By ALMA J. BUELVA
A kawaii inspired cat shelter is raring to open soon to give people a happier way to experience cat adoption.
Animal shelters usually look dull and dreary but Tea Pawty, a brainchild of Razel Ann Pabalan and Justine Chantelle Abad, will be a happy place full of kawaii items and "cute" vibes.
Their original plan was to open a cat café with rescued cats for adoption, but that would be chasing their dream in reverse. Because their foremost goal is to help cats in need, the ladies tweaked their plan and are now looking forward to open a cat shelter with café on the side!
In addition, the two designers (Razel is an interior designer while Justine is a fashion designer) wish to bring the kawaii lifestyle to their cat shelter by inviting other local kawaii artists to sell their handmade cat products at Tea Pawty.
“Tea Pawty is going to be a shelter than a cat cafe. We will cater to rescue cats and visitors can adopt them and support our operation by buying kawaii items consigned to us,” said Razel.
“One of our goals is to help small local kawaii artists showcase their works especially those who have no means to do it alone. Partner artists will donate 30 percent of their sale to Tea Pawty,” added Razel.
To get the “pawty” started, the ladies have populated Tea Pawty's range of products with their own special creations, plus items from their initial partner artists as well as those they buy from third parties.
Justine runs Dorotee Sweetlips which makes Lolita-inspired dresses, hats and other fashion items. She also creates a special line of cat clothes for Tea Pawty.
Razel creates whimsical and kawaii cold porcelain clay accessories under her brand, Spring Marionette. She said she also plans to create items like cat bookends and cat condos.
“The shelter should be self-sustaining because it's hard to rely on donations only. That is why we have to sell items, preferably local kawaii-themed handmade goods. By doing that, we can also help artists like us to sell their creations,” said Justine.
At present, Tea Pawty uses its Facebook page to market its products which are sold at very friendly prices. They accept made-to-order items which would take at least additional two days processing. Items coming from Razel's end in Laguna require an additional shipping fee of P80 to Metro Manila and P90 to provincial areas. If the order will be fulfilled by Justin who is based in Manila, the shipping fee is only P50. Tea Pawty accepts payments via Bank of Philippine Islands and LBC.
Tea Pawty is active in Etsy, an e-commerce website mostly focused on handmade or vintage items. Razel said they have had local buyers as well as customers from the US who bought Tea Pawty items.
Meanwhile, the two ladies have been helping stray cats find forever homes while saving up to build their cat shelter since 2014. Razel said they have raised enough to rent a space and open Tea Pawty, most likely in Pasay City where it will be closer for both of them.
Later, TeaPawty also plans to hold cat-related workshops to raise funds for their future resident cats. They said they want to tap more artists from the local kawaii and cosplay communities and to participate in more conventions and expos to increase Tea Pawty's circle of friends and supporters.