By Mckenzie Moore
Founded in 2010, Orange Kat Gifts in Cedaredge offers the local community (and beyond) customized designs and handcrafted creations. Collaboration with other local businesses also allows for the expanding of its products.
The business was originally started near Denver, but owners Steve and Wendy Kelsey brought it with them to Cedaredge.
“We were looking to start building our own company, something that could support ourselves,” Steve Kelsey said. “We were on the outskirts of Denver. We built it up while my wife and I were still working other jobs. Eventually, it got to the point where we could bring it to the Western Slope.”
Orange Kat handcrafts an array of items, including military plaques that are made in multiple variations to represent branches and titles. While the business does not currently have a storefront, items are crafted at a shop on the owners’ property, then distributed to local businesses and online retailers. They have started to expand their inventory to a wider customer base, with more customization options.
“More recently, we’ve been doing more promotional items and working with companies and corporations to put their logos on things, as well as awards and trophies,” Kelsey said. “We do everything in house, we have a shop on our property that has a small wood shop for projects and engravings, and some printing machines for color items we do.”
Kelsey emphasized that what makes the business unique is its focus on personal customer service. For many products, designs are customized and printed for specific brands or businesses. With the addition of the printing machines able to do color, more options for logos and designs are available.
“One of the things is personal service, especially from the local community,” Kelsey said. “We try to stay active in the community. We’ll work with someone to get a design that works for them, and our gift items are just good value.”
Orange Kat works with multiple local businesses in Cedaredge, including Stacy’s on Main and the Grand Mesa Arts and Events Center. However, most of Orange Kat’s business comes from its online venues: in addition to a website, it has an Amazon marketplace and an Etsy store. However, Kelsey said that conducting business online is inherently different than interacting with customers in person.
“The vast majority of our business actually comes from Amazon,” Kelsey said. “[But] in person, you get to see and hold the item. For us, when talking with someone, we can get a flavor for their personality so we can really understand where they’re coming from and what they want if we’re doing a custom design.”
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Orange Kat’s online Amazon sales have taken a hit, as Amazon recently announced that it will be temporarily disabling shipment creation for sellers in order to prioritize high-demand items such as household necessities and medical supplies.
“They’re not accepting incoming merchandise that isn’t critical,” Kelsey said. “But that’s understandable, and I appreciate that Amazon’s doing what it can.”
In addition, the business supports local nonprofits, including the animal shelter in Cedaredge and other organizations around the state.
“We support the Surface Creek Animal Shelter here, doing glassware for some of their events and auctions,” Kelsey said. “Every year, we donate some portion of our proceeds to animal assisted therapy programs out of the Lakewood area, where they use animals as a therapeutic to help people with mental challenges.”
According to its website, Orange Kat also offers reduced pricing for qualified 501©(3) organizations that want to resell their products for fundraising. The business hopes to continue to be active in the community as it grows.
“We try to support as many of the different nonprofits as we can,” Kelsey said. “We’re just trying to stay involved in the community and help where we can. We love being involved in the local community.”
Looking forward to the future, Kelsey hopes that the Orange Kat Gifts business will continue to grow, including the potential of moving to Main Street in Cedaredge, making it more accessible to residents and tourists alike.
“We really would like to continue to grow our local presence, and we’re hopeful to eventually have a storefront on Main Street, where people can come in, see some examples of what we do and we can work with them,” Kelsey said.
Orange Kat Gifts has products available at Stacy’s on Main in Cedaredge as well as multiple online venues. Wholesale pricing is available for vendors looking to carry its products. More information can be found at orangekatgifts.com or on the business’s Facebook page @OrangeKatLLC.