If you can’t get enough of Sanrio’s signature character, I have excellent news for you: PBteen’s Hello Kitty collection is currently on sale — and the discounts are steep. Whether you’re looking for dorm room décor or whether you just want to inject a little character into your home office, you can now do so in a relatively affordable fashion. In search of a Hello Kitty-shaped mirror? This collection has you covered. Want a Hello Kitty speaker from which to blast your tunes? Here you go. Wishing you could drift off to sleep dreaming of kawaii anthropomorphic animals? Done and done. You can check out the full collection over at PBteen’s website — just, y’know, prepare yourself for some intense shopping urges.
The Hello Kitty collection debuted at PBteen in June of 2018. A collaboration between Sanrio and one of Pottery Barn’s several youth-oriented brands, the line includes “more than 20 pieces [conjuring] a nostalgic feeling with each thoughtful design,” as a press release put it. From bedding to backpacks and from lamps to Bluetooth speakers, the Hello Kitty collection lets you plaster your room with subtle images inspired by your favorite cat-girl — and I do mean it when I say “subtle”; the prints are subdued and the designs full of clean lines, all rendered in neutral white, cream, gold, silver, black, and gray shades. It manages to be both classy and cute at the same time — which, to be honest, is no small achievement.
Sanrio is no stranger to collaborations; indeed, when Sanrio launched the Hello Sanrio line in 2016, a number of collaborations helped mark the occasion, including team-ups with Loungefly, Lakai Footwear, and Girl Skateboards. Currently, a Levi’s x Hello Kitty line of streetwear is making the rounds, as well. However, Sanrio’s collabs with other companies and brands more typically encompass items like clothing or accessories. Furniture and décor are somewhat rarer occurrences — which is what makes the PBteen collection stand out from the crowd.
Statements from both Sanrio and PBteen officials at the time the collection was released echo this sentiment. “Sanrio is always seeking meaningful partnerships that deliver unique extensions of our lifestyle brand to fans of all ages,” Sanrio’s COO, Craig Takuguchi, said in a press release. “Aligned in our core mission, Sanrio's collaboration with PBteen brings Hello Kitty's first full home décor collection to life and perfectly merges her classic style with quality product design that PBteen is known for.” Added Jennifer Kellor, President of PBteen, “Hello Kitty's beloved style and timeless appeal is a natural partner for the PBteen brand. The Hello Kitty x PBteen collaboration is a fresh, sophisticated and fun home décor collection.”
Now, a little more than a year later, 18 of the items from the collection are still available — and even better, they’re on sale. Heck, many of the items are $40 or less, making them quite a bit more affordable than Pottery Barn’s offerings often are (although it’s worth noting that some of the bigger ticket items — things like the Hello Kitty lamp and bean bag chair — remain a bit pricey). In a lot of cases, the discounts amount to a whopping 50% off. Although the collection at its original prices topped out at around $300 (for the bean bag chair and slip cover), it now only goes up to about $160. That's quite a lot of savings.
Is it likely that the sale is simply intended to clear out old inventory to make way for newer items? Yes. Is that any reason not to take advantage of the discounts? HECK NO.
Hello Kitty — who is technically a Gijinka, or an anthropomorphized animal (in this case, a Japanese Bobtail cat) — was originally created in 1974 by Yuko Shimizu. Sanrio had been founded more than a decade prior in 1962; as the company became more established, though, founder Shintaro Tsuji had realized that its merchandise, which included rubber sandals, sold better the cuter it was. So cartoonists and illustrators came aboard to design characters intended for use on the company’s items — and Hello Kitty turned out to be Sanrio’s first and biggest hit.
This year, she celebrates her 45th birthday, despite the fact that she is a perpetual third grader. Happy birthday, Hello Kitty! Many happy returns. May your life always be full of joy and cuteness.