A HERO for Pet Stores
Terry Gao, president of Caitec Corporation, discusses how his company focuses on designing products that benefit not only pets and their caregivers, but also pet specialty retailers.
Pet Business: Tell us about Caitec. How/when did the company get started? What inspired you to get into the pet product business?
Terry Gao: As a first-generation immigrant, I quickly realized that pets are a really important part of people’s lives in the U.S. Caitec Corporation was founded in 1992 as an importer of a full range of birdcages. In 1996, Caitec bought its own factories with wood, metal and plastic processing capabilities. We started to offer OEM services for pest control, and lawn and garden industries. In the meantime, we also started offering products for pet birds.
The company has been leading the way in pet product innovation by offering pet owners a wide range of high-quality, affordable pet products. We figure if we do our job well, our customers will be able to outperform the competition in product design, value and delivery service.
PB: One of the things that Caitec is best known for in the industry is its broad selection of products for birds. Tell us about your approach to innovating this category? What sets you apart from other manufacturers?
Gao: At Caitec, we always have pets and their caregivers’ best interests in mind. This is the foundation of all our product development. We have never tried to compete on price, nor will we. Our products are designed to benefit both pets and their caregivers in the best way possible. Owning the factories also contributes to this principle immensely.
PB: Caitec also manufactures a host of products in other pet categories. What are some of your most notable products outside of bird? What sets these products apart from others in the marketplace?
Gao: Outside of bird products, we have our line of HERO and Chase N Chomp dog toys. Both toy lines are innovative, fun and durable, and our team of dog enthusiasts uses the latest advances in materials and technology to ensure the creation of interactive toys designed to inspire play. Again, we still have the same principle as mentioned above—keeping pets’ and their caregivers’ best interests in mind. We are contributing to pets’ physical and mental health, as well as bonding between pets and caregivers through the products we are offering.
PB: What are the latest and most exciting new products Caitec has introduced? What are some of the key features of these products?
Gao: Foraging products in the pet bird industry have been popular for the last 15 years or so. At the same time, in the dog toy industry, treat dispensing is an idea that consumers are more interested in. As a leader in bird foraging products, we are applying lots of expertise from bird foraging products to our dog products. Most dog products we launched are multi-functional. They are a chew toy, foraging toy and a fetch toy at the same time. We have something for every dog. Durability is always an important factor as well. We just launched a natural-rubber bone ball with a treat pocket for our HERO line. It underwent extensive durability testing and is designed for aggressive chewers. We feel it is the future of our dog toy category.
PB: Tell us about the HERO ad campaign that you recently introduced. What about the campaign do you believe will resonate with pet owners?
Gao: The ‘Somebody’s HERO’ ad campaign is about recognizing the fact that every dog— whether they are active military, a service dog or just a part of your normal family life—is a HERO. We know that the relationship between dogs and humans is special. The new campaign combines our brand with this emotional connection. HERO dog toys are the natural reward for everybody’s hero dog.