Kuba & Leia for Feline Wellbeing – Our beloved pets are prominent members of our family. We share experiences, our time, love, and affection. So, when it comes to a little TLC It’s not just the adults in our household that need some ‘pamper time’ our feline friends do too!
To help improve the health and wellbeing of cats we have found the BrushPod, the world’s first catnip brush. This innovative kit contains items for daily cat grooming, play and even nail trimmers for keeping those sharp claws in check.
Beautifully designed, sleek presentation and well delivered the Brushpod was created by James Cudd here in the UK, using only the highest-grade materials. With an inspirational eye, James has produced the ultimate cat accessory whether they love or even hate being brushed.
We talk to James about the concept behind his brand:
Have you always been interested in design?
“My Dad was a tinkerer. Always coming up with curious product ideas. But what I loved most was his attention to detail. He was never hurried, sometimes taking years to build things. This left an impression on me. Of course, design takes on different meanings for people. For me, I love odd things. Curiosities that tell a story or spark a conversation. I’m always drawn to the stories of ‘why’ people make or design things in a certain way. I also think the world is different now. Design has a crucial role in helping heal the planet. Sustainability and ecology must be at the heart of this.”
What inspired you to design products for cats?
I’ve always had cats. Rescues to pedigrees. I think of them as the soul of the home and can’t adequately express the calming influence they’ve played throughout the various lockdowns we’ve all been subjected to. Kuba and Leia are our two British Shorthairs. Two little bundles of joy so I thought it only apt to name the business after them.”
“Our small design team are always thinking about how we can design products that specifically improve the wellbeing of cats. Be this through exploring health, play or creating a safe environment for them. Of course, we’re still a very young business, but having K&L around all the time as chief testers of the prototypes we make is always a lot of fun!”
Can you share your unique selling points as a company and how important is sustainability to you?
“We’re building Kuba & Leia to be – what I’m confident – will be a better business. Nearly all companies that design products for cats (and in most other industries) manufacture at a volume so they can sell cheaply. In these post-lockdown times, I think people are placing much more scrutiny on where and what they buy. So, there’s an amazing opportunity to change not just how we design, but also how we make and ship things.”
“Having had the privilege of consulting for one of the world’s leading sustainability consultancies, I’m encouraged by the resource and focus even big businesses are putting into genuine and authentic sustainability programmes. But the word ‘sustainability’ is too often a ‘catch-all’ term. For us being sustainable is about looking at every crevice of what we do. This includes choosing safe and eco-friendly raw materials. It means 100% recyclable packaging, through to organically sourced catnip and silver vine (that ships with each BrushPod). Our model has changed in that we now only make our products to order. Meaning no wasted energy or stock held in unnecessary storage. “
“Essentially, I think a unique selling point about us, is the fact we’re challenging the status quo of how things are or should be made. We’re doing this all on UK soil with family-owned UK engineering, manufacturing and electronics specialists and using new and exciting techniques.”
What has the feedback been regarding the BrushPod?
“Well… we’ve never had a single return – so we take this as a good sign. We try and stay in personal contact with as many of our customers and fellow cat lovers as we can. Some customers who are new to catnip had some initial concerns that the ‘buzz’ of energy catnip provides was a little out of character (there’s a blog on our website about this if any of your readers want to check it out), but overall, we’ve had a lot of great reviews, many surprised that their normally brush-hating feline friend has become much more accepting of regular grooming. “
For us, the BrushPod was always a fun curiosity. An intriguing gift with a lovely design. We’re proud of it and we’ve had lots of compliments on the packaging.”
Five years ago, we set out to design a self-cleaning litter tray that both looked gorgeous but just as importantly looks and feels like a normal litter tray. We’ve been through five prototypes of which the latest is used at home every day by Kuba & Leia. It’s got some great features, such as weighing your cats when they’re going to the toilet to make sure they’re at their fighting weight, and a specially sealed waste compartment that seals the waste once cleaned to deal with any cat owners’ biggest complaint – smell!”
“We had hoped to launch the LitterPod earlier this year, but COVID put the brakes on. We’ve used a lot of this time to rethink the fact that the old design used a lot of plastic. So, our focus on sustainability means we’ve reengineered it, so it’s now made of beautiful, formed plywood, stainless steel, and several 3D printed parts. Again, all made-to-order! It’s also a ‘modular’ design, allowing us repair and upgrade every unit every few years so that it stands the test of time.”
“A product for decades and not ‘planned obsolescence’ – which so many business models follow and are one of the greatest failings of consumer product design today. Interestingly this is slowly being chipped away at by the ‘circular economy which we subscribe to. I strongly recommend checking out the great work of the Ellen MacArthur foundation if your readers are curious.”
Do you have any other designs moving forward?
“We do. We’re looking at a new type of food bowl and doing exploration into water fountains and cat carriers. For the carrier, we’re specifically interested in developing something that will help de-stress cats during travel. Leia hates to travel. So, we’ve got an exciting journey ahead of us! If any of your readers would like to keep updated, we’d love for them to sign up on our website. Oh, and we’d like to also offer your readers 30% off a BrushPod, just use the voucher code ‘WT20201’ during checkout. Finally – there’s an exciting exhibition coming up at the Design Museum in London from the 23rd October called ‘Waste Age: What can design do?’, I’ll certainly be there for some design inspiration!”