Pet Age recently discussed pet toys and product development with Sarah Johnson, account manager at P.L.A.Y. Pet Lifestyle and You.
How would you describe P.L.A.Y.’s process from concept to physical product?
Our product development process is always very thorough and can also be quite fun. The P.L.A.Y. team is filled with pet parents, and we bring the love we have for our own pets to the development process when creating new P.L.A.Y. products. A product will start as an idea we have for what we would like to see for our own pets, either for fun or to fill a need, that we think will also speak to other pet parents on a larger scale. We go through brainstorming sessions and when a new idea hits, we are very detailed in the development process. We put a ton of thought into each toy or accessory as we work through the design and sample stages looking at colors or features or even product and individual toys names. We nitpick down to the smallest details to make sure we are covering a variety of desirable features that will be fun, functional and of course Instagrammable, while also keeping products at the best price points for retailers and consumers. Once we get a product to the point that we can proudly share it and would all be happy to buy it for our own pets, we can finalize that new product to bring to market.
What can you tell me about some of P.L.A.Y.’s recent toy innovations?
We are always working to expand the assortment of our themed plush toy collections to contain a bigger variety of engaging attributes. We want each collection to offer an assortment of textures, sounds and special features. We’ve recently started including more rope features within our plush toys for an added element of play and texture. We’re also incorporating fun hide-and-seek toys like our Tropical Paradise Paws-Up Pineapple toy with burrowed pineapple slices. We listen to customer feedback as well and have come to understand that smaller dogs are sometimes overlooked with toy options in their size. As a result, we have been miniaturizing our top-selling collections to give those tiny pups more toys that offer a big personality with some of the same great sounds, textures and cute-factors as the larger plush collections we create.
What are among your brand’s most popular beds, toys and outdoor gear?
Our most popular toys are our food-themed plush toys like our Garden Fresh, Barking Brunch and American Classic Collections. In fact, these collections have proved to be so popular, we chose these as the collection to make miniature versions of to meet the needs of smaller dogs. Our newest Snack Attack food-themed collection has quickly gained popularity with its indulgent snack-themed toys. Our camping-themed Camp Corbin Collection, inspired by one of our beloved long-time P.L.A.Y. dogs, Corbin, is also popular year-round. We find that the collections that do the best are those that people can relate to since these collections are designed after those things that people love and enjoy themselves.
Our Snuggle Beds and Lounge Beds are among our most popular and well-known. They are wonderfully comfortable and well-made, able to withstand plenty of nap time and cycles through the wash and they come in colors and patterns to match a variety of home décor. Another bonus with these beds is that these designs are perfectly cozy for both dogs and cats to enjoy.
We also offer a variety of accessories and outdoor gear. Our Landscape Deluxe Treat Pouches are a big seller. They offer multiple features beyond just holding treats, such as a built-in poop bag dispenser and a hidden squeaker to grab your pup’s attention when needed. The Landscape Collection has been popular for its variety of color options and modern color-blocking design.
What can consumers expect next from P.L.A.Y.?
Consumers can expect to see a lot of newness coming from P.L.A.Y. as work to expand in a variety of ways. We will continue to seek areas of potential growth where we feel we can bring value with new ideas. We have some super fun new products both in progress right now and in some early planning stages. P.L.A.Y. will be growing within some of our newer product categories and we also look forward to increasing our Made in the U.S.A. product offerings. Our new Feline Frenzy Kicker toys were a hit when they debuted last fall and we are putting plenty of energy into our Feline Frenzy line and general cat assortment to continue better serving our feline friends. And of course, we will always be bringing new enticing and high-quality push toys in some unique photo-worthy themes as well.