Welcome home, My name is Maid Marcy from Sumuji Cafe! Sumuji is a fruit themed maid cafe that does pop up events in Arizona. Although we are doing our best to stay at home, we want to be able to share the magic of maid cafes to everyone! I reached out to several cafes across the country to see how they are doing and to learn more about their group! Let’s learn more about them and how they run their own groups.
First up, we have a local favorite, Animaru Cafe! They are also based in Arizona and are an animal themed maid cafe with an emphasis on endangered species and animal activism. Head Maid Tora graciously answered my questions!
Could you please introduce yourself and where you are located?
We are Animaru Maid Café, located in Phoenix, Arizona! We attend events all over the valley, as well as provide online content such as dance videos on our YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook pages.
What type of events do you attend?
Currently, we are a maid café exclusive to fur cons! We hope to branch out and attend charity events for the benefit of animal rights, as well as anime conventions in the area.
Where did the name and theme come from?
Our head maid, Tora, wanted to have a theme related to animals, since they knew that our main focus would be on fur cons. Their original idea was a cat-themed café, but they decided that they really wanted to include more species of animals. Tora is a big animal rights activist, and decided on the endangered species theme in order to raise awareness for the issue, and help our fans learn how they can help! The name Animaru is the Japanese pronunciation of the word “animal”.
Can you tell us about the uniform design?
The base of the uniform is made out of a tan cotton fabric. The skirt is a basic rectangle skirt that falls nicely into a cupcake shape. A half apron sits atop the skirt, each of which a custom made patch of the Animaru logo attached. We added a classic Peter Pan style collar and a giant pink bow! Each member has an assigned color, which is reflected in the paw-shaped buttons on their dress (or, for the butlers, on their bow-tie). Each member wears accessories that reflect their chosen animal. For instance, Tora the Sumatran tiger wears a striped tail and ears, and Aqua the Vaquita has a fin attached to her back! These uniforms were designed by our head maid, Tora.
How many members do you currently have? Do you have both maids and butlers?
We currently have 10 total staff members, consisting of 4 butlers and 6 maids, but a few of our members switch between maid and butler roles depending on the event.
What specifically inspired you to start a cafe?
The founder of our group, Maid Tora, has been really interested in maid cafés and Japanese culture for several years. They worked café events with another group for 5 years starting in 2013, and in 2018 began doing behind the scenes maid café work for Monkey Paw Entertainment. Tora noticed that two of MPE’s events (Itty Bitty Fur Con and Arizona Fur Con) had never hosted a maid café of their own, so they decided to create a group to fill that niche. Hosting maid café events brings us all such immense joy, and we were so excited to be able to bring the love of maid cafés to Arizona’s fur con scene!
What’s a fun memory that occurred during an event?
At our very first event, Itty Bitty Fur Con 2019, our first set sold out completely! We were all thrilled and admittedly surprised, especially since we had just launched our online debut 3 months prior. It was such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and success that really fueled us to work hard to become the best café we could be!
Do you have a favorite convention or event that you have been to?
To date, we have only hosted two events, but Arizona Fur Con in October of 2019 was a slightly larger event than our first, and involved the entirety of our staff at the time. It was really nice to get the whole group together, and we saw some familiar faces that had attended our event at Itty Bitty Fur Con in July of that same year!
How is the group staying active during these tough times?
We do our best to have daily communication via Discord and/or Facebook Messenger, even if it’s just checking in on each other. We are always sharing different ideas of how to stay active online between events. Recently, we hosted a live Q&A on Instagram for our first anniversary! This stream doubled as an announcement for the winner of the giveaway that we had launched a week beforehand. We are currently working on posting written versions of all of the questions answered in the stream, so that those that were unable to watch it live can still view it in some capacity! We also have plans for a few dance covers in the near future.
Will this be a first time venture into online content, or does the cafe have experience with live content?
As stated previously, we did a livestream in mid-April, and Tora has posted a few videos on our YouTube page!
Where can we find you online?
We are most active on Instagram (@animarumaidcafe) and Facebook (Animaru/@animarumaidcafe)! We post recaps of our events on our YouTube channel (Animaru Maid Cafe), and we also have a Twitter (@animarumaidcafe).
Thank you Maid Tora! I have more cafes coming up so I hope that you will be here again soon. Take care of yourselves, everyone! Moe Moe Kyun!