- Is Orange Cat Wraps a business or a hobby?
The best way I can explain the concept of Orange Cat Wraps is to tell you a story. My father-in-law creates intricately crafted art objects from random pieces of wood. Ornaments, picture frames, boxes… all are impressively carved with his scroll saw, the result of years of experimenting with a wide range of patterns and techniques. He gives away everything he creates, to the amazement of his family, friends and neighbors, who are the fortunate recipients of his impeccable craftsmanship and goodwill.
“This is phenomenal!” We exclaim praise for his work while running our hands along the smooth edges and examining the fine details. “You should sell these. You would make a killing.”
His reply is always the same: as soon as it becomes a business, it stops being fun.
I understand this perspective completely, and compare it to the way I feel about gift wrapping for others. Orange Cat Wraps is a creative outlet and a hobby, and while many of my OCW friends give me money to help offset the cost of supplies, the amount is completely at their own discretion, and there have been times I did not accept a donation at all, wanting the wrapping itself to be a gift to them. Because of the vast amount of premium product I use, it is likely that even if I wanted to make it into a business, it would not be sustainable. There are few who would have an interest in paying what it actually costs to wrap most of the gifts which leave my workshop, and I would be mortified to admit the investment I have tied up in supplies. In my mind, it is a hobby, albeit a costly one, not unlike golf, model rockets, or most forms of collecting.
2. If you did accept payment, how much is reasonable?
Over the past five years, everyone has been extremely gracious and generous with donations for supplies, with very few exceptions. I also appreciate those who opt instead to make a charitable donation in honor of the wrapping, in any amount, to the charity of their choice. The first year I wrapped (2016), I requested donations to the renovation of the historic Miller Theater, and that was a fun way to make it a form of philanthropy. People have good instincts about the value of the wrapping and appreciation for the time and care I invest in the process. If I had to place a number on it, in general, about $3-6 per package is the best range, depending on the size, and especially if I have to provide the box. I am a box snob, and although the paper, ribbon, tags and decor are all costly, the premium boxes are exceedingly the primary source of the money suck.
3. How many gifts do you wrap each holiday?
Normally around 200. There are friends who trust me with their entire Christmas, and others who save the premium wrapping for their most special gifts.
4. Is there anything you do not wrap?
Because of the aforementioned aversion to anything but a nice gift box, I struggle with objects of an especially large and unusual size. I will occasionally use a gift bag and glam it up with ribbons and decor, but only if there is no way to find the right box for the present. Large kitchen items tend to throw me the biggest curveball.
5. How did you settle on the name Orange Cat Wraps?
My beloved orange cat Roland, who passed away this year, always hung out with me when I wrapped. He played a little with the string, but mostly he just hovered nearby and observed. I called him my wrapping supervisor. Including him in the name was an easy decision, and when my friend Samantha of Design Persuasion created the awesome logo, I was all in. I have OCW stickers, tags, and even golf shirts (thanks to my husband Kevin, who worked with Samantha one Christmas to get them made for me).
Kevin and I have a new orange kitten, Rascal, but he lives up to his name and cannot be trusted near the OCW workshop. Grey and white cat BT is the honorary cat for this year, as she is subdued and will keep me company without destroying anything. Here she is, sleeping on a gift, but I would like to note that the gift is to my Mom and she has cats, and I would never let my cat sleep on other people’s presents! Rascal can only watch through the door. It may be a few years before he calms down enough to be included.
6. Any favorite products or tools?
In addition to being a snob about boxes, I am a big believer in quality scissors and premium paper. My favorite brand is Sugar Paper; they offer an entire line-up of boxes, paper, ribbon, tags and ornamentation. Their aesthetic is clean and modern, which I love, though I usually jazz it up with a little extra Angie-styling.
My Mom introduced me last year to Paper Source, and they have an array of unbelievable paper. I even framed some of it as art. I have also found some wrapping paper from them which has a very thin, silky-vinyl feel when cutting. It is exquisite.
7. If I am interested in getting something wrapped, what should I do?
The best way is to send me an email. I do have a contact form on the website that goes straight to me. Facebook and other social media messaging is fine, but I do not check them as often. I can meet new OCW friends somewhere to pick up the gifts and bring back when complete. I am also happy to customize the gift if the recipient has a favorite color or theme (angels, music, Frozen, Snoopy, etc). It is rewarding to wrap if I know a little about the person on the other end, and my collection of ornaments and paper is large enough, that I can usually match the design to the recipient.
8. Do you have a portfolio of all your work?
While I often post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, the most comprehensive collection of pictures is on Pinterest. There, I have the images ordered by category, and you can see some other special occasion wrapping and even gift baskets.
9. Who are your wrapping idols?
I am a fan of Jane Means (Gift Wrap Guru) and have her book. I also greatly admire the Gift Wrap Goddess Mia Canada, owner of That’s A Wrap Atlanta, who has an inspiring entrepreneurial story and a unique flair for upscale presentations. My sister and I hope to travel to Atlanta one day to take one of her classes. We have wanted to for many years, but life (including job changes, cancer, pandemic, etc) has always gotten in the way. I know one day we will go, and have an amazing time, as sisters always do, but also because, from what I can tell from following Mia on social media and reading about her work, when she does something, she is committed to excellence, and I am confident that includes her classes.
10. Final question-any final thoughts?
I have to thank Kevin for allowing me to convert entire rooms in our home to this endeavor. I know it usurps an enormous amount of space, time and resources, yet he is supportive because he knows how much I enjoy it. I am grateful to have him in my life and on team OCW. He is also helping babysit the new kitten while I wrap. Aren’t they adorable?!