HOW IT ALL STARTED (THE NOT SO SHORT) STORY OF OUR LITTLE CAFE
There was not much going on during the course of our studies - English and American literature is hardly the adventurous and thrilling field of study. Our time was passing very slowly because we were only reading, reading and commenting on what’ve read, and that’s it. Well, maybe we wrote a little as well but not anything really imaginative.
We mostly wrote essays about Jane Austen and her unfulfilled dreams or about John Milton and his long poem about Hell and the Fall of Man. So yeah, like I said, nothing really exciting.
No właśnie. Musiałyśmy sobie te studia jakoś urozmaicić, bo inaczej po dwóch latach nic tylko patrzyłybyśmy na tomiki wypocin Byrona i Wilde’a ze wstrętem (to może taka antyreklama dla kierunku, no ale co zrobić jeśli tak faktycznie było?)
We loved studying what we did but the thing was the professors and the subjects were simply boring so we decided to diversify them a little. We applied to a student’s exchange programme, we got in and we left to Germany to study there for 6 months. That’s how our passion for traveling started! When we came back it was quite difficult to adjust, so we left again but not to study but to work and not in Europe but straight to the US. We spent a couple of months working at a youth camp - you could say we were working as a support staff. And maybe it didn’t have too much in common with our studies but at least the language matched!
In our spare time between nailing the boards to the stairs and painting the walls (yes, we did loads of different things), we were driving a typical Ford pickup with our camp boss to a nearby town to do laundry (this camp wasn’t the most staff-friendly so yeah, they didn’t have laundry machines or anything like that). So we had to drive 30 min to this nearby town to do laundry and frankly, these trips were the best thing that happened to us while we worked there! After the laundry was clean and fragrant, we had a few hours to kill so we used to go to this local cafe/restobar which became our usual hangout.
Although now, when I think about it, the design wasn’t the coolest in town, but it had something that drew you in, something that sometimes makes you come back to places. This IT thing that you can’t really describe but you know what it is.
That’s what we felt when we were in this cafe. The coffee itself, for America, was delicious and served in these large half-liter cups with frothed milk and wonderful lattearts. It was then when we started to appreciate the art of drawing these amazing shapes with milk and we were always excited to get one of these coffees again and again. Apart from their amazing coffee, they had great bagels and salads.
And that was the main highlight of that first part of that trip - we were looking forward to those trips to town with dirty laundry, because we knew it meant a cup of coffee in that cafe. And even though the interior wasn’t spectacular with its bricks and blackboards and wooden stools, we loved it straight away. It was a typical loft style design, a bit raw but simple. Our preferences changed a little bit after we visited New York for a few weeks. The whole cafe world has opened up to us! Their variety simply overwhelmed us. We had to find our favourite which we did but this time it was completely different. Our favourite was this elegant one, with white walls and tap-fed cold brew (yes, that was our first cold brew ever!) and we only wished we could live there and visit this place every day.
And then, these good 6 years (!) ago, when we were checking out these amazing coffee places in the States, we dreamed of having such a place here, where we live. We wanted a place that could combine everything that we loved about the places we’ve seen so far, though, a place that we haven’t seen here yet. And since it was our hobby (coffeeshopping!), we thought we knew better! How naive we’ve been to think that we could pull off something as big as that. We had no idea that being a customer and serving one are two completely different things.
But to the point! So after we’ve returned from the US, we’ve finished our studies (what a relief it’s been!) and of course, as millions of other alumni, we were facing a career choice.
I didn’t have to think twice, I knew straight away. It’s strange but there was no doubt in my head. Also maybe because my parents run the company themselves, so for as long as I can remember, I have seen what working on your own looked like. In addition, they baked (and still bake!) the most delicious sweets I knew, so I did not doubt for a moment their success in Krakow (and back then they didn’t even have any Pavlovas). I did not even look around the confectionery market in Krakow in any particular way, I did not test the competition. I was just sure that their sweets have this SOMETHING that people love, because they are made from the heart, with willingness and passion, and in combination with good coffee, they will surely achieve success… because they will, right? Well, maybe not the biggest of successes but at least they will help us pay the bills.
So, the idea was there, we just had to prepare a business plan, find the money, find the place, renovate it, and that’s it. Easy peasy! We gave ourselves half a year to find a good location - good, that is, one that will not be far from the center, but somewhere close (yes, the central location was our measure of success then). And we were looking for a long time, but the rental prices in the places where we looked discouraged us terribly. At that time, we had not yet received any financial support for young entrepreneurs so it didn’t look promising. Not to mention, the condition of these premises was terrible, so the costs of their restoration and then finishing significantly exceeded our, still tiny, budget. We felt like nothing was in our favor… because without anything to renovate, how can we open a cafe? Even one of the owners told us that he won’t rent his premises such young girls (we were less than 25 years old) because he does not believe that 25 year olds could be successful. We thought it the coolest place available so it really discouraged us.
We started to lose hope because our time was running out and even though we had received a loan for young entrepreneurs, there was no dream place. Everything changed on Easter, however, when after browsing for the hundredth time on the website with the rental of various facilities, I came across an advertisement about vacant premises in a newly restored housing estate. And, what was quite interesting, the other of us worked for a while in the company next door and a few days earlier mentioned the cool brick buildings that are being built on this estate. Then I looked at the advertisement, at the price, everything looked nice. Well, a place close to the station, near the center, in a new housing estate, certainly not to be renovated, but just raw, to be done in your own way. Due to the fact that we exceeded our time limit, it was supposed to be the last place we would look at, and if we didn’t like it, then that’s it. We’ll start to look for proper jobs.
We were excited because that was more or less what we wanted in our heads. On top of that, it was April and spring was already in full swing, and the sun was shining beautifully that morning, so really, like never before, we were full of hope.
As it turned out on the spot, there were two premises for rent - one had over 100meters,, and the other was smaller, with about 48 meters. We saw the bigger one first with the possibility of renting even a part of it, but due to the fact that it was much further from the entrance to the estate, we doubted its functionality.. It was gorgeous, with concrete columns and huge glass windows but we didn’t feel like it was for us. And we were right, because when we entered the second place, the smaller one, we knew immediately that we had found what we were looking for.
The room was very simple, all in concrete, with a few faults, high ceilings, and pipes covered with strange foil. There was nothing out of the ordinary about this place, except that the morning light shone straight through the large glass panel inside, and despite the stark gray walls, it was so bright and warm there. We didn't even have to discuss it with each other - we knew immediately that this place would be perfect for us, that we would open the cafe that we wanted there.
After a few conversations, it turned out that we had to make up our minds quickly, because there were other people interested (for example a travel agency), but we didn't have to think twice. We collected the keys on June 1st, on Children's Day. And I still remember how we sat on that bare concrete floor and looked at each other with satisfaction. We had it, that was it! It seemed to us that the most difficult things were behind us and that we could breathe a sigh of relief.
Of course, we couldn't have been more wrong!
Oczywiście, nie mogłyśmy się bardziej mylić.
If you want to know how we came across our coffee roasters and why our logo has a red dot,, read the second part! There will be less digressions, more facts, we promise!