As a mother of an indoor cat, I know well how hard can be to keep my little boy entertained. It is a worry sometimes. We never know if we are doing enough. And of course, we end up spoiling him. Nothing wrong with it, by the way.
Especially when you find out about services like Gus & Bella subscription boxes. A company founded by the couple and cat parents Emily and Charlie McMahon to offering a monthly designed subscription box with outstanding products for felines and pet parents. Read my interview with Emily now.
Midlands Traveller: Tell me a little bit about your background in business.
Emily McMahon -Nothing to do with cats! I have always worked in business to business facing roles but with a core focus on product development and marketing. Gus & Bella was a completely new venture for me, but these skills were pivotal to getting started.
MT: How did you come up with the idea of a business like yours?
EM: I have always been a cat lover and knew it was not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’ we’d adopt our first cats. We began our little cat family in London and kept Gus & Bella as indoor cats.
I was constantly looking at new ideas to keep them happy and entertained – as I was always worried that as indoor cats, they would not have the stimulation of the outdoors world.
I also found I was splashing out on expensive cat food so thought it would be a great idea to receive a product where you can allow your cat to try-before-you-buy (they can be very fussy after all!).
The boxes take the hard work out of finding new and interesting products to keep your cat(s) happy and entertained, and it is a fun delivery to look forward to each month.
MT: What is the main inspiration in your boxes?
EM: My cats! Gus & Bella. And also, I wanted to create something that facilitated a shared experience between cat and owner and focus on strengthening that bond.
MT: Tell me about Gus & Bella’s mission?
EM: Our mission is to deliver happiness and wellbeing to cats – and their humans!
MT: What is unique about your business?
EM: The box promises a shared experience for both cat + owner and includes products for both to share. The surprise monthly themed boxes create a new and interesting way to treat your cat (and yourself!).
MT: What is your kind of clientele?
EM: People like me! Cat lovers, usually female (although we do have some male subscribers) – and usually between the ages of 25-45.
They’re a young woman who likes to give back to their cats and show them how much they’ve enrichened their lives by treating them. Also, we have a lot of subscribers with indoor cats or pedigree cats with restricted access to the outdoors.
MT: What are the challenges of a business like yours?
EM: Staying creative and enticing people to keep subscribing each month by constantly surprising them and picking high-quality products to fill the boxes.
MT: What are the rewards of providing a service like yours?
EM: The feedback from customers! We always get tonnes of people sharing their cat photos and their cats playing with products included in the box – it’s very rewarding.
MT: What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a business like yours?
EM: Innovation and building a good brand community.
MT: What are the next steps for Gus & Bella?
EM: We are nearly 2 years old so for the next year we are focusing on scaling and continuing to build a community of cat lovers who love to go above and beyond to look after the wellbeing of their pets.
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