Hey there, we’re Leili and Kevin - the founders of Supakit.
We’ve been cat lovers for a very long time but it was never really our intention to build a cat-focused business. Just a few years ago, we were actually both working in TV. While Kevin was off filming in amazing locations like the South Pole and at the top of volcanoes, Leili was using her background in science to develop popular science programmes for the likes of the BBC.
Fast forward and we’re both fully submerged in the world of cats! Not only have we built a cat-focused business but our love for cats has encouraged us to embark on more advanced learning and understanding of cats and their behaviours – Leili, who has a degree in Biology, was inspired to unlock the minds of cats even more, and is now a fully qualified animal behaviourist with a specialism in feline behaviour.
So you might be wondering how we made the leap from TV to cat accessories. Well, it all started with a missing cat of our own…
Lola goes missing
Our cats Lyra and Lola used to abandon their breakaway collars at every opportunity. Within hours of having them on, they’d wriggle out of them, leaving plenty of discarded collars around the house.
Eventually, we gave up and thought to ourselves: ‘how important can a collar be?’ Little did we know, we were just about to find out…
When Lola, the youngest of our clan, suddenly went missing, we panicked. One day turned into two and we put missing posters up everywhere. People were contacting us, saying they’d spotted a cat matching her description, but every time we turned up, it wasn’t her.
Our hearts were sinking as two days turned into three but when Leili tweeted the missing poster to all our local newspapers, it was picked up by a guy who said that he might have spotted Lola.
He said his son wanted to adopt the cat as they thought Lola was a stray, and that’s what had made him remember her so vividly.
Thinking it was another non-starter, we went to his house with a little glimmer of hope in our hearts. Standing in his garden, we shook Lola’s food and called her name.
To our surprise, we heard a faint ‘meeeeoooow’ in the distance. We called her again and the little meow sounded closer.
Then all of a flurry, we heard her ‘meow’ getting louder and louder with a th-donk between each one. She was leaping from fence to fence between the terraced houses towards us! When she finally reached us, she jumped like a flying squirrel into Kevin’s arms.
When we say we were emotional…well, even the guy who owned the house was welling up.
Once we’d got over the relief of finding our little runaway and she was safely curled up at home, it hit us that we very easily could have lost her forever.
Before she went missing we had figured that she was microchipped anyway, so she didn’t need a collar and ID tag. While she was away we realised that her microchip could only help if she made it to a vet or a shelter where it could be scanned. How would she get there?
Maybe someone would recognise her from the missing poster – but would they feel confident enough to pick her up and then drive her to a vet or shelter? Probably not, unless she was visibly malnourished, or injured, or…worse. And that didn’t bear thinking about.
We knew we had to get visible ID on both our little friends, to give them the best chance of getting home if this happened again.
The fact that none of the previous collars had worked with the cats proved that there was a need for something different.
It just so happened that around the same time Lola went missing, Leili had been in touch with the vet to see how we could keep the peace between Lola and Lyra who had started fighting.
The vet mentioned that as Lola was the youngest, she probably had a lot of hunting energy that she needed to get out of her system. Her recommendation? Using natural material to make toys so she’d expend her hunting energies on them, rather than her sister.
Because of that chat, we had lots of leather around the house that Lola had been playing with. Scent is a big thing for cats and these leather pieces smelled so natural to Lola that Leili had the great idea to create a collar out of them.
When we put the natural leather collar on Lola, she didn’t even realise it was there! We’d finally found the thing that worked. Supakit was born.
The Supakit cat harness
A year later, our community let us know that they wanted harnesses for their cats. For years, people have believed that our independent little cats aren’t trainable in the same way dogs are, but it’s starting to become more well-known that that’s not the case.
As our community discovered that their cats could benefit from time outdoors and enjoy spending structured time with their owners, they asked us to make a harness that would help them do that.
We got to work applying the same principles of natural materials + streamline design to make a harness that cats would love to wear.
We worked with cats all around the world to put the harness through its paces, including a handpicked group of notorious harness Houdini cats!
With the help of these expert escape artist kitties, we were able to create a harness that could resist their breakout attempts and keep cats secure on their adventures.
With our new product launching, we started to realise that demand was becoming a little more than we could handle from our London home! As popularity for the harnesses grew, we decided we needed to hand over our manufacturing to people who really knew their stuff.
Crafted by artisan manufacturers
In southern Spain sits a gorgeous whitewashed town where people have passed their trade down through generations, specialising in producing beautiful leatherwork.
Working for top fashion brands, these guys knew what they were doing.
We felt we could really put our trust in them to create our products. So, we collaborated with these artisan manufacturers to ensure all our Supakit accessories are crafted with absolute precision.
It feels surreal to say that the items we designed in our home are now created in a town that produces the most exclusive leathergoods in the world - we’re pretty chuffed with that.
We still pinch ourselves - we never imaged that one day, our products would be handcrafted in Spain and delivered from our warehouses based in the United Kingdom and United States of America to over 60 countries worldwide!
A company we’re proud of
A year later, now that we had a little help on the manufacturing side of things, we found we had more time to think about the business and we threw all our efforts into building the true ethos of Supakit.
We started by concentrating on making cat accessories that were vegan and eco-friendly. Created with sustainable materials, we saw that it was our responsibility to play our part in becoming a greener company.
Enter our cork ‘leather’ range, which has all of the natural benefits of leather, but is vegan and ultra-sustainable too, which our community absolutely raves about.
More recently, we also partnered with an amazing cat sanctuary called Blind Cat Rescue, who offer a lifetime home to blind FIV+ (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus positive) and FELV+ (Feline Leukaemia Virus positive) cats.
For every order placed, we donate two meals to help the beautiful cats at Blind Cat Rescue.
The Supakit philosophy
We’re years in to running Supakit now but we’re still overjoyed every time someone from our community sends us a message to tell us that our accessories have worked for them.
It’s an amazing feeling to know that creating something to help our own family has helped many others too. We hope you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
Welcome to the family,