Cats love boxes, and boxes love cats! I want to harness the happy energy created by this wonderful partnership to see if I can do some good in the world—like help animal shelters in Chicago.
Now, as any cat owner knows, as soon as a box becomes available, very soon a "floof" will sit in it, staring up at you.
I want to ask you and your feline friend for some help in developing Boxes for Happiness, by asking you to test them and help me make them the most fun and comfortable we can. I'm hoping to use all of your awesome insights, and those of your furry friend: let's crowdsource some cat-play to make the best box that all of our cats deserve.
This project is all about you, your thoughts, and your feedback. I would love to have an active community to bounce ideas around and help make Boxes for Happiness.
Currently I'm working with four box designs on-which I need feedback and thoughts on. Please feel free to get back more than one type, but please limit yourself to one of each design per household. All photos of the boxes are of the evolving prototypes (keep up with the evolution on my instagram).
If you are in Chicago and want one of the boxes, please get in touch and I can get you a box without the shipping fee if you are willing to meet to collect it. If you'd like to see the prototypes (as they have changed) in-person they are at WindyKittyCafe (v1), The Catcade (v2), and the Tree House Humane Society (v3).
I'll also be at ALIVE Rescue on Sunday 11/04, 11a-2p for their cat and kitten adoption event.
This is a minimal box, which doesn't take up too much room and has good space for running and playing—its a good mix of size and security. This one seems to do really well in a multi-cat environment.
Dimensions: 15" x 15" x 13.5"
This one's a two-fer. The two parts combine to create a really nice safe space for those kitties which are hiders and need some security. When they are taken apart, the boxes create one low piece and one high-walled, open-top space.
Dimensions combined: 10" x 14" x 13.125"
Dimensions top: 10" x 14" x 13"
Dimensions bottom: 10" x 14" x 3.5"
A solid box filled with three distinctly fun interactive sides (the name comes from the 3-piece nature of its construction).
Dimensions: 14" x 14" x 14"
The Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA)
Every kitty is a little different (one of the hard things about this project!), so here's the modular option. The CYOA box has 12 differently designed styles (feel free to suggest some more) with different levels of interaction on them. The design allows the box to be customized to any rectangular shape.
At the end of the campaign, backers will be contacted to choose the options they would like to use.
Dimensions: 13" x 13" x 13" (or 26")
So here's what's going to happen—the project is going to be broken down into two phases (over two campaigns)... Think of it as a beta test and general release.
Phase 1—Early Access/VIP Testers
This is Phase 1 of the project—I'm looking for people to become part of the discovery process. I'm really hoping that by buying one of these beds, you'll take the time to document some of the interactions your cat has with the box, and share them with me so that we can build this better.
All of the money generated from this part of the project will go towards prototyping and development of boxes that cats love.
Phase 2—General Release
Phase 2, the final project, will launch in February 2019 as part of my UIC Entrepreneurial Product Development class. The goal will be to launch an individual design.
At least 25% of all profits will be donated to animal shelters in Chicago—to help their on-going efforts. This 25% will be split equally between ALIVE Rescue, Harmony House, Tree House Rescue, WindyKittyCafe, and the Catcade. If you have any other ideas for shelters you would like to see on this list, please feel free to get in touch with me.
Some Questions You Might Have
Why the small run of boxes?
At the moment, I am iterating the designs regularly to improve them as I receive feedback. This means that I am currently hand making all the boxes and ordering materials at a lower quantity. I'm hoping to engage with a manageable number of people who are interested in the project and its goals.
How am I making these boxes?
To ensure quality and precision (and due to accessibility), the boxes from Phase 1 will be laser cut. I will then clean the edges with an isopropyl wetwipe to remove any carbon (and the smell), but they might still have a seeming burnt smell when you receive them.
By Phase 2, I intend to be working with a manufacturer to produce the box, at which point they will be produced by a CNC dragknife—no more burnt smell, yay!
What are the boxes made out of?
The boxes are made out of cardboard, and designed to be held in place with plastic rivets. I have tested the rivets to ensure they are safe with pets—it takes a lot of force to pull them apart.
The good news is, if anything doesn't jive well with the community, I'm happy to change it. If you have thoughts—lets eliminate the plastic, for example (I'm working on that)—I'd love to hear them!
If you have anything else you want to know about, please don't hesitate to get in touch!
Risks and challenges
This is my second Kickstarter, but I come from a school which prides itself on its Entrepreneurial Product Design (EPD) “Always be Hustling” class, in which I am currently enrolled. This gives me access to many great professors who have had huge success on Kickstarter including the creative brains behind the Manual Coffeemaker Nº3 and the Fourneau Bread Oven.
This is a 100% self-produced pet product.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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