Have you ever seen a cat in a yellow hat? I hadn’t until I came across the Oliver Poons Children’s Company. Founded by Lauryn Alyssa Wendus, the company is dedicated to providing smiles and happiness through their children’s books for young readers, along with their educational workbooks and games. Oliver Poons, the main character in the books, was inspired by Lauryn’s own adopted cat, Oliver.
What I love about this company is that they partner with animal shelters and rescue groups across the U.S. and donate 15% of their online sales. And the buyer gets to choose the shelter or rescue!
A Conversation with Lauryn
What is Oliver Poons Children’s Company all about?
We like to say our mission is to bring happiness — Happy Children, Happy Causes, and Happy Careers!
- Happy Children – Our books and accessories are designed to be lighthearted and bring a smile to children and adults alike! Oliver Poons and his friends are happy children’s characters who bring a little whimsy and fun into the day, yet whose sweet and innocent nature make for the perfect bedtime story. At the Oliver Poons Children’s Company, we believe every child deserves a happy day and happy dreams!
- Happy Causes – Our vision for our business has always extended beyond the products. We hope to be able to bring smiles and happiness to causes supporting children, education, and animal rescue efforts by donating a portion of our proceeds throughout the year.
- Happy Careers – The Oliver Poons Children’s Company was created partly because of my inability to work a traditional job from a prolonged illness with Lyme disease. It’s a passion of mine to help others in similar situations also create new work for themselves through the website differentwork.org.
Will you talk about the importance of wanting to give back? And what is Yellow Hats for Cats?
I’ve always had a strong desire to help others. It’s a great feeling to be creating a business that is not only helping me create a new life for myself after illness, but also able to give back to other great organizations.
In our #YellowHatsforCats campaign, we’re partnered with animal shelters across the U.S. to which we donate 15% of our online sales. Customers can choose a participating group to benefit with their purchase on the dropdown menu on each of our product pages. Our goal is to have at least one participating group in every state!
We started #YellowHatsforCats because as much as the Oliver Poons Children’s Company is about children, it’s about animals too! My lovable rescue cat, Oliver, is the inspiration behind the character, Oliver Poons. Animals have such a unique ability to bring love and companionship into all of our lives. At the Oliver Poons Children’s Company, we’re passionate about supporting the organizations who help rescue our future best fur-friends!
How do you select the animal rescue groups and shelters to support?
We’re open to conversations with any group that is interested in participating that treats animals in a humane way. We know there are a lot of smaller groups out there in desperate need of funding, so we want to remain approachable so all groups can benefit. We will, however, be capping our number of participants at no more than three groups per state just so our dropdown list doesn’t become too overwhelming by state.
Take a look on yellowhatsforcats.com and see if your state is in need of a group! We love suggestions from our supporters too. We want to make this campaign successful for all groups and have people feel excited that they’re supporting someone in their local community!
Now onto the real Oliver…How did he come into your life?
I adopted Oliver as a rescue from the group No Kitten Left Behind in East Hartford, CT shortly after graduating college. I had always grown up with cats and it seemed necessary to start my adult life off on the right foot!
Oliver became my constant companion through what I’ll now call my “tumultuous twenties”! I went through a number of life changes – moving, ending relationships, changing jobs, and then, the most significant – a case of Lyme disease that turned very severe and caused me to be unable to work a traditional job for the last 4+ years. Oliver has been by my side through all of it, so it’s no surprise he secured a role as the main character in my children’s books!
What is it that you love most about Oliver?
Oliver’s companionship has certainly been a huge gift in my life. I never expected my twenties to be filled with a major illness. In addition to the physical ramifications that illness brings, the social ramifications can also be difficult. Having a best friend to keep me company and make me smile on even the toughest of days has made him one special cat!
Anything else we should know about the company?
My mother, Lois, is the illustrator behind the Oliver Poons Children’s Company. With Oliver as my inspiration and my mother as my illustrator, this business is definitely a family affair!
Anything else we should know about you?
I started writing children’s stories amidst my recovery from Lyme disease when neurological symptoms caused a sudden switch to me using my left hand. While this was an odd symptom, it was a positive one! I explored writing with my left hand more as time went on and found myself writing creatively. Soon, the Oliver Poons stories were born and the rest is history!
Thank you to Lauryn for sharing with us the Oliver Poons Children’s Company! It is wonderful that they give back to rescues and shelters all across the country! If you’d like to purchase any of the Oliver Poons books, you can do so at their website. And check to see what rescues and shelters receive the 15% donation in your area!
If you are a rescue or shelter and would like to be listed on the Oliver Poons website as an option, you can message the company on any of their social media channels. Remember that they limit the listings to three per state.
Connect with Oliver Poons Children’s Company at: oliverpoons.com, yellowhatsforcats.com, instagram.com/yellowhatsforcats, instagram.com/oliverpoons, instagram.com/therealoliverpoons and twitter.com/oliverpoons.
The Oliver Poons books are adorable and you can see previews of them on their website.