BEHIND THE SCENES
The Fun’s in the Details
Jennifer Cao, co-founder and vice president of ZippyPaws, finds success
at retail by getting serious about the business of fun.
The plush pet toy category is not for the faint of heart. Soft and cuddly as these products are, meeting consumer demands in this category can be tough,
yet Chino, Calif.-based ZippyPaws has
found a way to design toys that are both
lovable and durable. Novel manufacturing techniques combined with on-trend
designs have generated demand for ZippyPaws’ portfolio of plush pet toys since
it was founded less than 10 years ago.
And Jennifer Cao, co-founder and vice
president, envisions a future of continued
innovation and product development in
the toy category—and beyond—in the
years to come.
Pet Product News: Tell us about how you got started
in the pet industry. What drew you to the pet market?
Jennifer Cao: The idea for ZippyPaws was
PPN: What are ZippyPaws’ latest introductions on the
conceived in 2011 when I was just grad-
uating from the University of Southern
California as a business student. I was
constantly looking for toys for my gold-
en retriever, who loved squeaky plush
toys. However, I was disappointed in the
selection, quality and high prices of dog
toys on the market. I knew that with my
background in design and unique vision I
could create modern products that would
resonate with the younger generation of
market? And what inspired their development?
JC: We have catered to these demands by
PPN: What distinguishes your products from
reinforcing our dog toys with extra layers
of fabric and cross-stitching them together
to prevent punctures. One of ZippyPaws’
newest introductions is a border webbing
stitching technique called Z-Stitch, which
we’ve applied to several toy lines includ-
ing the new large Z-Stitch Grunterz and
outdoor toys Z-Stitch Floaterz. Z-Stitch, a
special stitching technique used for toys’
border webbing that covers more surface
area than regular stitches, makes the toys
extra strong. We’ve seen an increase in
demand for durable plush toys that can
withstand heavy chewers.
others on the market?
JC: ZippyPaws’ mission is to create products for the modern dog and dog owner,
which is why it is our priority to design
toys that are trendy and have personality.
With all of my products, I strive to create
toys that would appeal to both the dog
and the dog owner—hoping to encourage
dog owners to spend more quality time
interacting and bonding with their
We pride ourselves on the quality of
our products while maintaining low costs.
As part of our insistence on providing only
high-quality products, we focus intensely
on attention to detail. Furthermore, ZippyPaws designs and creates innovative
squeakers. ZippyPaws currently has four
unique squeakers: the Jiggler squeaker,
the Crescent squeaker, the Squeakie Tugz
squeaker and the Cuddlerz squeaker.
Each one makes noise differently, which
creates more ways to play and enjoy.
PPN: In what ways has your background in manufac-
turing and design impacted your business’s growth
JC: I was exposed to the toy industry quite
early in my childhood. My father has been
in the business for over 20 years, so I’ve
learned throughout the years about the
production, design and execution of a