This sounds like a great product for all those folks that love their furbabies!
I echo Andy Hamilton’s comments re: tooling up based on clear (and hopefully paid up) demand for the product.
Some questions that came to mind;
– Do you need to have mass production capability from day one when you ‘go live’? Or can you scale this as demand scales? If a key channel is online sales, and demand starts to sky rocket you can potentially push out delivery dates or make some products unavailable stating this is due to high demand – if the product is really good, I would say people will come back to you. If you can scale more slowly then that may increase your options for contract manufacturing.
– Do you have mechanical capability within your team? Commercial machines for anything are usually big, requiring some mechanical aptitude to setup and get running and then keep them running. If you have that, this might allow you to lease or hire equipment (a quick internet search suggests equipment is available) as your orders grow until you get to the point where you can choose to invest heavily or know you are big enough for someone else to commit to manufacturing for you.
If you don’t have that mechanical capability in the team, outsourcing the manufacture seems like the safest path – with a big focus then on building the relationship with the contract manufacturer.
Wishing you all the best!