Buffalo Boss Babe: Julie Ann Davis
Today’s Buffalo Boss Babe is Julie Ann, owner of Cats Like Us LLC. We chatted with Julie Ann about business and what it means to be a Boss Babe! Check out her answers below.
What made you start or brought you to where you are today ? Tell us your story. What makes you a Buffalo Boss Babe?
I opened Cats Like Us 9 years ago with the intention of sharing my love of retro style. The retro clothing interest came from a passion for everything mid century modern, rockabilly and swing music, fashion and design from the 1940’s through the 60’s. But I’m actually a child of the 80’s which means I experienced the 50’s as a wave of revivals. From Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley in the 70’s, The Stray Cats in the 80’s, to Big Bad VooDoo Daddy in the 90’s, I love the style of times past. In 2009 my husband and I were finally able to attend Viva Las Vegas (a rockabilly music festival celebrating the style and sound of 50’s Rock & Roll) and had such a great time, on the ride home we started talking about opening our own store! I feel like every job I have had has led me to Cats Like Us. I have a degree in Business Administration, a Master’s Degree in Modern Art History (art from about 1870-1960) and I’ve worked at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery for years, The Burchfield-Penney Art Center, and various retail jobs. Each job has provided me with the skills I use today. The boutique location is the result of years of retail experience and desire to “do a store right.” Really it’s a simple formula: attractive store, great merchandise and even better service – it’s a winning combination. The clothing is a hand-picked collection of retro and vintage — classic styles that have a bit of an edge! What makes me a Buffalo Boss Babe is the ability to make women feel confident and express themselves through fashion... and being the only retro store in WNY. I’ve always taken pride in the way I dress and I want everyone to feel good about themselves!
What does being a Buffalo Boss Babe mean to you?
Running a small niche boutique is incredibly challenging, but the support of other boss babes (you know who you are) has been really helpful. I can find support in my community from other women that are experiencing the same struggles and experiences. Plus it provides incredible inspiration locally and a sense of home town pride.
Who are your favorite people to follow ?
I'm a crazy cat lady and a horror movie junkie, so it should not surprise you that I mostly follow celebrity cats and horror movies and movie stars. My favorite cats include @iamlilbub (I met her when she came through Buffalo!) @monty_happiness @smoothiethecat (and SO MANY MORE!) Horror movies @davidhowardthornton @sarahmgellar @ashvsevildead just to name a few.
What are your favorite things to do in the area ? Buffalo and Greater WNY.
Aside from eating at the amazing restaurants we have, I’m a big fan of shopping local and love my nearby shops in Tonawanda, including Pulp 716, The Atomic Barbershop and Salon, Sweet Heart Pin Up, and The Mulberry Tree. I also love the art scene we have in Buffalo and I volunteer at the Burchfield Penny Art Center. It reminds me of my schooling and gives me visual stimulation outside of the fashion world. I am amazed at how creative and talented people can be. For something a little more low-key, I’m an avid movie watcher and my favorite place to see them is The Screening Room. They have a nibbles, wine, and beer so it’s perfect! They even show first run movies and locally made features.
Tell us about your favorite collaboration or dream collaborations ?
We have worked with the SPCA Serving Erie County showcasing their adoptable cats and featuring our products. Every March we also have an in-store event called "Cats Like Treats!" in which customers earn a store discount by donating items from the SPCA Wish List. It has been very successful in bringing in customers and supporting the local organization. We also donate a percentage of our in-store and online sale once a year to the Pet Emergency Fund. Our most recent support of local animal shelters will be in the form of a pinup calendar for the Ten Lives Club. Sweet Heart Pin Up organized it and my husband Andrew is designing it. I'm proud to say I'll be July. Outside of animals, monthly we host free in-store events and pop up shops to support local retro inspired artists. Everything from local rockabilly bands to pinstriper’s to crafter’s to fashion and makeup seminars. It’s always a fun day! My dream is to design clothing but have it made in the US and make it affordable, which seems easy but we’ve tried it several times having to shelf the idea for one reason or another. After we design the amazing clothing I’d love for a celebrity to wear and endorse it because they agree with our beliefs in empowering women through fashion.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world who would it be?
This is a tough question. I’d have to say "no" to coffee, but give me an Earl Grey tea any day! Dead: Vincent Price Fictional: Wonder Woman Alive: Siouxsie Sioux (What? I like goth/punk too!)
What are your hopes, dreams, goals. Big or small?
It’s always to build the business and stay successful in the ever changing retail climate. My personal goal for the future is to travel more. Running a business takes up a lot of time (I’m sure you understand that!)
Tell us about your family?
My husband Andrew is my biggest supporter and I find comfort in my two senior cats, Vicktor Frankenstein a big black bombay kitty, and Ginger Rogers a tiny half tabby half ginger kitty.
FEEL GOOD FAVORITES
Fun stuff <3
Season of the year:
Halloween, that's a season right?
Favorite thing about Buffalo:
Being a hub. You can travel to Toronto, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Syracuse all in a day.