Ensuring a kitten’s safety while traveling inspired these designers to create an innovative line of award-winning carriers for animals.
Melony Lee was looking for a safe and comfortable way to travel with her first kitten, a Bengal named Rawl Rawl. “She was disappointed by the existing products,” says Jane Skuta, in charge of Media Relations for Sleepypod, makers of innovative carriers animals. “Inspired by a commitment to her cat and a passion for design, Melony and fellow Art Center College of Design graduate, Michael Leung, researched and developed an ideal carrier prototype for Rawl Rawl to test.”
The kitten loved her new traveling accommodations – and so did everyone else who saw it. “This reaction prompted Michael and Melony to make it a commercial product,” says Jane. It took the duo almost two years to perfect their design, after which they partnered with another design college graduate, Greg Mote. “The threesome formed a company called Meowme in 2005 and named its new invention Sleepypod,” Jane says. “Meowme officially changed its name to Sleepypod in 2008. The company’s goal is to create innovative, well-designed products to complement modern on-the-go lifestyles.”
Sleepypod’s products are designed to be safe and comfortable for dogs and cats as well as functional, stylish and aesthetically pleasing. The company offers a line of durable carriers in a selection of attractive colors, as well as other travel and lifestyle products such as animal beds and travel bowls, and most recently, organic deodorizing cleansers and jewelry-grade pendants. They’re also planning to introduce products for larger dogs. “Careful attention to every detail has been placed into each product, from crash testing our line of mobile pet beds to the use of FDA food grade, BPA-free silicone in our travel bowls,” Jane adds. “Sleepypod designed a crash test dog, MAX the Safety Dog, which was weighted to 12 pounds to simulate a live animal. In June 2012, MAX was used to crash test our full line of carriers with built-in Pet Passenger Restraint Systems (PPRS).”
Not surprisingly, Sleepypod has received numerous editors’ choice awards for their products. “We were even honored by having one of our products chosen for Metropolitan Home’s prestigious Design 100, alongside iconic products like the iPod and Smartcar.”
Sleepypod is also active in the community. “For every Blossom Pink Sleepypod pet carrier sold, we donate $10 to various breast cancer research and awareness charities,” says Jane. “We also donate products to a number of shelters and related animal organizations nationwide.”
Needless to say, the Sleepypod team loves what they do. “We get so much satisfaction from seeing animals and their people using our products and hearing stories about how they’ve enhanced the quality of the lives,” Jane enthuses. “We really feel privileged to have our products play a role in their lives. Plus we get to create our own dream products that can be shared with our animals…and then everyone else’s animals!”