Michelle: Tell me about Kaytee.
Jason: The history of Kaytee dates back to the late 1800’s when the original business started as a single grain elevator in 1874 processing a hundred carloads of grain product per year. Now, 140 years later, Kaytee has grown to become a nationwide manufacturing and distribution company shipping several hundred thousand tons of product per year.
Kaytee is uniquely focused on the bird and small animal niches of the pet industry, providing the highest quality foods and products for people’s enjoyment of birds and other small animal pets.
In January of 2006, Kaytee joined forces with Pets International to form the Central Avian and Small Animal business unit of Central Garden and Pet. At that time we were marketing two brands including the Pets International Super Pet brand of small animal homes and accessories in addition to our Kaytee food, bedding and treats.
Today, we are marketing all of our bird and small animal products under the integrated Kaytee brand. With the recent rebranding of Super Pet to Kaytee, Kaytee has now become the only complete, total solutions brand offering everything a consumer needs from caging and accessories to food, bedding and treats for small animals or pet birds.
Michelle: What is a typical day like for you?
Jason: With marketing, R&D and total business responsibilities, there is no such thing as a typical day. Every day is different and that is one of the most exciting parts of my job and working at Kaytee.
Each day brings new opportunities, business challenges and we are always working on multiple new products and projects. One thing that I try to remind myself is that “nothing happens in the pet industry without pets” and that everything we do is ultimately for the animals.
It can become easy to get caught up in a world of budgets, meetings and business challenges and forget why we do what we do, so I make it an effort to remind myself every day that it is all about the pets. Putting pets first is the foundation of why Kaytee is the trusted total solutions brand and why our products allow consumers to have the best experience they can have with their pet.
Michelle: Without giving away too much, what are some of the new and innovative products you are working on?
Jason: We are always trying to improve the overall pet ownership experience. One of our most recent new products is our Kaytee disposable Bedding Tray cartridge system for cleaning CritterTrail. I think this is a good example of the type of innovation that represents our Kaytee brand well.
One of the biggest drawback we hear from consumers about owing small animals is that it is difficult to clean the cage. A new product innovation like our Kaytee disposable Bedding Tray makes weekly cage cleaning quick, simple and easy allowing consumers to quickly remove and replace a disposable tray that is pre-filled with Kaytee Clean and Cozy bedding.
Michelle: What’s the best part of your job?
Jason: Having joined Pets International in 1999, I have been fortunate to work on the creation of more than 500 new products over the years for pet birds and small animals since joining the company.
The best part of my job is being able to visit a local pet retailer and seeing a new product that I worked on or developed fully completed and on the shelf in store. Even better is being in the store and observing a consumer select your item for purchase right in front of you.
I’m also fortunate to work with great customers and distribution partners and I’m thankful for their continued support.