This week on "Getting to Know our Manufacturers", lets see what makes West Paw Design our favorite toy maker for aggressive chewers, eco-friendly luxury dog beds, and more!
About West Paw Design
After graduating college, Spencer Williams knew what he had to do. Before settling on a career, he needed to return to his home state of Montana (he even told his wife this on their first date). So after a stint selling financial software on the East Coast, they packed their bags and headed west.
With the intention of creating something that brings joy to people's lives, Spencer (at age 23) bought a small cut-and-sew pet toy company in Livingston, MT. "I grew up on a ranch and so animals always had a special place in my heart - especially for stray dogs and cats. " So with less than 5 full-time employees, and an impressive team of home-sewers, Spencer set out to conquer the world of pet toys - one ounce of organic catnip at a time.
Go West, Young Man.
In 1998, the company was getting too big for its britches so all 15 employees packed up and headed west (about 26 miles) to the booming metropolis of Bozeman (population: 28,000). Instead of outsourcing manufacturing to Asia, which was the current trend in the 90’s, Spencer decided to invest in the local community and built a state-of-the-art, eco-friendly manufacturing facility. West Paw Design is still located in this building today and 98% of the products made are done so feet away from Spencer’s office (the other 2% are made elsewhere in MT).
Speaking of the West...
When your offices are located less than an hour and a half away from Yellowstone National Park, you can’t help but constantly be inspired by (and want to take care of) the planet’s natural beauty. This is why West Paw Design invests in sustainability in our businesses practices and product designs. An example is our award winning and extremely durable Zogoflex dog toys to be recycled through our closed-loop recycling program, Join the Loop®. It also inspired us to became co-founders of the Montana Coalition for the Outdoors and Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition.
What does Organic Catnip and Boxes Have in Common?
These are two of the ways the business has NOT changed since 1996. West Paw Design still uses USDA certified catnip in its cat toys and stores finished goods in re-usable banana boxes (keeping them out of the landfill and eliminating the need to buy plastic totes). This thinking inspires Spencer and employees to continually develop responsible and eco-friendly manufacturing practices in all areas of the company. Including becoming the first pet product manufacturer to use recycled plastic fill and fabric in its toys and beds. This fill, we lovingly call IntelliLoft, is used today in all of our handcrafted toys and beds.
Toys and Beds Made in Montana (so you know they’re tough):
Welcome to 2015. West Paw Design is now a Certified B Corporation that employs 80 + employees who are continually challenged to create the world’s most eco-friendly and safest pet products. West Paw Design is proud that our iconic and extremely durable Zogoflex dog toys, as well as our hand-crafted plush toys and beds, are loved by pets (and people) around the world.
It’s been nearly 20 years since Spencer shilled software and he couldn’t be happier… to not to. “Pets add so much joy to people’s lives and one of our values is to give back to them with great products. Being back in Montana, and working with an amazing team of people, is not a bad way to spend my days.”
B Corp Certified
What’s a B Corp? We’re among the companies that aim for a more balanced “triple bottom line”—measuring our success not just by profit, but how we treat our people and planet. Certified by the non-profit B Lab, B Corps hold an above-and-beyond commitment to healthier employees, sustainable practices, transparency and accountability. Our B Corp status was earned for a variety of reasons—highlights include:
- Handcrafting 100% of our products in the USA
- Manufacturing completely safe products: BPA and phthalate-free, non-toxic and FDA compliant
- Relying on eco-friendly materials
- Hosting a Join the Loop® toy recycling program
- Working from an environmentally conscious office building
- Offering generous wages and benefits (including flexible schedules) for employees
Why West Paw Design is leading the way in Pet Manufacturing
West Paw envisions a world where business success is friendly to people and the planet. We seek to be a transformative business leader that unleashes our people's greatest talents to create amazing pet products. We believe that business can be a force of positive change in our world starting with the communities and people we serve. We support this movement and hope that you'll join us on this journey.
Handcrafted in the USA
Our beds and pet toys are truly labors of love—handcrafted by skilled toymakers at our headquarters in Bozeman, Montana. Passing through real human hands, every product is showered with extra attention and care—and an infusion of pride from the person who made it.
Thanks for getting to know the West Paw team! We took this information from their site- www.westpawdesign.com
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