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Experience One of the World’s Most Popular Characters in a New Way

Written By: Nicole Hakim Hello Kitty

History has been made in the U.S.—and it has been made in Irvine, Calif.—with the first Hello Kitty pop-up container, just opened the  weekend of July 15-17 at the Irvine Spectrum. Though the café didn’t open officially until 11:00 a.m. on the 15, that didn’t stop Hello Kitty fanatics from gathering extra early to ensure they had the best experience possible. Fans lined up for hours—wearing Hello Kitty headbands and cute attire—in front of a large, pink, steel container plastered with a number of Sanrio characters. Hardworking and friendly employees wore pink uniforms that featured Hello Kitty as they handed out ice-cold water to those in line, and of course, served a number of delectable sweets and drinks. The first hundred customers were awarded an exclusive keychain, and if they were lucky, they may have discovered a pink ticket that could be redeemed for a free sweet and drink. Enthusiasts found themselves awed by a variety of treats, including the birthday cake, chocolate opera cake, mixed berry tart, peach iced tea, hot chocolate and more—all of which ranged from $4.75 to $11 and featured characteristics of the kitty of the hour.

It’s safe to say the event was huge. Cutouts of various Sanrio characters were set up so fans could take photos with them. Hundreds of eager fans braved the heat for hours for the chance to take home something delicious and unique. Even a few stores at the Irvine Spectrum—such as Hot Topic, BoxLunch and Torrid—paid homage to Hello Kitty with a collection of merchandise.

When one sees the care and dedication put into this day by employees and fans alike, it becomes obvious that Hello Kitty’s popularity has only increased since her conception over 40 years ago. It was because of this popularity that the event was even bigger than the company had anticipated. Due to the overwhelming response from fans, the Hello Kitty Café was sold out by 5:00 p.m. and the line had to be closed off at 2:00 p.m. to service the remaining customers in line. The Café intended to be open until 10:00 p.m.

Of course, this left people disappointed, but fret not: Hello Kitty isn’t leaving any time soon. In fact, the pop-up container will be staying at its Irvine location for an entire year, and judging by the positive reaction it garnered this past weekend, there is no doubt even more eager fans will be flocking down.

This event was a success because cafés such as these bring so much character to California. People often hear about cat cafés and themed restaurants in Japan that are dedicated to the cute, fun and quirky. It is something many would like to experience, but cannot make the trip. According to David Marchi, vice president of brand management and marketing in the Sanrio Company, “There is a lot of love for Hello Kitty in Southern California, and Sanrio is continuously looking for ways to give the fans something new and exciting. The Hello Kitty pop-up container offers super cute treats with Hello Kitty and offers it in an interesting environment.” By bringing something so unique to California, fans of all ages are allowed to become part of something interesting and different, something that always seemed so out of reach.

Hello Kitty first came into the world when Yuko Shimizu created the character in 1974 under the Sanrio Company. Making her debut on her very first product—a coin purse with the word ‘Hello’ printed on it—she has become increasingly popular ever since, and was introduced to the US in 1976. The Hello Kitty craze has hit consumers of all ages, producing products from school supplies to purses, and even spawning cafes that are pink, cute and worthy of the Hello Kitty name. The café experience has been brought to U.S. fans in the form of food trucks, but for the first time, Sanrio has opened a pop-up container that really gives the look and feel one would expect from a café in a miniature way.  

Hello Kitty Pop-Up Container Café
670 Spectrum Center Dr
Irvine, CA 92618
Hello Kitty Pop-Up Had to Close Early Because of Massive Crowd