It’s impossible to describe just what about Hello Kitty and its parent company, Sanrio, appeals to people so powerfully. Is it the undeniable appeal of cats? (Although Miss Kitty is, technically, not a cat.) Is it the pink and flowery color schemes? The bow? Whatever it is, it’s working. Last weekend hundreds of fans from the greater Houston area flocked to The Woodlands Mall courtyard for macarons, cakes and memorabilia from the Hello Kitty Cafe truck.
When the truck opened at 10 a.m. on Saturday, a line had already formed down the length of the courtyard, snaked around the corner and stretched down the road. Visitors, most of whom heard about the event through Facebook, started forming the queue at 5:30 a.m.
“I wanted to be sure I got what I wanted to get,” said Angela Hernandez, 35, who was the first in line. “[Hello Kitty] is a childhood memory, I’ve loved her since I was a kid.”
The truck served a small selection of colorfully boxed treats, including macarons, petit fours and cookies. The truck advertised donuts but, sadly, didn’t deliver—the option on the menu was crossed out with tape. Cafe-themed and mugs were also on sale to the side of the truck and people walked away with their arms full.
“Unbelievable,” Paul Stackpole, a 62-year-old Woodlands resident and marketer who stumbled upon the line. He had been staring at it, shaking his head in disbelief. “If my customers could do a tenth of this...I’ve never seen anything like it. What other kind of brand, what other kind of happening is comparable to this on a Saturday morning, with all the parents coming out with their children? Anything?”
The cakes were covered in fondant and adorned with a bow. Though flavorful, they were incredibly sweet. But Cafe Truck patrons didn’t seem to mind the sweetness, or the wait. All that mattered was getting a taste of the beloved character.
“I was following the Cafe Truck ever since it started at Hello Kitty Con, because that’s where we first saw it when it debuted. I kept commenting on their page, like, ‘Please come to Houston!’” said Mimi Tran, 27. She and Eileen Leung, also 27, woke up at 4 a.m. to be there by 6:30. Leung had driven in from Longview. “We were waiting in line, we got to meet so many cool people who share a love for Hello Kitty. That’s the best thing, bringing people together.”
“It’s a dream come true,” agreed Leung. And when it comes to meeting your cartoon idol, there's no accounting for (sugary) taste.