Dogs and cats go through many different stages during their lifespan. After passing through the puppy or kitten stage, they progress to adulthood and then finally reach senior status. Petstages, a Northbrook, Ill.-based manufacturer, has developed a line of toys to meet the needs of pets as they progress in their lives.
"Each toy addresses a need that the pet has, whether it's physical or behavioral," says Mariann Straub, vice president of sales and marketing for Petstages. "We focus on toys that address chewing, soothing, interacting, playing and fitness."
For example, a teething puppy may need a chew toy that can be frozen to help sooth sore gums. While a more active adult dog may need a tough toy that withstands a tough chewer.
Torjus Lundevall, president of Petstages, has a background in juvenile business and used that expertise to catapult the company to success.
"Instead of working with pediatricians and child development experts, we worked with veterinarians and animal behaviorists," she says.
As a result of their unique approach, their line has grown over the past four years from 27 products to more than 100. "We find the pet industry quickly embraced our style of innovation and thoughtful design," Straub says.
Their toys go through round after round of focus groups and other screenings before they ever make it to store shelves, Straub says. They may design 100 toys and only 15 find their way to store shelves because of the company's high standards.
"We really take our time and put a lot of research into it," Straub says. "We are confident the new products will do well because the base of our products has longevity on the shelf. Some items that have been out on the market for four years are still tracking up."
This fall Petstages will release 13 new dog toys and six cat toys, including a line of whimsical and hip toys.
"These toys incorporate a new color pallet to address fashion trends in the industry," Straub says.
Petstages plans to bring its unique approach to pet products to other segments of the industry.
"We have some very exciting things on the drawing board," Straub says.