Pet Age recently spoke to Jill Connolly, creative director of RC Pets, to learn more about the company and the direction that it is heading.
Q How has your company’s history of making products for skiers and snowboarders had an impact on your pet products?
A We design products for pets from all walks of life—those that never leave the home, and those that enjoy their time playing, working and competing outdoors. RC Pets got started by making products for skiers and snowboarders who play on the mountains of British Columbia, Canada. We had to be innovative and create products that were rugged and responsive, the same criteria we now use when designing products for dogs and cats and the humans that love them. We’re always looking for ways to improve our products, by talking with the people who use them, observing the pets that wear them and using them ourselves every day.
Q What are RC Pets’ most popular dog and cat products?
A Right now we are seeing a rise in popularity with our Harnesses. Our Adventure Kitty Harness that launched last year was a breakout success. There is a fast-growing community of felines that accompany their owners on outdoor excursions and we saw the need for a quality harness that was designed to fit the unique movements of a cat. This harness sold out in the first two months and has continued to garner positive press, winning a Pet Age Readers’ Choice Award in December. That’s not to say that we have been neglecting our Canine counterparts. The new Momentum Control Harness launched in March was designed to take you seamlessly from dog parks to mountain trails. With both front and back connection points, as well as a quick control handle on the back, this harness has you ready for anything. The five points of adjustability offer the perfect fit while the breathable mesh body will keep your pooch comfortable on the go.
Q What’s new for 2019 from RC Pets?
A We have lots of exciting things in the works for 2019! We started the year off by releasing a new lineup of summer apparel. This included our Zephyr Cooling Vest and Bandana. Unlike other products on the market that can be heavy/soggy when wet, the Zephyr uses a new lightweight cooling fabric. We also updated our popular Canine Lifevest (Tidal Lifevest) and Solis UV shirt so that [pet owners can] be able to spend more time enjoying the outdoors without worrying about [their] dog’s comfort and safety from the sun.
Q Why is it important to RC Pets that its products come in such a wide range of sizes?
A We design products that appeal to guardians who would do anything for their pet. Those pets come in a variety of sizes, so it was important for us to design products that we could offer in a wide size range. Fit and functionality come first, with style being an added benefit.
Q What sort of process does a product go through, from concept to physically sitting on a pet store shelf?
A Our development process is pretty in depth. From initial concept presented at the R&D (research and development) phase, it then goes into initial prototype phase so that our office dogs can test the concept. If we find that this product is addressing the needs we want it to, we then send the specifications out for sampling in a full size range. We have a loyal fan base of product testers that we will bring to the office for fit tests [and we also] send products out for in-field testing. Depending on the complexity of the product, that can take many months. After it is approved, the product can then go to marketing for packaging, photos and all the fun stuff that helps bring it to life on the store shelves.