So, Wright launched an Indiegogo campaign for a new cat cafe she wants to open in Alexandria called pHinicky pHeline. That’s pHinicky, as in, cats are always finicky and fickle, and pH as in the scientific scale to measure the acidity of something because people always want to make sure their cats are healthy and balanced.
“I was all about [my cat’s] balance and well-being,” said Wright, 41. “pH just stuck. That’s what we ended up with, and I fell in love with it.”
pHinicky pHeline is still in its very nascent stages. Wright is trying to secure a location and needs to work with the health department to figure out what food and drinks she would be allowed to serve — something that won’t be easy. But the business model of the cafe will be somewhat similar to that of Crumbs & Whiskers and the few other cat cafes throughout the world.
Georgetown’s Crumbs & Whiskers announced this week that it would be raising its entry fee from $10 to $15. Once inside, all refreshments and pastries are free. That cafe opened in June, and so far 23 cats have been adopted.
Wright will charge a still-undetermined entry fee that will allow people to go inside and play with cats. pHinkcy pHeline will partner with an Alexandria-based rescue agency, and all cats will be available for adoption, Wright said. She is unsure what food she will be serving, but says it will be made offsite. At night she wants to have a wine bar, where people can sit back and relax with the cats.
“I am focusing on adults. I am not allowing kids at the very beginning,” she said. “It’s very difficult if you are not watching children. I really want it to be adult-focused for people who can’t have cats. I want it to be a destination space.”
Wright said she plans to have dedicated times in the cafe for senior citizens. Many rescue agencies, according to Wright, receive cats from senior citizens who are no longer able to care for them or who move into assisted-living homes that can’t accommodate cats. During these dedicated hours, she wants pHincky pHeline to be a non-hectic place where seniors can play with the cats.
“This gives them the time to still interact with the cats without the responsibility,” she said.
The Indiegogo campaign has raised more than $2,000 so far. That money will go toward construction and upstart costs when Wright secures her space. She said she’ll also be selling branded merchandise at the cat cafe, including stemless wine glasses, cat collars and T-shirts.
By day, Wright works for a marketing and communication agency. She said she currently has no plans to leave her job.
“I have two full-time jobs now, but one fuels my passion and the other one has been fulfilling my career for well over 15 years,” she said.