Like so many cat owners, Melissa Cooke was frustrated with the lack of stylish, feline-centric accessories. ”Let’s face it. The traditional perception of a cat lover has been an older woman with a very unfashionable sweatshirt,” Melissa says. “Where are the fashion-forward, elegant designs that so capture the essence of a cat?”
In 2010, using her background in graphic design and inspired by her rescue kitty Bettini, Melissa started Posh and Purr. The brand specializes in jewelry, offering a variety of necklaces and earrings that give a wink to one’s affinity for the feline kind. Paw prints are a popular motif in the line, but so are the graceful curves cats are so known for.
Each of the pieces found in Posh and Purr’s online store are designed by Melissa, who honed her graphic craft at the School of Visual Arts in New York City before working at several marketing and communication firms. Her designs are simple and clean, a sentiment reinforced by the elegant quality of the sterling silver used to make each piece.
Melissa’s rescue Bettini convinced her to use her creativity to express her love of cats. Bettini came into Melissa’s life in 2003. “My husband had been out mountain biking with friends. After their ride, they were talking outside by the garage when this tiny black kitten walked over to them. My husband’s friend lived in a condo complex and was quite familiar with all of the animals in the neighborhood, but didn’t know this little one. They asked around but no one knew him. The temperature that night was predicted to drop below freezing, so my husband got a ride home and came to the back door with this tiny kitten in his hands. The poor thing only weighed about two pounds. It was love at first sight! He is a sweet, lovable and playful cat who is never far from my side. He’s very social and enjoys interacting with people. Whenever we have guests he is always anxious to greet them and say hello!”
While cats have obviously inspired Melissa’s designs, she’s also influenced by nature. “Nature is just awe-inspiring in the colors, shapes, patterns and textures that surround us,” Melissa explains. “Even the simplest thing like moss can have the most unbelievably vibrant, almost glowing, green color, or it can be a deep and dark green with incredible depth.”
Melissa donates 15% of the retail price of each piece sold to animal welfare organizations like Alley Cat Allies, Kitten Rescue, Cat House on the Kings, and Kent County SPCA. Posh and Purr also donates jewelry to silent auctions at various charity events that support animal welfare. “It is heartbreaking to think of the abused, neglected and unwanted cats in this world,” Melissa says. “I could not run a company who professes to love cats and not do something the help those less fortunate. We are working on ways in which our donations can have the greatest impact to the feline community and welcome the opportunity to talk and work with shelters and organizations about the best ways to support their efforts.”
Posh and Purr hopes to expand into stationary, clothing, bags, and even a lingerie line (meow!) in 2013.
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