Cheshire & Wain is the brainchild and premium cat brand of Sonja Farrell who just launched a set of ice-cream pastel cat collars. Sonja is one of the first makers we have stocked in our store and we love her new range. Cheshire & Wain’s pastel colours are bang on trend, as ice-cream pastel hues were big news on the spring/summer 2018 catwalks. And with temperatures at near record high this summer, we are sure these cat collars will be a huge success.
The collars feature contrasting suede lining and edge stitching and are complimented by healing crystal collar charms. They ship in a beautiful gift box, so look no further if you’re hunting down a perfect present for a cat lover.
Hi Sonja, you have worked with the Princess Trust who have helped you with your business. How did this all start?
I came across The Prince’s Trust when I was writing the business plan for Cheshire & Wain. I knew the type of business I wanted to set up, and had a good idea about the types of products I wanted to design and sell. But I didn’t know where to start when it came to tying everything together into a tangible plan of how and where to start. During my research I came across The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme which is aimed at helping people between the ages of 18 and 30 to turn a business idea into reality.
I owe so much to The Trust for their support in the early stages and through the last 4 years of growing Cheshire & Wain. I have a wonderful business mentor that I meet every month and I have also become a Young Ambassador for The Trust and attend networking events and functions to help raise funds for the charity so they can help others like they helped me.
Your collars are made from leather and all have a break-away buckle for safety. Which is a novelty in the market. How do you come up with new ideas?
I find new ideas come from solving problems I come across in my own experience as a cat owner. They are then refined around the confines of a luxury brand that is playful and accessible. One of the cats I grew up with injured her leg badly 5 years ago after getting it caught in an elasticated collar, from then on we would only buy collars with a safety catch. But they were always cheap supermarket buys because that’s all there was. To solve this problem, I designed a leather safety collar from scratch which would incorporate 2 buckles. Firstly, a traditional square buckle to adjust the size. And secondly, a plastic break-away buckle in the place of elastic for safety.
Then my attention turned to sourcing the best leather and offering lots of different colour options and styles. I wanted Cheshire & Wain to be a luxury and aspirational brand but not in a way that was too serious. It’s a cat product company after all and so I wanted to add an element of fun. One of my favourite collar designs is the ‘Beluga’ Caviar Collar. It is made from caviar-grain leather and comes in a novelty caviar tin – perfect for storing catnip!
Do you get to travel the world in search of materials?
Not as much as I’d like to but I do a bit of business abroad virtually I guess! Our leather is sourced from Italy and our skull collar charms are made by a jeweller in New York. But most of the sourcing and manufacture happens close to home. The collars themselves are made in East London. A short bus ride from my office and Cheshire & Wain’s organic catnip toys are designed and handmade by two very talented sisters in Dorset!
You’ve just launched a new collection of ice-cream pastel cat collars, toys and charms. The High Summer Collection. What inspired the new range?
I wanted the new ice-cream pastel cat collars collection to feel really summery and fresh! The inspiration actually came from the SS18 trend for pastel hues on the human catwalks from designers like Chanel, Versace, Céline, and Loewe. I loved how they used contrasting ice cream shades in some of their looks. I felt the soft hues would complement a wide range of feline fur types!
The collars are made from Italian vegetable tanned leather and lined in super soft suede and completed with silver coloured hardware. To add to the Summer feel-good vibes we added an ‘Oyster Shell’ organic catnip toy in pastel pink, yellow and green. In addition, I designed a new range of semi-precious collar charms to bring protection and positivity to cats and their owners.
We love the new ice-cream pastel cat collar charms by the way! Can you tell as a bit more about them?
I’ve been interested in the healing properties of crystals and semi-precious stones for a while. And therefore, I did some research. I looked into how their positive energies might be able to benefit our pets’ mental and physical wellbeing. The collar charms are faceted into a shark’s tooth shape. I dip them in a silver setting to give them a contemporary look. It really complements the new collars as well as our core range well.
There’s Rose Quartz, which is the crystal of unconditional love, to help bring serenity and reassurance to nervous cats. Blue Lace Agate, which works its mystical magic to release stress and anxiety and help soothe and calm. And Amazonite, to bring courage and good luck to mischievous kitties.
Finally, there is the stone of awareness, Howlite. It is said to be good for bones and teeth, as well as helping with anxiety and stress-related illness. And to form an even stronger bond, the charms also come as a matching silver necklace. So owners can twin with their feline friend and also benefit with the healing auras.
Is there anything else that you are working on and for which we can have a sneak peak?
We’ve been working on a new type of cat bed for almost 3 years. But it’s proving hard to find the right manufacturer. It’s top secret of course but we can say that it’s unlike anything on the market currently. We stripped back the more traditional idea of a cat bed. And started again to design something quite futuristic and sculptural. We really hope to get this off the ground in 2018 and can’t wait to share it with our customers.
And finally… if a cat owner asked you for your advice on how to pamper their kitten. And you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?
Kittens love to play. And joining in with their little games is a great way to form a bond with your furry friend. I’d give them one of Cheshire & Wain’s catnip sugar mice to play with and then when they tire themselves out I’d give them a warm lap to nap on and stroke their little nose until they drift off to sleep. Percy loves sleeping on my lap and immediately starts purring as soon as I touch his nose.