Inside the launch of The Good Good Kitty, a Port Huron-based line of feline furniture

Handmade furniture businesses are, presumably, businesses that are likely to be started at home. From idle sketches in the living room to tinkering in the basement or garage, it’s easy to imagine how an artisan line of furniture can make its way from the maker’s home to yours.

Recently, Blue Water native Missy Campau started a furniture company from her own Port Huron home, though perhaps not the kind that first comes to mind.

Missy makes feline furniture, a growing line of custom-made cat pieces smartly designed and crafted from quality and non-toxic materials. It started with the Good Good Kitty box, which provides storage and play opportunities for house cats, and has grown to include ottomans and food dishes with more to come.

The Good Good Kitty is among a growing list of businesses started or launched from home over the course of this COVID-19 pandemic.

We asked Missy all about it.

“Go with what you know! My entire life I have been around cats,” Campau says.The Keel: Tell us about your business. What is The Good Good Kitty?

Missy Campau: The Good Good Kitty is a line of feline-friendly products I created to offer cat owners items that would last all nine lives. This includes the original Good Good Kitty Box, a half-size option, cat beds, food dish holders, and ottomans. I will also be offering end tables, enclosed litter boxes, and other larger items in the near future.

Keel: How (and when) did you get started?

Missy: A few years ago, my family and I rescued three kittens that had been found on the side of the road without a mother. This was in addition to our senior kitty who will be 21 in May. As you can imagine, entertaining four felines can be a task in and of itself, especially three kittens. This led us to have some pretty creative ideas to help keep them active and healthy. In an attempt to create a kitty play box, I took a simple cardboard box, cut holes in it, and reinforced it to add stability; this was, ultimately, the first Good Good Kitty Box prototype. It was a hit; the kitties loved it. As it started showing wear, I thought “I should really make these out of wood so it lasts,” but I never seemed to find the time to do so. As the kitties grew, our household went through a lot of changes including moving out of our loft of 10 years right as we went into quarantine. This allowed me time to research, plan, and start building wood prototypes. Fortunately, I have a tremendous community of support and was able to get lots of feedback as I worked toward a final product.

Keel: Why feline furniture?

Missy: Go with what you know! My entire life I have been around cats, and even had a cattery in my home growing up. During this time, a few things really stuck out to me. First, products for cats aren't made to last. And with the average cat living 13-17 years, they should. Every week I see hundreds of dollars out on the curb in cat trees that have broken, worn out, or just plain fell apart. Cats also tend to lose interest pretty quick, and I wanted to see if I could solve some of these issues.

Keel: Tell us about the furniture design and building process. What goes into it?

Missy: The final design came from a lot of trial and error and encouragement from my family. I went from sketching designs and hot gluing craft wood for prototypes, to investing in an entire workshop where I was able to create a finished product I was proud of. I have very high standards and if I was going to make them they had to be just right. Natural untreated wood, non-toxic stain and sealer, non-toxic glue and wood filler, well built, long lasting, reduced environmental impact, recyclable/compostable, customizable to your home, have storage, a scratch pad, be easy to clean up, can be put away, all while entertaining your good, good kitties. After months of hard work and testing, I finally did it!

“The final design came from a lot of trial and error and encouragement from my family,” Campau says.Keel: What is it like starting a business from home? And how about starting a business from home while helping your sons with virtual learning?

Missy: Finding the time and space can be challenging, but 10-out-of-10 would recommend starting a business from home. My eldest son started virtual learning about 3 years ago to make it easier to travel for acting, so we were already somewhat accustomed to it. Although my youngest wasn’t a fan at first, he likes it now. As far as managing all this at once? It’s tough, but very rewarding. It has also been an amazing learning opportunity for my boys.

Keel: What are your hopes for The Good Good Kitty? What are some of your business goals?

Missy: Right now my hope is to just be able to have a few orders a month, grow slowly, and continue to design more products. I truly enjoy making each one, and they have done wonders for my mental health during COVID-19. My long term goals are much more demanding and I will be continuing to research and learn more about eco-friendly ways to produce my products.

Keel: Since you moved back, what’s your favorite thing about living in the Blue Water area?

Missy: Like most, the water is one of my most favorite things, but what has always stood out to me is our creative community. The music, the theatre, the arts. So driven, so supportive, so encouraging and accepting.