Founded back in 2012, Cheshire & Wain specialise in luxury cat collars and accessories and having just launched a wonderful new collection of literary-inspired collars and cat toys, we caught up with founder and creative director, Sonja Farrell…
What is your background and how did you come to be in your current career?
I’ve been running Cheshire & Wain for the last three years but my job prior to that was in account management at a London advertising agency. I enjoyed the role but couldn’t shake the urge to do something of my own.
I had a week off planned to get a cat, which saw Mr Percy Peter Wells, a tiny silver-spotted British shorthair kitten, enter my world. The following days were annual leave heaven but as I started surfing the net for items to keep young Percy entertained and stimulated, I felt completely uninspired by what I found – poor quality, mass-produced and often ugly products that I really didn’t want in my home or for my cat. It was during this week that I had my light bulb moment to set up a pet products company exclusively for cats, where I could design and manufacture a range of products that would be beautiful and well made, but more importantly safe and appropriate for the cats they’re designed for. So convinced of my idea, I handed in my notice as soon as I got back.
Any designers or artists that you look to for inspiration?
I really love luxury brands and designers that are playful with their products – Anya Hindmarch, Charlotte Olympia and Vicki Murdoch (Silken Favours) particularly. They all bring a sense of fun to their beautifully designed and well-made creations, which is both refreshing and entertaining. I try to replicate this approach with Cheshire & Wain in that I want offers products that are well made and beautiful but packed with personality to entertain both cats and their owners.
What is your favourite pet piece that you have created and why?
That has to be the super luxurious ‘Beluga’ Cat Collar, which comes packaged in a novelty caviar tin. It’s made from beautiful, embossed black leather with a texture known as ‘caviar-grain’ and is the height of kitty luxe! From our latest collection, I love the ‘Flamingo’ Collar. It’s made from baby pink suede that has a metallic rose gold pattern – looks gorgeous on a tabby cat!
What has been the highlight of your career?
That would have to be when Cheshire & Wain became an official Prince’s Trust supported business back in 2014. The charity helps young people between the ages of 13-30 to turn their business ideas into reality via their Young Enterprise Programme. I owe so much to the trust and my mentor that I don’t think Cheshire & Wain would exist without them!
I love cats, and I genuinely love my job. It’s wonderful when customers send in pictures of their pets looking proud in their new collar or in a fit of ecstasy with one of our catnip toys. That makes my day.
What’s new from Cheshire & Wain?
The “Wonderland Range” is Cheshire & Wain’s latest collection of luxury cat collars and organic catnip toys. Lewis Caroll’s, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is in its 150th year of publication and to celebrate the unfaltering popularity of this enchanting tale we have created four new collars in special edition tins: Jabberwocky, White Rabbit, Flamingo and Cheshire Cat.