Yat Cat is a New Orleans based clothing company that shares fun designs both New Orleans and not New Orleans through tees, tote bags, towels, and more. Jenna started this business in 2018 with her Graphic Design degree to share her designs with the world. Through artistic and quirky graphics, Yat Cat offers shoppers a wide variety of styles while establishing its own identity. Jenna is a self-described one-woman shop as she prints, draws, packages all of Yat Cat’s materials herself.
While Yat Cat is primarily an online store, Jenna has sold her products at many different pop-ups throughout the city, including but not limited to Dat Dog Market and Armoire Boutique. However, in recent months, due to coronavirus, she has moved to selling exclusively through her website, at least for now.
Apart from its mission of getting unique designs to customers, Jenna is committed to making sure that Yat Cat is an environmentally friendly shop. She uses fabrics and inks that are better for the environment than more commonly used fabrics and inks are. She also makes sure that her business composts, recycles, and upcycles through the processes of creating the product line.
I had some questions for Jenna about Yat Cat, so let’s hear what she had to say:
Questions for Jenna at Yat Cat from Morgan Maschler at Freret & Napoleon
Jenna's First Printing Set Up
Yat Cat has a fun, distinct name to it. Where did the name for the company come from, and how did you get started?
It was just a nickname for my cat! It’s kind of silly but she is an escape artist, so I often found myself yelling “Where y’at cat?!”, and it seemed like a fun, unique name when I was brainstorming while developing my brand.
Jenna's Current Printing Set Up
What would you say makes Yat Cat what it is? Is it the style? The message? Something else?
I think I’ve really been able to inject my personality into my brand, which is a little irreverent, a little goofy and no BS & I think people really relate to that. I only make products that I’m proud of and I’d like to wear myself, no fluff. I think my customers appreciate having a unique, artistic and handmade option when it comes to graphic tees.
First Art Market at Dat Dog!
How does New Orleans affect the products and how you do business overall?
At first, my designs were almost entirely influenced by New Orleans culture but as I moved online since COVID, I’ve tried to expand my reach. I attribute so much of my success to the many art markets and festivals in New Orleans that I was lucky enough to be a part of, I know other cities don’t always have so many options. Those events really helped me connect with my customers and make friends in the art market world that I could learn from and be inspired by.
Jenna's Favorite Tee
What are you most excited for as things start to reopen and come back, whether that be a restaurant, festival, travel destination, etc.?
I’m most excited for tours to resume, festivals to be rescheduled and just to have events to look forward to again.
Describe your ideal New Orleans day.
Ooo, a bike or streetcar ride down St. Charles on a pretty spring day and stopping to get snowballs and all the food along the way sounds great. Maybe taking a break in City Park and making my way to Cafe du Monde to eat beignets by the river.
Magazine Street Art Market
What is coming up next for Yat Cat?
I don’t have any major plans, but lots & lots of small, little goals in my effort to perfect my product and craft. I would love to expand my workspace and build a team so I can focus on the aspects of my business that I’m best at.
A few more designs
You sell shirts, towels, totes, pins, and more. What do you want to add to the product lineup?
When I’m able to hire help, there are so many things I want to try. I would love to add screen printed posters and prints to the shop but I found it was just too much to take on by myself.
What advice would you give to artists and businesspeople starting to create their brands?
What’s really worked for me is just to launch and adjust. If you wait for something to be perfect, it will never be. Cut yourself some slack and realize that there are gonna be lots of bumps along the way, and it’s all about how you handle them. Also, this was a really hard one for me, but learn to set boundaries for yourself. I eventually realized that no one is getting the best version of myself or my work when I spread myself too thin.
One of our faves from past Mardi Gras designs of Jenna's
What have you learned the most since 2020, either personally or professionally?
There have been many lessons. Personally, I’ve learned to be more grateful for what I have and where I’m at and realize that slow growth is still growth. Professionally, I’ve learned that I really wanted to set myself up so I don’t have to rely on a third party for anything. Most of my income came from art markets, then boom they were gone. It made me put a lot more effort into my online presence and it's really paying off.
The OG namesake - Jenna's Cat Jojo!
Outside of Yat Cat and clothing, what are your other interests and passions?
I like to (attempt to) cook, read, listen to podcasts, hang with my cats, boyfriend and family. I’m an entrepreneur at heart so I really love business and finance and hope to dive deeper into those interests eventually. Also, I think this a universal hobby, but I LOVE scrolling through Zillow and looking at real estate that’s out of my price range.
To shop for Jenna's latest designs, check out her website here.
Follow her fun day-to-day and behind-the-scenes on Instagram at @yatcatnola!
Morgan Maschler is a Marketing and Social Media intern with Freret & Napoleon. She is from New Jersey, but goes to school at Tulane University in New Orleans. She’s a foodie, and she loves music and travelling. She loves exploring New Orleans and all that it has to offer. See what she's up to on Instagram @morganmaschler!