Notes From the Janery Studio
Today, I’m back with another installment of our Retailer Profiles to bring you the fabulous KitTea - the first cat cafe in San Francisco and the nation! We love KitTea’s dedication to cat rescue and their work with local rescue organizations in San Francisco.
I was honored to interview Courtney recently. Here’s what she had to say about KitTea:
KitTea is a really unique business. How would you describe it?
We are part feline/human sanctuary, where cats and humans come to meet and part cafe & tea lounge.
What inspired you to open a "Cat Cafe" and when did you open your doors for business?
I had many "mewses" that inspi-purred me... however, I was meow-tivated to create a space that could help both cats and people. I think it's important for people to have access to share space and interact with animals - it fosters empathy, compassion and serotonin (the happiness hormone).
KitTea began for me back in 2013 - which is when it was first established. It took a long time to work with the city around zoning regulations, as mixing cats and a cafe hadn't been done in the United States before. We were finally able to open our doors to the public with a big hurrah in June of 2015.
How has the San Francisco community reacted to the cat cafe concept?
We've had a spectrum of different reactions from extreme enthusiasm and love for what we are doing - to absolute confusion and people bringing their own cats to play in the cat lounge. Overall the community has been incredibly supportive and wonderful, we wouldn't be open for business if it weren't for all of the animal lovers in San Francisco and around the nation.
What does your store do especially well? What makes you stand out among the rest?
I might be biased, but I think we have some a-meow-zing cats, puns, friendly staff and some very unique merchandise. We want everyone to feel relaxed and comfortable, so we keep the aesthetics zen and minimalist. For everyone who is visiting the cat lounge, we start them off with a bottomless cup of our loose leaf Japanese Green Teas from our partnered farm in Kyoto, Japan and this offering sets the tone for decompression and relaxation.
In addition to the cafe, you also have a gift shop. Alongside Janery's Catnip Cuddlers, what other types of products do you sell?
Our cat purr-chandise is the best in town! We sell cat tipis, socks decorated with cats, cat stickers, cat cards, cat books, wine for cats, cat keychains, cat earrings, a massive selection of cat lapel pins, cat toys and I cat go on... If it has a cat on it, we'll sell it!
Do you have your own in house line of products our customers might love? If so, what’s the name of your in house line and when did you begin offering that collection?
We have our KitTea branded items for sale e.g. jewelry, shirts, sweatshirts, mugs and we recently created a run of t-shirts with Wonder Womeow on the front.
Do you have store mascots or permanent store pets? If so, tell us about them!
We do! We rescued 11 cats that were at risk of being euthanized/special needs and they live in the space full-time and have their own colony. We have also taken on hospice cats, so they can live out their last days in a nice home, built exclusively for their needs and an in-house veterinarian Dr. Kelly.
What's the best way for customers to stay in touch with Kit Tea?
You can find us on social media! Our Instagram is the cutest around and our Facebook and website are also informative.Kit Tea Cafe96 Gough St. San Francisco, CA
Janery is thrilled to have KitTea as a retail partner, and not just because of their arsenal of feline puns. :) Whether you’re a San Fran local, planning to visit or just love stalking cute kitties on Instagram, we think you will love KitTea.
All Images Courtesy Courtney Hatt / KitTea
I’m excited to share a new series here on our blog - Retailer Profiles! I am always honored when Janery’s products grace the shelves of fabulous, locally-owned retail stores, and now you can meet some of them!
If you love all things modern, or are crazy about your furry feline, then boy have we got the shop for you: Meet Oh My Cat, an online boutique for cats and their humans.
All Images Courtesy of OhMyCatShop.com
Oh My Cat opened it’s doors in 2017, but Cat - yes that’s really her real name - and her crew have been selling their unique, handmade House of Cat items locally at markets in the Toronto, Canada area and on Etsy for several years.
Oh My Cat will have you rethinking your idea of a typical “cat lady”. (Did you see these undies?!) I love that they offer high quality, handmade, modern cat lady gifts and cat accessories. In addition to that, Cat and her team promote eco-friendly items whenever they can, which is important to us here at Janery too.
They also make time to give back: Earlier this year Oh My Cat partnered with a local rescue organization, the Humane Society of Durham Region, to help save lives during kitten season. Cat encouraged her customers to help out through donations and sponsored adoptions. Kitten season is such a busy time at shelters and I’m thrilled to see stockists as passionate about animal rescue as we are at Janery! You can learn more about their partnership here.
In addition to sourcing original, handmade products for the shop, Cat sells her own line of cat goods under her brand, House of Cat. You can find them here. (My personal favorite is the Unicorn Cat Hat!)
Oh My Cat’s fabulous, modern style is the perfect match for Janery’s modern Catnip Kickers and refillable Catnip Cuddlers (cat mats).
They also have the most adorable mascot!
Meet Cali, the fabulous spokes“meowdel”, as they follow her through the typical day of a spokescat here.
So where can you find them?
If you’re in the local Toronto area, make sure you check out their event schedule to see which markets they will be at this summer.
Oh My Cat embodies the type of stockist I love to partner with - and I wish them nothing but the best in this new business journey!
If you didn’t get to check out Janery’s pet beds and home decor at our recent West Elm pop-up shop, I’ve got you covered!
I love doing in-person events for Janery, because I spend so much of my time running Janery from behind a computer screen. Meeting customers in person is so much fun, and it’s helpful to see which products people love most in my display.
Our West Elm pop-up was especially fun, because we had the beautiful backdrop of the home furnishings store. Seeing Janery’s products displayed at the front of the store, on a fabulous dining table and bench, showed me just how well Janery’s pet beds and home accessories complement the West Elm aesthetic.
There is always an element of suspense with in-person retail events. I never know how large the crowd will be, i.e. how many products I’ll need in inventory! In the case of our West Elm event, Saturday was definitely busier than Sunday. And it was so interesting to see the difference in shoppers from Saturday to Sunday!
On Saturday, especially before 4 pm, shoppers were very relaxed, casual, and interested to browse. Saturday evening we watched the crowd quickly turn into a “going out” date night sort of crowd before we finished at 6 pm.
On Sunday, shoppers looked much more determined when they came through the doors of West Elm. They were at the mall because they had Important Things To Buy. And many of those determined shoppers spent a long time in West Elm - often over an hour.
Other observations: West Elm was very kid-friendly. We saw moms sitting on couches for nursing and bottle feeding babies, we saw kids playing on swivel chairs, and kids running through the store. The store associates were gracious about it all.
Speaking of the associates, the entire team of West Elm associates were so enthusiastic, friendly, and helpful during the event. I can tell their store manager, Miller, has created a strong team and that can really make or break a store - and an event like Janery’s pop up.
If you couldn't attend in person, but still want a chance to win a $50 Janery gift card, click here to join the Janery VIP Club by May 31!
Big thanks to photographer Laura Metzler, who stopped by to capture this for all eternity!
PS: Being surrounded by West Elm goodies for two days was dangerously inspiring! I’ll confess that I’ve already added some new West Elm to my home. . . and I still have more on my list for my One Room Challenge makeover that’s in progress.