Monday, September 5, 2016

Adventures in Wand-erland

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Photos, except for the one of Paris, are courtesy of
Chasity Rader, Ceylon's Wander-Land
I'm sure the title of this post has you wondering. Wonder no more. Ceylon's Wand-erland is the most remarkable assortment of hand-made cat teaser wands I've ever seen. Each is individual and so exquisite that if I didn't have a cat, I would buy several to put in a large vase in the living room as an accent piece. I was looking for a toy that a young cat could play with by herself the would still have the enjoyment of a wand toy. I have a collection of wonderful interactive toys but when my new little Chartreux, Paris, was sent by her breeder, Nancy Dionne, out West, she was 16 months old the first weekend in June. she walked out of her crate full of confidence and more energy that I could have imagined. Because Chartreux don't mature until they are 3 years old, I had a lively kitten in an adult-size body. One person with an interactive toy is not nearly enough to keep her busy. Neither are all of the other interactive toys I have for environmental enrichment. One more toy was needed. I stumbled across Ceylon's Wanderland in my search and found a form of heaven! I immediately set about finding the creator of such amazing toys. When I found Chasity Rader on Facebook, I immediately told her how much I loved my toys, that I had to buy one that could be tied onto something for solo play and would she let me interview her?!  She graciously agreed and sent me samples to test, including the coveted tie-on toy which became an immediate hit with Paris, as you can see.
Photo of Paris by the author


WHEN AND WHY DID YOU START MAKING CAT TOY WANDS? 
I began creating and bringing my designs to life in Feb. 2015, due to my longing of wanting to change my daily life, to reach a dream of mine, and to improve my family's welfare. It began with the simplest goal: to utilize my imagination to make a handful of teaser toys for myself and some friends. I had spent approximately 15 years showing cats, and I had amassed an impressive collection toys over the years. However, they never quite reached my personal expectations. I did not find them to be quality of toys I wanted; I desired durability and beauty that would last. None were ever as refined as I felt they could be. I had developed ideas for designs in my head for years, but I had yet to discover someone who had ever put my imaginative ideas to work. So, I decided to design and create my own toys in MY vision to achieve the happiness and dream I had been wanting. My teaser toys are designed with flair using only the best Swarovski, Swarovski Elements and other fine Austrian Crystals and cruelty free feathers. 

YOUR CREATIVITY IS REMARKABLE – HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN AN ARTIST? 
Yes, actually. I recall a memory of myself being in kindergarten, and I had proudly been drawing my own half-moon with a smile and a I remember my teacher making a really big deal of my artistry and creativity of my moons, because it was unusual for someone of such a young age to have such a mature and beautiful outlook. I have been an artist all my life – I have spent my life drawing, painting, writing poetry. My passion very much lies in creative outlets of expression. I aspire to create an individual masterpiece with a touch of personal flare in each teaser toy. 




HOW DID YOU START? 
I majored in Graphic Design at Purdue University, and that is where my creativity form changed into something not so much physical, but digital. I got hired for my first business card design job while I was still a student in college for a breeder that showed miniature poodles. That was immediately followed by a breeder of English and French Angora rabbits. These incredible opportunities are how I began to work with animal lovers while exercising my love for art and using my individual expression. And it didn't stop there - when I finished college, I became a graphic designer for independent breeders while staying at home to care for my baby daughter. Graphic designing was my world that I adored and dreamed about because of the connection and passion that I share for animals, as well. It gave me the opportunity to meet people also involved in the animal world, and designing for them was the chance of a lifetime. When I designed something for my clients that they fell head-over-heels for, I would become so overwhelmed with pride and joy. I have used my talents for years to bring smiles to my clients and their beloved pets which was what led me into the CFA World, where teaser toys entered my life. 



HOW DID THE BUSINESS ITSELF START? 

I was in the cat show world (CFA) for 15+ years. After spending some time away from the show world and apart from dear friends I had made over the years, it began to make my heart ache. I left the show world due to grief. I had missed it, and every day I grieved over the loss of a very beloved cat of mine. And with each day, I felt a longing for a connection for a part of the world I had been so familiar with. Taking time away and regrouping myself, I was able to tap into my creative spirit once again. It's uncanny how loss of life and temporarily veering off your path can lead to finding yourself once again and giving life new direction. I felt inspired to actually begin to change my life and to give myself new energy, connection, inspiration, and drive. After I created my first designs and sent my gifts out to friends, their feedback began to pour in, and then their friends wanted some. A chain reaction began as more and more strangers wanted a taste of what Ceylon's Wand-erland has to offer.



YOU HAVE MADE THEM INTO LASER LIGHTS, PENS, ETC. WHAT LED YOU TO MAKE THEM INTO SUCH UNUSUAL ITEMS INSTEAD OF SIMPLY TOYS? 
I love to create multipurpose toys the most. Although I truly do love my simple designs, for example my Snow Wand, it only serves one sort of titillation. You are left with only the aesthetic of visual stimulation. So in my more complex designs, I offer more functionality and stimulation for the cats. And really, it is all about bonding and playtime with your cats. A happy home is an owner and their cat expressing their playful nature with one another and loving every moment they spend. I live for the challenge of creativity and innovation. For every successful design that I get to bring my customers, there is a painstaking process as well as a multitude of failures behind them. 


These are the Laser Toys

DO YOU FIND THAT YOUR TOYS LAST LONGER THAN OTHERS? 

Without a doubt! I don't want to create something beautiful that will only last for a short period of time. That defeats one of my main purposes for doing this. I create various designs for all cats and breeds needs and in each stage of their life. Along with the durability that I put into my wands, I keep in mind the health and welfare of the cats themselves. For example, my hand-spun tinsel tops are meant to stretch and snap if a claw is snagged or tangled. It is meant to happen so swiftly and pain-free, your cat will not even know it happened. In addition to my tinsel tops, I use a mylar material that is as thin as a human hair. Therefore, there are no sharp edges in case any strands will be accidentally ingested like Christmas tinsel does. You will have no need to stress over the well being of your cat with the safe materials I use to create my wands. 




YOU’VE STARTED TO BRANCH OUT INTO OTHER ITEMS. COULD YOU PLEASE TELL ME ABOUT THEM? 
My newest venture is called 'Mermaid Thyme.' It's an all natural, Organic bath bomb brand that will be available on Etsy in the near future. I have always been a bathing goddess, myself. I infuse essential oils and other all- natural products for a beautiful, hand-molded rose shape. I love experimenting with new scents and creating a safe product to share with others. 

YOUR WANDS ARE BECOMING THE WORLD’S WORST-KEPT SECRET! WHERE CAN PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE U.S. FIND THEM FOR SALE 

Thank you and that makes me giggle. I have a etsy shop located at https://www.etsy.com/shop/CeylonsWanderland And my web site http://www.wand-erland.com which has the most photos of my created anywhere on the internet. 

My Personal FaceBook Chasiy Rader https://www.facebook.com/chasity.rader.7 

Wand-erland FaceBook Group page https://www.facebook.com/CeylonsWanderland/ 

Aside from my Personal shops, I'm fortunate enough to have a loving team standing beside me with their own personal love for all things Wand-erland. 

1) Adilah Roose is the woman to contact in Asia for your Wand-erland needs. She is also the only source in the world for the Masmera teaser toy. https://www.facebook.com/adilah.roose?fref=ts 

2) Australians have the lovely Wand-erland Australia team of Julie Lawrence & Amanda Herde for your Wand-erland source. https://www.facebook.com/WanderlandAustralia/?fref=ts and their web site http://wanderlandaustralia.wix.com/website Amamda Herde https://www.facebook.com/amanda.herde.1?fref=ts 

3) Julie Lawrence https://www.facebook.com/julie.lawrence.5458498?fref=ts 

4) Wand-erland Europe is home of Mette Lambert. She covers many countries in Europe and is the best contact to order your Wand-erland designer cat teaser toys. Wanderland Europe https://www.facebook.com/wanderlandeurope/?fref=ts with Mette Lambert https://www.facebook.com/mette.lambert.16?fref=ts 

 5)Donna Waskiewicz is your Vending source in the USA. Colorado is her home base and she travels to surrounding areas. Donna Waskiewicz https://www.facebook.com/poshpersian?fref=ts 


IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO SAY BUT HAVEN’T BEEN ASKED? 
I love my job. My favorite part about creating my Wand-erland handmade designer cat toys are the photos, videos, and e-mails I receive from the happy families and felines. I am so fortunate to have such strong connections with so many people around the world, and I certainly do not take it for granted. Most businesses out there don't get to see the end results of their creations, and I am fortunate enough to receive such blessings. Feedback is crucial to me. Before I release a design available for purchase, I generally send them to breeder friends, pet-owner friends, donations, and to cat judges. I do this to ensure my toys are thoroughly tested and to see if revisions must be made. I have no shortage of volunteers to test my teaser toys, and I truly love and appreciate them all. I'm forever going to be the lady with glue stuck to my hands, glitter in my hair and cat fuzzies on my cloths. I couldn't be happier to share my polished up cat teaser toys with you.





NOTE: The opinions in this blog post are mine alone. I received no monetary compensation for this blog post. I only received sample items to test. Paris thoroughly approves of them!

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

These toys are so unique and beautiful, appealing to cats and people alike. As you said, even if you didn't have a cat you'd get some of these wands to make a centerpiece for a home accent.
Thank you for telling us about this!

Bert

Gordon Brice said...

Chasity Rader and Wand-erland certainly seem to have hit the jackpot with this colourful and longlasting range of entertaining toys for our furry companions. I'm pleased for you that Paris has taken to them so readily.....a great opportunity for her to work off some of that excess kittenish energy and give you a break at the same time.
Good to see that this product is available worldwide and I'm sure that with the publication of your excellent blog/interview, many people will be looking to buy some of these attractive toys for their kittens' enjoyment.
Many thanks as always for sharing with us, Darlene.

Nancy Dionne said...

Darlene,
Thank you for providing me with a new source of wonderful cat toys. Paris looks like she is have a great time independently. I sure appreciate knowing the thought process that Chasity's puts into each product used in each item she creates. And a multi-purpose toy is great, if a kitty is bored with feathers they can chase a laser light for a while.
Chasity is correct in that after you have shown cats for so long and made such dear friends you do mourn not seeing them any more. It is wonderful that she has found a way to stay in touch with her cat show friends.
Thank you Chasity!

PetShrink said...

So beautiful you almost hate to let the cats at them to destroy them as we know the little predators eventually will. The idea of a toy they can play with independently is most appealing, especially for kittens with their indefatigable energy.

Vallie Szymanski said...

Yay! Love this! Thanks, Darlene! New toys for our black cats!!!! Decisions, decisions...Ronnie and Whitney3 love toys, especially ones that I can dangle...can you recommend one for me? I went to website and etsy...however I do not want to destroy my work day with one of the pens!!! I think they would really like feathers...

Layla Morgan Wilde ( Cat Wisdom 101) said...

These are the most stunning wand toys I've ever seen, and I've reviewed hundreds of cat products. Chasity combines artistry with practicality in a win win for cats and humans!

Darlene said...

Hi Bert, Thanks for your comment. I'm so glad that you, too, appreciate the esthetics of these beautiful wands!

Darlene said...

Thank you so much, Gordon! The hanging toy has been a real godsend for me. Paris does enjoy some alone play so this gives her one more thing to do and some additional environmental enrichment. The laser wand is also good for a change of pace and for someone who is not as mobile as others might be. I'm thrilled that the wands are available internationally!!

Darlene said...

Thanks, Nancy, You're so right. And our little Paris is in love with Wand-erland toys, as am I! The quality is well worth the price. So far, knock wood, she has NOT destroyed that interactive alone toy. Amazing!

Darlene said...

Thanks, PetShrink. You make some excellent points! I'm amazed at how well the hanging toy is standing up to Paris' energetic play! As a kitten in an adult body, she could be doing some damage but so far it looks the way it did the day it was unpacked!

Darlene said...

Hi Vallie, I'll ask Chasity to surf over and suggest one. My initial thought would be one of the gorgeous long wand toys so you can play with them together. There is less arm movement with the laser toy. Hmmm. They're all gorgeous. I think we need some expert input here! Choosing just one is nearly impossible!!!! You also have to consider how they like to play.

Darlene said...

Hi Layla, You certainly know your wand toys and I can't believe I found these before you did! I'm thrilled! Really! I was just stumbling around, looking for something and there it was - and there were all of those other gorgeous wands. They're made by a woman who really knows cats and that makes all the difference because she understands durability and attractiveness to cats as well as people. Can you tell that i'm impressed?!

Ceylons Wand-erlad said...

Hello everyone! I'm Chasity the creator of Ceylon's Wand-erland. It such a honor to be interviewed by Darlene a woman I admire and respect. Thank you dearly!
Everyone's comments just filled my heart with so much joy I got all teary eyed. LOL
I'm always working on new designs.

Vallie Szymanski... For your cats I'd recommend my new Faux teaser wand. I offer it in a shorter handle and a longer handle length. I created this specifically for a cat cafe who's mission is to help shelter cats find their loving forever homes. The owner of the cafe requested I use less expensive material for their wholesale option and no feathers. So I created a Vegan option that can handle all types of play. This is a new design cat teaser toy featuring acrylic beads. The Topper is Faux leather, satin cord and an AB flexible crystal strand. Tap this wand's topper on a table for a fun clink sound. It's soft and wispy malleable topper creates attractive movement for cats play and catch. This wand creates a colorful visual stimulation to bring out your cats natural instincts to play.
In addition I'd recommend a wand design I currently do not have in my etsy shop. It's called the Had Matter. The Had Matter is a gorgeous heavy duty teaser that has been specially designed to withstand the powerful paws of even the most athletic kitty. It has a feather top that can handle some chewing, genuine crystal beading and a short handle filled with glitter that matched and accentuates the Swarovski, Swarovski Elements and other fine Austrian Crystals.
Lastly, I recommend the March Hare that you see Paris playing with. It's the spring hanging design I created for independent cat play. Length from the hook to the bottom of one is approx 14". Fully stretched out is approx 38". Naturally each one is slightly different depending on length of the feathers. Materials, Playful furry puff, feathers, silky thread tassel, leather tassel, 14K Gold Plated Zinc Alloy and the bungee cord is plastic with a metal clip. Each USA Order March Hare comes with my own home made cat nip oil spray with dried cat nip inside. It's included so you can spray the puffs to give your kitty an extra special delight if desired. These are glass spray bottles. This design offers something for everyone in terms of playful textures for chewing. An additional bonus are the parts are replaceable so if anything gets too chewed up over time, we can replace that.

Layla Morgan Wilde... you've tested so many cat related products I'd be proud as punch for you to try some of my Wand-erland creations!

Bert & Gordon Brice ... Thank you dearly for your comments.

Nancy Dionne... It's a pleasure to meet you. I really appreciate the mutual understanding that we share with the good old days of showing.

PetShrink... Naturally over time some materials used in my toys may not hold up forever. However I do my absolute best to create them to last as long as possible with responsible use. I offer repairs and I create every wand to never be thrown away. For example my Muchness wand that's a laser teaser toy is made from a stainless steel case and you simply unscrew it to change the batteries. I do my best to prevent waste. Waste in materials used as well as waste in my customers pocket book. I don't know of another cat toy maker that has an open door policy to sending back any/ever toy they make for repairs. I'm hoping to help pave a new road in terms of using safe materials, customer service, practicality, function and longevity. I really appreciate your kind comment and allowing me to further elaborate on an area I didn't touch upon in my interview.

I'd Love to get to know everyone better and answer any questions you may have for me. Please send me a friend request on FaceBook. https://www.facebook.com/chasity.rader.7

Vallie Szymanski said...

Darlene and Chasity, thanks so much, their birthday is October 17th...time to shop!!!

Ceylons Wand-erlad said...

Vallie Szymanski I'm in the process of creating a Fall design. I'll know in the next few weeks if it passes the tests or not. If your babies are Fall babies I bet you'd like this one. Send me FB friend request so we can keep in touch!
Sincerely,
Chasity

Lance Hirthler said...

You have such a nice blog Darlene!!! You are so talented!!! I really liked all the toys you made. So beautiful. Keep posting:)
Samantha

Darlene said...

Hi Samantha, I'm glad you like my blog but if you read it you would discover that I am not the one who makes the cat wands. I'd like to challenge you to go back and read the post instead of just spamming for Lance Hirthler, whomever he may be. :-)