh, IN!
Aside from our excitement in finding new ways to market the products we so love to make, these moves provide us with the happy anticipation of coupling future visits to our new retail locations with visits to my awesome family in La Porte and Valparaiso, IN and our wonderful friend in Kalamazoo, MI.
Aslan and Jewel seem rather excited about these new developments as well. They’re burning off their extra energy by knocking everything possible off the counters and trying to fit into cardboard boxes that are about 1/4 their size. A very busy and exciting day here at Orange Kat!
I had a longtime friend over to the Orange Kat ranch yesterday and realized that many people really don’t know what it is we’re doing and creating here. We continually work on the unending task of adding the items we offer on our websites and Etsy.com, but that often times takes a backseat to filling orders for our awesome customers.
In addition to the hundreds of products in our 2 product lines, we take custom orders which provide a great opportunity to think outside the box. This week, Steve is taking this opportunity to think outside the box by designing a very unique box, a puzzle box (pics below). This particular order came from a puzzle enthusiast in Ireland who wants to house 24 puzzle trays (making 30 puzzle options) in one large box. Steve is the master designer for the business and has been designing individual wooden puzzles for a couple years. This order allowed him to once again feel the satisfaction of creating another Orange Kat original.
Speaking of orange cats, Aslan and Jewel took a quick break from bathing one another to say “hi” and thanks for reading our blog!