CITY OF TONAWANDA — At the corner of Broad and Main Street in the City of Tonawanda, customers are met by the image of a young, busty woman donning a pair of cat ears and a 1950s flip hairdo. “Cats Like Us,” the sign reads next to her. She flashes you a flirtatious grin that says, “Take a peek.”
Inside the store, racks of ladies’ uniquely-patterned 1940s day and evening dresses mingle with each other on the black and white checkerboard linoleum floor. Fifties-inspired men’s bowling and work shirts decorated in rocker skulls hang out together near the dressing room. An aqua-blue ceiling with demure lighting is found above and rockabilly tunes play in the background, sending soothing vibes into the social atmosphere.
This party draws an eclectic crowd.
Cats Like Us co-owners Julie Ann and Andrew Davis have built up an extensive fan base by offering a rare collection of rockabilly-inspired clothing they say can be hard to find anywhere else.
With more than 40,000 Facebook fans, their brand has also reached both local and global success through a bustling flow of cyber traffic on the Cats Like Us website.
The website features more than 100 alternative fashion brands specializing in everything from intricately-crafted, wooden picnic basket-shaped purses and turquoise and raspberry-colored crinoline to handmade biker belt buckles and zebra print dress ties.
Exclusivity draws customers in. So does constant social media marketing.
“In this day and age marketing is constant, whether it’s updating our website to rank higher in search engines, running banner ads on websites, making Facebook posts daily, adding pictures to our Pinterest page, it’s constant. It has to be,” Julie Ann said.
A lot of buying on the website comes from customers in California and Texas, and strangely, Andrew revealed, a majority of purchases also come from people in Australia.