Norfolk Industries for Disabled People

100% Recycled and
Fibre Pet Bedding Products
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Blog » Our new Animal Houses

Our new Animal Houses

Animal Houses and how they were developed

Norfolk Industries recently launched Animal Houses for all small pets complete with a range of products inside.  This blog details the development process, what the houses were designed to achieve and which animals they are suitable for.

Many months ago, we were looking at developing animal houses; mainly for the Christmas market aimed at being a ‘present or gift’ for small pets, and also to provide another line of work for people with disabilities who are on work placements with us and struggle on our current production line.  It is also seen as an opportunity to widen our product range to current and new customers. 

After researching this, it was found that it was difficult to produce something which was cost effective, looked cute and unique enough to sell from the shelves of retailers.  Although we didn’t want to get into 1000’s of unit sales (due to our current space and labour abilities), we certainly wanted to produce 100’s. 

We started to look at the packaging and who owns small pets; which is historically small children.  Perhaps we could develop something which would further engage children with their pets and encourage sales at the same time.   So we thought a cardboard house which children could colour in and then place inside the cage with their pet, which would include bedding and treats!    Also, as hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs would chew the house, this would also generate continued sales!

Then the design work for the house began, which was not something that we could achieve in-house, so we looked for a current supplier who could help us with this.  We had some initial conversations and designs mainly developed from clip-art type imagery which were good, but felt could be improved. 

We were then lucky to find a lovely local illustrator who was willing to hand draw what we needed in order to cover the entire design and charged us only a nominal amount due to our Community Interest Company status.  This work then clearly launched the product into the cute category and brought the whole idea to life.  The designs incorporated butterflies, ladybirds, spiders, plants, windows, roof tiles etc, etc, and we decided upon 2 sizes of house – a larger one for guinea pigs, small rabbits, chinchillas and ferrets and a smaller one for hamsters, rats, mice, gerbils etc.

For the contents we decided upon a pack of treats for the larger house only (due to the space needed), a mineral block, some apple twigs; which are provided by the Community Hub in Dereham, instructions and recommendations for colouring materials, a small pack of colouring pencils and a bag of Norfolk Industries paper flaked bedding of course!

The outer packaging and labelling was designed, we already have a shrink wrapping oven which we would use to seal up the houses with the contents inside.

The printed cardboard was ordered, as well as the contents of the houses and production began.

Sales activity commenced and QD have been kind enough to take the first pallet of small houses.

Sales activity continues, with discussions taking place with a range of retailers and we hope to involve other outlets in the sale of both the small and the large houses.

The houses can be ordered directly from our website or even purchased from our reception area in Oak Street, Norwich or, of course, from QD stores!

So there you go - a product designed to provide packaging work for people with disabilities, and to widen our offer to current and new customers, to be a gift for small pets as well as engaging small children.

To market the houses we then needed some images of animals and so we went to Pettitts Animal Adventure Park and introduced the houses to rats, ferrets and guinea pigs and a very kind photographer gained some wonderful pictures for our website and brochures etc.

Special thanks to –

Pettitts Animal Adventure Park

David Goulding Photography

Ruth Murray Graphic Design and Illustration

Guinea Pig medium house 2 2

Rat in small house 2 2