It is all-or-nothing in the race to open this crowdfunded venture in the city.
As a cat fan, coffee lover and pen and paper enthusiast, you can image my delight when I received this handwritten advert through the door:
It turns out that aspiring cat café-preneur, Ewa Rukat, had personally written and delivered over 1,500 of these promotion cards to homes and businesses across Bristol – which not only demonstrates her dedication to the cause, but an impressive determination.
You & Meow
Ewa’s dream is to open Bristol’s first cat café – called You & Meow – that will serve quality coffees, teas and cakes, create a therapeutic ‘zen’ environment for patrons, plus provide a haven for shelter cats that would otherwise be homeless.
The cat café concept has been around since the 1990s. Originating in Taiwan and since thriving in Japan, customers can pay to play with furry felines whilst enjoying a relaxing beverage and snack. They are proving popular here in the UK as well, with cafes in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Nottingham, Manchester, London…and, hopefully, Bristol.
After visiting all the main cat cafes in the UK and Japan, adopting her own rescue pet and proudly calling herself an alumni of the famous Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, Ewa is confident that she can bring a similar success story to Bristol.
You & Meow aims to benefit the local community: the cats will be from the city’s animal rescue centres, the café will run on produce from local companies and bakeries (prepared and served in accordance with Food Standards Agency regulations) and customers can enjoy a Japanese zen garden experience. All for a £5 cover charge, which will help to look after the cats.
So, the business plan is in place – but, as with every story, there is a stepping stone in the way of You & Meow becoming a reality. One rather large, £65,000 stepping stone to be precise and Ewa’s crowdfunding target.
This is a bit of a ‘catch-22’ situation: the £65,000 will go towards securing and adapting a suitable venue in the centre of Bristol, which is, of course, a venue that can’t be secured or adapted until the investment target is reached.
Ewa has chosen to use local crowdfunding platform, Fundsurfer, to raise the necessary capital in an all-or-nothing venture; project backers will only be charged if the target is reached. To help encourage local businesses and individuals to invest, You & Meow is offering a series of rewards for project backers if the bid is successful. For example, a £3 investment will receive a raffle prize; a £20 backing gets a cats, coffee and cake voucher for 2 and a £175 donation wins a 3-hour game of cat-opoly in the café with 6 friends.
This brings me on to the other catch, too: the investment target has a very short deadline of 22nd March 2016 – an urgency further highlighted with a prominent digital countdown by the second on the webpage. At the time of writing, the campaign had 148 backers with only 26 more days to raise another £51,370.
I do hope Ewa succeeds. Although, in my book, she has already won for having the courage, ingenuity and patience to address her audience with a charming, handwritten campaign message.
Please make your pledge by visiting www.fundsurfer.com/project/first-cat-cafe-in-bristol and help make You & Meow a reality. All donations are on an all-or-nothing basis, so if the target isn’t reached your money won’t be taken. Thank you.
Update 23.03.16: Huge congratulations to You & Meow for reaching their funding target!
Can’t wait to visit Bristol’s very first cat café.
Images courtesy of You & Meow.