I had the pleasure of ending my year with IKKiCON 2018, an anime and pop culture convention held in Austin, Texas every year. One of the greatest things about the convention is the wide variety of vendors in the dealer’s room. There, you could find artists, mystery boxes, collectibles straight from Japan and other wares that you can’t find anywhere other than an anime convention.
While walking around the dealer’s room, I got a chance to meet Rachel Page. She was a vendor in the artist’s area and is the sole owner of the Happy Cat, a booth and online store that sells handmade tails, ears, and paws. She took the time to talk with me for a bit and told me about her entrepreneurial journey and products.
Rachel grew up in a family of entrepreneurs in New Hampshire. Her parents owned an antique shop that she helped out at which led to her eventually opening her own jewelry shop in 2009. After falling on rough times it was time for a fresh start, so she decided to start attending conventions and see what they were all about. She, like many people, had learned that conventions give you a place where you are surrounded by things that you love and other people that also love those things.
Going to conventions, she learned that by Saturday lot of the items she was interested in were gone and no longer available. She took things into her own hands and started designing her own handmade cat ears to sell at conventions. Well, the time came to see how well her product would do so she took 20 handmade sets of ears and went to a small convention in Kingsville, Texas. Her ears had all been sold by one o’clock on Friday, the first day of the convention. She was excited so did another small convention in Texas, but this time she took 40 pairs of ears to sell and once again she sold out on day one.
Fast forward to present day and Page’s business is booming. Se does around 30 conventions a year throughout Texas and New Mexico, all while fulfilling online orders through her Etsy store for those that don’t get a chance to see her at a convention. Her business has been so successful that she was invited to have a booth at San Japan, which usually has a long wait list for booths.
Page started with just customizable cat ears and has expanded her products to include cattails and her newest product of 2018 cat paws. All of her products are handmade by her and are fully customizable whether be length, color, size, material involved, and even additions of squeakers to the tails if one so chooses. She also adapts to what attendees want, by taking into account the colors, styles, and items asked for while she is on the floor.
Any convention goer knows that after a few cons you tend to start to see the same things over and over again and that is one of the main things Page wants to prevent from happening. This means that seeing the Happy Cat booth at a convention means you’ll probably see new items and maybe even something you asked for before. She said one of her main goals is to always keep being creative, redesigning, and keep improving her products as well as making new ones.
This past year, Page began selling cat paws which are furry fingerless gloves designed with the con-goer in mind so that you still have use of your hands instead of removing the paws in order to use your phone. In 2019 one of her goals is to expand her line of dragon ears and tails along with a move into more customizable dragon scales. Her dragon line is made to resemble dragon armor, with interlocking layered pleather plates in varying colors and styles. She has also been working on reversible beanies and scarfs to add to her ever-expanding product line.
Page has also developed a secondary product line called Zom- B- Kitty, which is a horror-themed set of products. These include zombified versions of her paws, ears, and tails — you can see them at the annual San Antonio Zombie Walk.
Page is a tenacious, bubbly, and intelligent businesswoman who has used her creativity to build a brand that is a must-see on vendor floors at conventions.
You can like and interact with Page and the brand, Happy Cat, on her Facebook page and can browse her store and place orders at her Etsy store here. Do you have a custom set in mind? Email her at [email protected] to place yours.