“Be persistent but not annoying”: How to get your products listed with big retailers

Founder Andy Sutton got his luxury cat furniture start-up Catipilla stocked by Pets at Home within a year of launch.

by Kate Bassett

Getting a listing with a major retailer can be the turning point for a fledgling brand. The sudden exposure to a much larger audience can supercharge growth and help turn a start-up into a household name. But how do you make the initial connections with big brand buyers?

Former NASA engineer Andy Sutton started luxury cat-furniture maker Catipilla in 2018, after designing and building an innovative, wall-mounted climbing ramp for his own cat Smudge. Within a year of launch, Sutton managed to secure a listing with Pets At Home, the UK’s largest pet retailer.

Riding the wave of the booming petcare market, worth around £110bn globally, Sutton has sold more than 2,500 cat climbing frames, scratchers and resting points into 16 countries. Orders increased five-fold during lockdown last year and Sutton says he’s on the brink of signing new deals with major retailers in Europe and the US, with a mission to turn the Monmouthshire-based business into a worldwide brand. He shares his strategies for getting in front of buyers.

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