All About Cats and Connections
It’s a phenomena that made its way to our Capital City. Justine Bell is the founder of a new cafe in Lansing, The Trendy Tabby Cat Cafe. The cafe is about connection, whether it is with people or animals.
“The idea is to make this as much of a community space as possible, for both the cats and the people,” Bell said. “The cafe is creating a home environment for the cats, so people can see what they’ll be like in their safe place.”
It all started in college, when Bell worked for an animal shelter in Richmond, Indiana, as part of the kennel staff. She worked her way up the ranks there before coming to Michigan, where she started writing grants for the Capital Area Humane Society.
“I had to leave when I had a child,” Bell explained. “But my heart was still with the humane society.”
Later, Bell decided she wanted to do something for the animals again. But she didn’t want to start a shelter.
“Having run rescue organizations, I knew that is not what I wanted to do. It was too hard,”
So, something “rescue adjacent” was more in her sights. Something she would enjoy and the people visiting the cafe would, enjoy too. It would be a more relaxed setting for both the cats and the people.
When asked how she manages everything in her life, Bell replied with one word, “Teamwork.”
“When I pitched the idea at the Hatching Pitch Competition in April 2018, I had the marketing plan and business plan, but no team.”
According to Bell, as people get older, they start to realize that if they’re going to put the time and effort into something, they need to realize and do it the right way. Bell decided networking was the way to go. She met four other women who had the same vision she did and brought their own skills and ideas to the table.
“We have Sam Kobe as the marketing manager, Tenna Rairigh as supplemental CEO – she takes care of all the legal, executive level needs – and Kirbay Pruess, who helps us with and lets us know about anything that happens in Old Town,” Bell said.
“I am honored to be one-fifth of the girl power behind The Trendy Tabby Cat Cafe,” Kobe explained. “The dynamic of our group is so powerful and has allowed me the opportunity to access some incredible resources within our community. Through our partnership with Capital Area Humane Society, we can help save lives and provide an interactive experience for potential adopters and animal lovers alike. This partnership benefits the human and animal community by providing great products to our customers and forever homes for homeless cats. The support we have already received is indescribable and irreplaceable. Turns out, a little girl power can go a long way,”
This project is a great representation to girls all over for a team of women putting their minds to an outcome and turning it into something remarkable.