Like nearly every other business, Travel Cat was impacted by the COVID pandemic, says Emily Miethner, co-founder of the brand. But having a solid business foundation and a good handle on numbers helped guide the company through it.

“We’ve always had good margins and … so as things got more difficult and challenging, we had the margin, and we understood the numbers to see how the supply chain issues and mostly the shipping costs were going to affect us to help us make decisions of ‘Are we going to airship this or are we going to sell out?’ That was a decision I think many people have to make,” she said.

Another strategy move: Focusing on community building and other “unpaid” efforts to market the brand. This coming month, Travel Cat is hosting a three-hour virtual “summit” to discuss cat health, cat travel, and how to build your social media accounts.

Travel Cat itself uses its own social media channels to promote the excitement of cat ownership.

“It’s exciting for people to get featured on our blog or on our Instagram account, which now has almost 60,000 followers,” Emily says. “We have a series called Travel Cat Tuesday where we’re highlighting one of the members of our community. So yeah, it’s amazing to give a platform for people to get highlighted when they like your brand.”

The social strategy has created a very engaged group of customers.

“There’s some magic to seeing customers become friends because you connect to them somehow, whether that was through Instagram or a feedback session or having them be a speaker at an event,” she says. “It’s helpful when you have a good mission and what your product is doing is positively changing people’s lives.”

The brand’s goal is to continue to build its product line to find all the supplies you’d need to travel with a cat.

“We want to continue solidifying our place as the No. 1 cat travel brand,” Emily says. “We’re mainly in the U.S. and Canada, but we’re working on getting distribution and getting into retail customer retail stores in the U.S. and across the world.”

In Part 2, Emily talks about:

* How Travel Cat tweaked operations to get through the COVID era.
* Why the brand is doubling down on community building and unpaid marketing options.
* The brand’s “ladder of engagement.”
* How Travel Cat approaches its own social media channels, which they use to create excitement between pet owners and their products.
* How engagement creates loyalty.
* How a road trip between New York and Florida fueled ideas for future products.
* A new shipping platform that can ship anywhere in the country in two days.

Join Ramon Vela and Emily Miethner as they break down the inside story on The Story of a Brand.

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This episode is brought to you by Mercury.

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