NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
By Alma J. Buelva
CAT CAFE MANILA, a promising business idea that initially used crowdfunding to create awareness and look for potential investors, has taken the first step to build its physical store.
Construction of the eagerly-anticipated Cat Cafe Manila began early this month in 189 Maginhawa St., UP Village, Quezon City, a crowd-favorite district made popular by an eclectic range of good restaurants and bars.
Cat Cafe Manila founder Anna Calvo and her business partners aim for a soft opening sometime next month, ahead of the target late summer opening of Velvet Friends Cat Cafe in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. Full operations of Cat Cafe Manila should start in April.
The Cat Cafe Manila team broke the news in their official Facebook page last February 5 with this post: “Hello cat lovers! For those of you who are wondering, our journey to building our cat cafe has begun. It's a modest place somewhere in Maginhawa QC, but our goal is to make it as homey as possible to both our cats and our feline-loving customers.”
A flood of comments immediately followed from happy and excited well-wishers and future patrons who promise to visit the place as soon as it opens.
“We are finally getting the cat café we have so longed for,” said one person named Chie.
Cat Cafe Manila is partnering with CARA (Compassion and Responsibility for Animal) Welfare Philippines by bringing in some cats that customers might want to later adopt.
The group's crowdfunding effort set out to raise $10,091 during the last three months to be able to top-up their roughly $15,000 ready capital. They gathered as much as $402 and although it represented only four percent of their target, Calvo's team is determined to bring to fruition Manila's first cat cafe.
"We know that crowdfunding is not really big in the Philippines; instead, we used this campaign to create awareness and look for other potential partners/investors, and we succeeded in this case. We were able to get additional investors and initial followers because of this campaign.," they said.
PERKS & PRIVILEGES
In courting pledges and bids to its crowdfunding activity over at indiegogo.com, Cat Cafe Manila promised a number of special packages for its supporters, from prepaid entrance tickets to exclusive monthly or yearly memberships.
It's a promise they have not forgotten as evidenced by their Facebook message on January 29: “To all our Indiegogo supporters - BIG BIG THANK YOU!!!...Rest assured you will be able to use your pledges and you'll be the first few to experience our cat cafe once we open!”
The packages, however, are still being finalized. But based on their online campaign materials, Cat Cafe Manila had thought of offering VIP memberships inclusive of unlimited visits to the cafe during the time of membership, a personalized ID, and specific amount of cafe food and drinks.
An aptly named “9 Lives Card” was also hatched by the team, which entitles patrons to a 30 percent discount on entrance fees to the cat cafe. The card is transferable and is worth 9 visits, valid for one year.
The Cat Cafe Manila team has also expressed plans to rent out its facility for a limited period for small private parties. Those who wish to have a deeper connection with the cafe's resident cats may also sponsor a cat for a year and receive complimentary visits, annual membership and drinks, among others.
“We have a lot on our plate this month, so please bear with us as we make this cat cafe dream into reality as soon as possible! We'll post updates from time to time, and we'd love for you to join us in this journey! Thank you very much for all the support,” the team said over at Facebook.
*To know more about Cat Cafe Manila's official perks and privileges, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
* One stormy afternoon at Taiwan's Houtong Cat Village