Small-business profile: CuddleBugs is a comfortable fit for local entrepreneur


Christy Vander Haagen is a mother of two who suddenly discovered plenty of time on her hands with her two daughters at school. So she looked around for something to do and didn’t have to look far.

The “mom” to four Pugs – yes, four – Vander Haagen is an admitted “animal lover.” Why else would she have FOUR Pugs. She also likes to sew – yes, the light bulb just went off.

Three months ago Vander Haagen combined her love of animals and sewing and created CuddleBugs.

“I began this business as a way to earn income for my family as well as to do something about which I am passionate, sewing and pets,” said Vander Haagen, who lived in Ann Arbor before moving to Dexter 13 years ago. “I started making CuddleBugs simply because my Pugs would burrow under the store-bought beds I used to put in their crate. I would go to get them in the morning and they would be under it.

“I enjoy sewing so I decided I would design something they could not only burrow under/into but lay on or in if they wanted to.”

Welcome to CuddleBugs – Crazy Cozy Beds for Pets.

There are a “couple really cool things” about the CuddleBug that Vander Haagen believes sets her business apart from ‘regular’ beds.

“One, it can be used in three different ways: As a flat, crazy cozy bed; as a cave for burrowing; and, as standard round bed with extra coziness,” she says. “So, it’s three beds in one.

“If the customer determines he/she wants to have it set up as a cave for burrowing, the rim of the bed is firm enough that it stays open for ingress and egress.

“Two, all of my CuddleBugs are made locally, by hand and in fabrics the customer chooses. I can make them tiny for guinea pigs and gigantic for Great Danes. I have made CuddleBugs for skunks, dogs, cats and hedgehogs.”
Her beds are currently available at the Dexter Mill or through her web site. Prices range from $15 to $150, depending on size. Embroidery also is available.

The CuddleBugs she makes for cats can come with an optional ‘crinkle’ to them -folks should specify on the order if they want to crinkle their CuddleBug. And anyone who places an order for a CuddleBug in February will receive a free CuddleBuddy (a cute squeaky toy) to match their CuddleBug.

“Most of my sales come from recommendations, word of mouth and Facebook,” she says. “I also attend local craft and pet shows and plan to do more.”

A native of Grosse Ile, Vander Haagen moved to Ypsilanti for college and then later to Ann Arbor where she met her husband. She graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a degree in English and Journalism. The family now calls Dexter home.

And Vander Haagen is right at home with her new business.

“I am currently working on a couple new products in the CuddleBug line, one that will help keep pets cooler in the summer months,” she says.

For more information on CuddleBugs, log onto



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