CATWALK’S MISSION: CATWALK was founded to provide a steady and predictable revenue stream to help financially support Berkshire Humane Society.
WHO WE ARE: We are three animal loving volunteers who are totally committed to doing whatever we can to alleviate the suffering of homeless animals in Berkshire County.
Leslie Weil has been a Berkshire Humane Society (BHS) board member since 2010 and is currently the Vice-President of the board. She relocated to the Berkshires from NYC full time to devote herself to all things animal-welfare related. In addition to all of her volunteer hours for BHS Leslies works part-time at Chez Pet in Lenox. Leslie has an extensive background in interior design, sales, fashion and graphic design. Leslie lives in Stockbridge with her husband Mark Lee and their two rescued cats Tetley, 17, and Mikey, 8.
Marsha Weiner who hails from the Midwest has lived in the Berkshires since 1996. Her passionate love of animals led to her an active involvement with BHS. Marsha has been involved with Purradise, the South County feline adoption center of BHS, since its inception in 2010. Founding CATWALK was a natural extension of Marsha’s continuing dedication to helping the homeless animals of Berkshire County. Marsha lives in Great Barrington with her husband, Dr. Ed Weiner and their two rescued cats Munro and Tyrone. Marsha and Ed are avid hikers who are “godparents” to various canine hiking buddies. Munro and Tyrone, who prefer to relax at home, are thrilled that the neighborhood dogs provide such great outdoor companionship to Marsha and Ed.
Mimi Rosenblatt has been a passionate animal lover her entire life. Beloved pets have included dogs, bunnies, ducks, turtles, tropical fish, hamsters, gerbils, lizards, and, of course, cats. After living in San Francisco, Ca. and Austin, Tex., Mimi relocated to the Berkshires in 2004. She became involved with BHS in 2010 as an original member of the Purradise Advisory Board where she has put her public relations and fund-raising experience to good use. Founding CATWALK has allowed Mimi to “marry” her love of fashion with her love of animals. When Mimi isn’t working at CATWALK, she teaches fitness classes at Berkshire Functional Fitness and hosts “Cat Chat” a weekly radio program on WSBS. Mimi lives in Great Barrington with her husband Mark Lefenfeld and their three rescued cats, Talulah, Paulie and Roxanne.
Genesis of CATWALK: Leslie, Marsha and Mimi are extremely proud of the success of Purradise, celebrating its 4th anniversary in May with nearly 600 cats now placed in loving, forever homes. However, fund-raising is a full-time endeavor since Purradise (as part of BHS) is funded solely by the generosity of many private donors.
Always wracking their brains for new and lucrative fund-raising ventures, Leslie, Marsha and Mimi decided to hold a week-end pop-up boutique in November 2013 to see if this could be a viable fund-raiser for BHS. Thus was born Café Chic which was literally thrown together in two months. Women’s clothing and accessories were gathered from far and wide, and by the time Café Chic opened, over 2,000 items had been procured, cleaned and tagged. Café Chic was a raging success, netting $10,000 over three days.
After the three women had time to rest and recuperate, it occurred to them that maybe, just maybe it would be smart to change Café Chic from a pop-up boutique to an actual, year-round permanent endeavor. The idea was pitched to BHS Executive Director John Perrault who was extremely enthusiastic about the venture. Next stop was a presentation to the BHS Board of Directors which endorsed the idea as long as the name Café Chic was tossed out the window……sounds too much like a restaurant the Board said. Many, many names were tossed about until a brilliant volunteer came up with the name CATWALK which all agreed was the perfect name for a BHS venture. Lest the canine folks feel slighted a graphic was chosen which contains the picture of a dog….cats and dogs equally represented.
CATWALK opened its doors on Memorial Day and has been warmly and enthusiastically embraced by the Berkshires’ community. The dedicated BHS volunteer Barrie Ayers was hired as a full time employee, and she oversees an enthusiastic staff of volunteers while also doing community outreach and being in charge of social media marketing.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE: Donations are pouring in from all over Berkshire County as well as from Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Berkshire School and Miss Hall’s School have generously organized end of year clothing drives which have resulted in a wonderful selection of young, hip clothing. “Michaels”, the well-known NYC consignment shop is donating gorgeous designer clothing. Local fashion guru Vickie Bonnington has become a major donor and advisor to CATWALK. “Berkchique” has placed CATWALK on its nonprofits donor list. Women of all ages have opened their closets to purge their wardrobes and provide CATWALK with a stunning and diverse array of stylish and beautiful clothing. With new items arriving daily, there is truly something for everyone at CATWALK!
ARE COUNTING ON YOUR LOVE, SUPPORT AND GENEROSITY.