Laura Kicey is organizing Philly’s first cat-themed pop-up shop.
Gravy Studio (910 N. Second St.) will be the home this weekend to all sorts of feline-themed merch at the inaugural Kittydelphia, a market featuring cat-themed art, apparel, housewares, and toys for both humans and felines. Insta-famous kitties Sophie the Model, Turbotwolegs, and Miss Raspberry Kittay will be making appearances throughout the weekend, though the event is not one of the BYOC (Bring Your Own Cat) variety.
It does have a charity component: Suggested door donations and raffle proceeds will benefit PAWS.
Kittydelphia’s inception came out of a surplus of cat apparel. A few years after founding Olive & Rye Cat Art, named after her own kitties, Kicey, who lives in Ambler, attended CatCon, an annual gathering for cat lovers, in Los Angeles in 2016 to vend her cat portraits and apparel at the convention.
“I came home with a lot of merchandise unsold,” Kicey said, “and there weren’t a lot of other options that were cat-specific as far as events to sell at. I really felt there was a need for more options.”
After hosting a gallery show at Gravy in November, Kicey was approached by the space’s owners about renting the studio for pop-up shops. With the openings of South Philly’s Kawaii Kitty Cafe and Brewerytown’s Le Cat Cafe, where you can play with kitties while you sip on coffee, Kicey capitalized on the burgeoning local cat-centric culture as a sign to reach out to her network of cat merchandisers, many of whom she met on Instagram (she has an account dedicated to Olive and Rye). Kittydelphia was born. The goal was to curate a selection of vendors who sell items that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to have in your home.
“There’s so much poorly designed tacky, kitschy — in not a good way — cat stuff out there,” Kicey said. “I saw a need for nicely designed cat things for humans and also for cats.”
Inspired by the high-quality products sold at CatCon, Kittydelphia will feature goods from mostly local vendors like her own custom cat portraits and cat-themed apparel and home goods, Xenotees’ hand-printed shirts, cat cookies from Dark Side Cookies, and more. Polydactyl Cats, a company that creates food-themed handmade cat toys, will unveil a special soft-pretzel-shaped cat toy, special to Kittydelphia. On the walls, visual artists, both local and abroad, will be displaying art.
Kittydelphia will also have a South Philly outpost at Kawaii Kitty Cafe, which will also sell merchandise. (You’ll still have to make reservations to play with the adoptable cats, though.)
It’s places like Kawaii that inspire Kicey. One of the best parts of the event, Kicey said, is the excitement for the (cat) culture, as evidenced by the success of Philly’s cat cafes. “I took that as a good sign,” she said, “and it seems like this is what Philly has wanted.”
3-10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Gravy Studio, 910 N. 2nd St. free, www.kittydelphia.com