I recently received one of the most creative marketing emails involving cats I had seen in a long time. It came from Wood Violins, a company created by acclaimed musician Mark Wood. Wood Violins handcrafts absolutely amazing electric violins, and from the marketing email, it became clear to me that they have some feline assistance with their work.
I first met Mark Wood ten years ago when he was touring with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Until then, I had never heard anyone play an electric violin, and I was mesmerized. Fourteen years ago, Mark created Electrify Your Strings, a music educational phenomenon that inspires students, teachers, and local communities by injecting a high voltage dose of energy and much-needed funding into a school’s music education program. Mark also created the Mark Wood Rock Orchestra Camp, a place for adventurous musicians and vocalists to explore the exciting creative terrain of improvisation, performance, and technology.
I knew Mark and his wife, musician Laura Kaye, are cat lovers, and I wanted to learn more about exactly how their cats support the family business. Laura graciously answered some of my questions.
Tell us a little about your cats.
We have 3 cats. Mallomar and Melody (aka “the girlies”) are gorgeous velvety tuxedo twin sisters and are both 3 years old, with the softest bellies on the planet. We adopted them from a great animal rescue organization called Last Hope several months after the passing of our beloved cat Wesa, who was 21 year old. Ziggy is a silver tabby with incredible markings and is the newest member of our family at a year and half old. He “chose” us when we first met him at a friend’s house whose cat just had kittens – he curled right up in our son’s lap and went to sleep. The rest is history! The girlies dote on him like he’s their little brother – one of them is always trying to give him a bath! He is one of the most amazing creatures ever and has a motorboat purr. All three of them are extremely social and greet everyone who comes to the door.
When did you first decide to use them in your marketing materials?
Totally by accident! We were gearing up for an e-news blast last year and laid out a selection of our violins, t-shirts, and other merch to photograph. Within seconds, all three cats were rolling around in them, mock fighting, and posing. I quickly grabbed my camera and started shooting. Thus, the Mark Wood E-News Cat Editions were born!
How do they “help” you with your business?
When we’re not touring with EYS, we work from our home. Running our own business is incredibly intense. Our cat trio provides us with a mountain of soothing, purring stress relief. Plus, they help with our shipping by inspecting each box thoroughly – from the inside out!
I would imagine that your cats are used to hearing music all the time. However, not all cats enjoy loud music. How do yours react to music?
There’s always so much music in our home that they’re very used to it. The only time they jump is when Elijah (Mark and Laura’s son) starts to play his drums.
Do they have a favorite music genre or instrument they like to listen to?
All three of them are quite social and they like to be wherever we are. Whether Mark is in his studio composing with his Viper or I’m in my room vocalizing, there’s always a cat nearby, enjoying a private concert. Thankfully, they seem to be sensitive to the fact that we’re artists and they don’t play favorites!
How do they get compensated for their work at Wood Violins?
Massive amounts of affection combined with daily doses of fresh turkey and table scraps! Ziggy in particular is a bottomless pit – we call him the “Hoover.” Mallomar is the slowest of the bunch – we put little bits of turkey near her and it takes her so long to decide what she wants to do with it that in most cases, Ziggy swoops in and grabs it out from under her nose.
For more information about Mark Wood, Laura Kaye, Electrify Your Strings, and Mark Wood Rock Orchestra Camp, please visit http://www.MarkWoodMusic.com.
All photos courtesy of Laura Kaye, used with permission.