A Kinda Short History of Pawstar
Pawstar was founded by Darkfox Shadowpaws and Vixis-Nai Starpaws in the basement of their home in Wisconsin. After attending that year's GenCon (a convention showcasing tabletop RPG's), Vixis was saddened by the severe lack of kitty ears available to wear. In fact, these cat-tastic types of accessories were not really available in the market at all. So Vixis and Darkfox decided to produce these products themselves, because meow. The very first Pawstar products including the classic Kitty Hat and Kitty Bell Collar were created at this time. By March 2003 Pawstar products made their debut on eBay
The very first Paw Warmers were created.This is the year Chuffins the Happy Fox and Thimbles the Ragdoll Kitty were born.
Pawstar had their first team member join.The demand for Pawstar products was growing quickly and they needed more stitching paws! In November of this year Pawstar exhibited at their first convention, Midwest FurFest in Schaumburg, IL.
Midwest FurFest ended up as a great success! Clearly it was time to hop on the convention train. *toot* *toot*In this year Pawstar exhibited at 12 conventions in 9 states.There was a lot more product to be made, so Pawstar scaled up and used the entire basement of their home.The initial production space was 1000 sq. ft. and included a cutting room, sewing and leather room, inventory, shipping and receiving, and photography areas. In this year Pawstar also added embroidery items to their catalog.
2007 - 2008
Shows were going really well, so Pawstar booked 32 conventions in each of these years. In the early days Pawstar would bring production pieces on the road. It was really a show to see our staff finishing and customizing products right in our vendor booth! Pawstar was picking up steam and experiencing a lot of demand so they started booking three booths at some of the larger shows and packing rental vans with their products. This was a challenging year as Pawstar continued to operate full swing in the face of a national recession and soaring gas prices. Onward to the moon!
Level Up!The amount of awesome that was being created was more than the basement workspace could contain!The decision was made to move Pawstar's operations into a small industrial warehouse in Zion, IL, increasing their production space to three times what it had been.Pawstar also started laser cutting operations in this year which allowed more precise patterns and higher output.Among the new products offered in this year were their iconic cyber respirators.This was also the first year they were able to offer the popular "Monster Fur" in a full rainbow variety!
2010 - 2011
Pawstar continued to expand their catalog and was running the convention circuit year round. The convention sales staff was now a solid team of five people. New hybrid products appeared around this time such as the furry kitty bell collar, tail cuffs, accessories to decorate fleece hats, and acrylic earrings. Finally the goal of featuring a featuring a full head to toe look was possible and showcased in their convention display. Customers were now able to put together a very noticeable Pawstar outfit consisting of an animal ear fur trimmed hat, goggle accessories, paw warmers, leg warmers, and tail of choice. Notable new products in these years were the Pawstar branded clothing and new shrug styles. More warehouse space was annexed, doubling the available space and now Pawstar had 7 team members!
2012 - 2013
The convention display got some upgrades.In booth displays now included their signature black and purple checkered floor and the shopping kiosk.In 2013, their fluffy products crossed the ocean for the first time as Pawstar was a vendor at Kawaii Con in Oahu, Hawaii.Pawstar had now grown to the point where the owners could focus on making products that were aligned with their other personal interests and so the DarkStar Fusion brand was created.This brand focused on to gothic, industrial, and futurewear interest groups.Pawstar product catalog continued to expand and new products in these years were the acrylic Cute Bit jewelry, furry vests and skirts, and the Paws at You and puffet hood line of hats.At the end of this period, Pawstar had grown to 11 team members.
2014 - 2017
Here comes... MEGAPAW!Pawstar was able to purchase a new company fleet vehicle.This would make convention traveling much more convenient.By this time they were also able to start launching exclusive fur styles unique to the company and never before seen on the market, bringing the fluffy game to a whole new level!Product innovation took a new turn as Pawstar began producing a line of animal themed hooded sweatshirts, poseable bunny ears, full hand paw mitts, fluffy foot covers, and kigurumi!By the end of 2017, Pawstar had effectively maxed out the available operating space in their warehouse and began the search for a new home...
2018 - 2019
One of the most challenging periods of expansion for Pawstar was in these pivotal years.During this time Pawstar was able to exhibit at an international show (FanExpo in Toronto, Canada) for the first time.Two new brands were launched in these years, PawstarKids and FurSupply.The PawstarKids brand was created primarily for original customers were now having little furs of their own, and FurSupply was made to serve the needs of the fur crafting community.The biggest change in this time by far was the acquisition of a new Pawstar headquarters in Racine, WI.With a whopping footprint of 32,000 sq. ft., Pawstar will not be struggling with space needs for quite some time.
2020 - 2021
Early on in this year the world was faced with an unprecedented challenge as the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the world. By executive order businesses in Wisconsin were forced to close or temporarily scale back operations to necessary staff, which for Pawstar was five team members in order to continue operations while maintaining social distancing. Doing their part to help manage the pandemic, Pawstar began mass producing face masks and offering them for sale and donation though every channel possible. Through hard work and purr-severance, Pawstar was able to survive through this period and over time recall all team members back. During these years Pawstar expanded their fur line to include new colors such a Merlot Monster Fur, Orange Wolf Fur, and Snow Leopard. Awesome new products were launched such as the FoxBlox and CatStax, and seasonal products such as holiday hats, Candy Corn Kitty, and the Spooky Species line were also released.
It is an exciting experience to be able to add curiosity and excitement to the lives of those who enjoy our products. We give thanks to everyone who has become part of our story throughout our adventure and we are always happy to live up to the Pawstar motto: Make. Mod. Meow!
-The Pawstar Team