SAMARA: Alyona, 27, started her first business while raising her first child. The pharmacy graduate, bored of sitting home, began to sew dolls that could be used as interior decoration and gave them to friends as gifts. When those friends encouraged her to later attend a street fair, she ended up selling all 30 dolls.
A year ago, her husband heard on the radio that there are some 200 ‘cat’ cafes in Japan. The next morning, they agreed to use savings they set aside to build a home at the edge of the Samara to open a similar cafe. ”We decided to take a risk,” Alyona said. ”That day, I sat and wrote a business plan from A to Z.”
Visitors pay 200 rubles for the first hour, during which they can have tea, coffee and snacks for free. The maximum fee is 500 rubles to stay all day. Alyona said families come to celebrate their children’s birthdays. A company will soon host a team-building event there.
The time cafe, called Murzik, hosts from 10-14 cats at any one time that they get from a local shelter. Clients are allowed to adopt the cats and 41 have already been taken home since May.
According to Alyona, Murzik is the fourth ‘cat time cafe’ in Russia, but only one of two that lets clients adopt the cats. ”People come here who don’t have a cat or that would like to have one,” she said.
Though the cat time cafe just covers their costs, Alyona and her husband have decided to tap into their savings again and push ahead with a second cafe in Kazan. ”It is a kind-hearted project that brings goodness to people and teaches them compassion, especially children,” Alyona said.