When you think of Hello Kitty, the first image that crops up in your head is of a little girl dressed in pink with clips in her hair or sitting at her desk writing with the Sanrio stationery.
However, the cute cat has now moved beyond stationery and dresses and clips. The first Hello Kitty spa opened a couple of months ago in Dubai.
We spoke to the woman behind the concept — Fatima Sharaf, director of Sharaf Retail.
Tell us the concept behind the spa and how it took shape.
The concept behind Hello Kitty Beauty Spa is an innovative extension to the brand, which will offer posh pampering, luxury and pleasures of the day spa to women of all ages. Hello Kitty Beauty Spa brings out the girl in every woman. The idea behind the “Princess” and the “Kitty Queen” concept is to have a private place for a mother and daughter to unwind together. Being a very big fan myself, I couldn’t think of anything better than Hello Kitty, which is pink, extremely feminine and is definitely not restricted to a particular age.
Why did you feel Dubai was the ideal place to open this spa?
One of the main reasons would be the tourism here. As you must be aware, we have tourists coming to the UAE the year round. Dubai is the perfect place for this spa, as we have people from a lot of different nationalities and cultures here, which makes Dubai our focal point to start with. However, in the future, we are definitely looking at expanding to other parts of the world as well.
Hello Kitty is a cartoon character which can appeal to children, but a spa is usually for women. Are you targeting a younger clientele? How young?
First, Hello Kitty has a huge fan following, and not necessarily children. However, speaking about the spa, it is targeted at women or girls of any age. It is not a children’s spa, but we do have a completely different set of services for women and girls, and there is no age restriction, as your baby girl can even have her first hair cut at our spa.
When you say ‘vintage girly’, what are you referring to?
Hello Kitty Beauty Spa has a shabby chic theme. We call it vintage girly, as the base colour is faded pink with the classic black combination and just the right amount of hot pink to make it look glamorous, soft and feminine at the same time. The white and beige furniture with the frilly lampshades adds a vintage touch to the set-up.
Tell us about Kitty Café. Do we expect a healthy spa menu or, keeping the younger clientele in mind, would it be indulgent?
As we believe Hello Kitty is for women of all ages, so is the spa and Kitty Café. Our café has a variety of cupcakes, cake pops, cookies for all the sugar dose you need while you are getting yourself pampered. At the same time, we do offer flavoured herbal teas and fresh juices, in case you cannot afford to indulge in those sinful calories.