Everybody’s a cat person. You just have to meet the right cat.
This week I’m sitting in a cat cafe in the centre of Sheffield, Kitty Barn, talking with the director and owner, Sophie Petford.
Petford. Can that be a coincidence?
Sophie runs a cafe, with cats, nine of them. (Of course, one for each life.)
Sophie, what inspired you?
I’ve always had cats, and when I inherited some money, I wanted to do something puuuurfectly wonderful. It had to be a cat cafe. My cat as a child was almost like a sister.
It’s a niche within a niche, an independent coffee shop, with cats. I think more and more young people are doing unique things.
Each of the cats have an Insta account and profile. Each staff member runs a different cats Instagram account, combining the personality of the cat with their own ideas and photo aestetics.
So the cats themselves are part of the marketing? Very much so, with their own followers. There’s a monthly competition with the staff to help boost each cats profile. They’re not quite at influencer level yet but given time.
I’m wondering, does that make the cats employees of Kitty Barn? Are they part of their gig economy, freelancing as instagram marketeers between naps?
I guess they’re promoting the business, so yeah… A picture says a thousand words, with cats, double it.
What do you think sheffield city centre will look like in five years ? Or even ten?
I think the big shops will be broken down into smaller independent shops, it creates a much more personal, human environment and experience.
Where else could cats add value to commerce?
Cats and co working, surely that would work well.
Everybody’s a cat person, you just have to meet the right cat.
Plans for the future?
Possibly a cat themed cinema.
Sitting watching a movie, with a cat.
Now that would be a nice evening out.