Truly, more and more Americans across all age groups are adopting pets and treating them as members of the family, sparing no expense on their care, contentment, and happiness. For this reason, home and living products such as food bowls, pet beds, and customizable dog blankets are considered essential in the home of any self-respecting pet parent.
If you are exceptionally fond of pets, you can earn a lot of money doing something you love by selling pet-related products. After all, pet product sales took up a third of last year’s total pet industry expenditures in the United States. However, there are certain considerations that you should keep in mind if you do decide to design, produce, and market your own home décor items for households with pets. Here are a few of them:
Choose Tough Fabrics
Pet parents tend to prioritize products made with durable fabrics when choosing décor for their homes. Not only do they want items that can withstand the chewing and gnawing of teething pets, the fabrics and materials used should also be able to stand up to scratches, pet soils, and stains that their furry companions might track in from the outdoors. Knowing that these home and living items will be subject to plenty of foot traffic as well as your usual wear and tear, pet parents also typically want décor that can be hosed down, easily cleaned by hand, or tossed into the washing machine multiple times.
Knowing all of this, it’s a good idea to look into durable, stain-resistant performance fabrics when designing home décor items for your product line. Many interior designers who work with pet parents often tell their clients to use outdoor fabrics on indoor furniture to render their couches and seats virtually pet-proof.
Synthetic textiles, usually made with solution-dyed acrylic, nylon, or polyester, are both stain- and moisture-resistant. Woven fabrics such as certain felts, chenille, and herringbone are also a good choice, as their dimensionality helps hide pet hair and stains. You can also cater to customers looking for a more natural aesthetic with leather furniture coverings—they’re incredibly easy to clean, and minor signs of damage only add character to them.
Keep the Focus on the Pet
A lot of pet product manufacturers make the mistake of designing for the owner first, and it’s difficult to blame them for it. After all, it’s the pet parents holding the purse strings and making the artistic decisions for the home.
The result? Home and living products that are aesthetically pleasing to humans but offer little benefit for the animals that they live with. Fortunately, you can distinguish your brand from the competition and become a truly pet-friendly enterprise by designing products that put our furry friends first and prioritizing function over form.
For example, instead of stopping at a design for a run-of-the-mill food bowl, you can add a raised platform and sell the items as a set. The elevation will help dogs eat more slowly and prevent them from swallowing air, which will make them less likely to experience bloating and stomach upset.
Instead of stuffing your pet beds with cheap filler materials, consider creating a design for a high-quality, comfortable orthopedic dog bed that offers ample support and cushioning for dogs that may be getting on in age.
Lastly, when designing runners, carpets, and placemats, you can incorporate slip-proof non-skid pads that keep them in place on the floor, further assuring pet safety.
Make Sure That Your Products Are Pet-Safe and Non-Toxic
A lot of home décor items—particularly house plants and indoor foliage—can be fatal to pets. To wit, certain types of lilies, daisies, and azaleas are poisonous to animals who happen to accidentally ingest them. However, all plants, when ingested by your four-legged pals, can cause stomach upset and possibly lead to serious illness. You’ll want to keep these considerations in mind when designing home décor products that incorporate plants.
If you must incorporate greenery into your home décor items, it’s a good idea to educate your customers thoroughly about keeping them out of reach of their fur babies. If you aren’t sure about which plants are toxic to pets, you can find a comprehensive list of them on the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) website. Alternatively, you can eschew real foliage entirely. When it comes to choosing flora that won’t harm your furry family members, you’ll find that faux is best.
Designing home décor items for households with pets can be quite challenging. Brands have to strike that delicate balance between products that are functional and beneficial to animal companions while still attracting the pet parents who will be purchasing them. If you ever find yourself running into difficulties, remember that it’s your love for animals that got you here! Build your products around the well-being of pets, and their owners will naturally gravitate towards your brand.