Kawaii Kitty Cafe Grand Opening This Weekend!
When you think of coffee, cats don’t tend to come to mind – But that will change this Saturday with the Grand Opening of South Philly’s first cat cafe! Kristin Eissler, owner of Kawaii Kitty Cafe, told Philly’s Homes why she picked Queen Village and what exactly inspired her to start this Japanese-inspired business!
Philly’s Homes: What sparked the idea of opening a kitty cafe? Was there a specific moment that you can pinpoint having this revelation?
Eissler: The idea initially came to me while I was working as a fashion designer. My job was stressful; emotionally and physically taxing. On my lunch break, I would grab a coffee and go visit kitties at PAWS. Then while I was traveling overseas for work, I saw a cat cafe and the idea kind of sunk in. I saw that one was open in California and another in Oregon. I took a leap of faith and quit my job to start working on the cafe.
PH: Did you have any prior experience in opening your own business/cafe or was this a completely new venture?
E: This is my first time opening a restaurant business, but I have a long entrepreneurial past mostly involving fashion. My boyfriend and business partner currently owns a restaurant and bar so having his guidance has been a huge help for the cafe!
PH: What can a patron expect upon entering the cafe? Are the cats separated or integrated in the space?
E: A patron can first and foremost expect a cute and comfortable environment that allows humans and cats to interact in a homey environment. The cats have their own area completely separate from the cafe side. But customers are welcome to grab a drink and snack and bring it into the cat lounge to eat with the kitties!
PH: What were your must haves when searching for a retail space? Why Queen Village? Did you look at other neighborhoods?
E: I had a lot of must haves for the space. I wanted a huge front windows, so the cats are visible and happy. I wanted the store to be historic and have a boutique vibe to complement our Kawaii style branding. I also wanted to make sure our customer base was close and a tourist-y area was in close proximity. We looked at a lot of neighborhoods but Queen Village felt right. There is a great community here and that was really our deciding factor.
PH: Are the cats available for adoption by visiting patrons or is the cafe their new home? What exactly does partnering with PAWS bring to the table?
E: Yes! All kitties are available for adoption! PAWS will be hand selecting cats with personalities best suited to the cafe environment. All adoption fees will go to PAWS and hopefully together we can help the homeless kitties of Philadelphia.
PH: Any advice to future business owners? Either something that you wish you knew beforehand or something important that you remind yourself everyday?
E: My best advice for business owners is to be prepared to work hard, very hard. Make sure you power through the tough times, because it’s definitely worth the fight. You need to develop a thick skin! Be prepared financially, because there is always unforeseen costs – but just remember this is all worth it, and your dream is worth fighting for!
Kawaii Kitty Cafe will be hosting a Grand Opening Party this Saturday and Sunday from 9am – 8pm. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made here!
Check out this short video where Kawaii Kitty Cafe Owner Kristin Eissler explains a little more of what you can expect!