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We (my husband and me) have opened Café Rosé 2,5 years ago. I baked cakes at home for five years after graduating from Aikuisopisto (now Riveria). The number of orders grew, and when there were 2-3 big cakes per weekend, I started thinking forward own cafe opening. I had to decide: whether go ahead and develop or to abandon this idea. My husband and the relatives helped at that stage saying: “It is better to try than to regret later, that you did not dare”.
At Josek (now Business Joensuu) specialists helped us with a business plan and other necessary documentation, they advised us to look for ready-made cafes, but nothing came up what was on sale. But who seeks always find. And chance helped us too: the owner of the flower boutique was looking for a companion. She imagined that on the empty premises next to her there would be a cafe. The premises were almost ready, but there was still a need to make a repair, ventilation, etc.
In the first year of operation of the confectionery, the financial support provided by the city (starttirahat) helped me a lot. And it seemed that everyone was helping: the Finns are very open-hearted people. Unfortunately, the opening of the confectionery coincided with the repair of the road. For this reason, at first, there were not a lot of customers. But the growth of orders was favourably influenced by an article about us in the newspaper Karjalan Heili.
Advertising in the newspaper of other types proved to be costly and ineffective. Social media ads with good photos work better. I run my account @cafe_rose_jns every day. Besides, we organise joint projects with photographer Klavdia Parkkonen @klavdia_parkkonen and stylist Natalya Nechaeva @morsianart. I take part in local, thematic exhibitions, improve my professionalism by attending master classes in pastry art.
I also took part in New Year's fairs and tried other methods of promotion, but as I noticed the new clients mostly come by word of mouth: they try someone's cake at a holiday, and then come themselves, recommend to friends. With the minimal knowledge of Finnish the diligence, strong motivation, creative skills helped. You should try and work hard in order not to regret later about the lost opportunities.
It took a year of busy work to get paid. I would also like to note that this spring when cafes and restaurants began to close due to coronavirus, we received support from the city and the MaRa (Matkailu-ja Ravintolat) organisation. We are very grateful for this. We asked for help from the city, and financial assistance from MaRa was a pleasant surprise for us.
I am sure that you can find a way out of any situation. For example, when the cafe was closed for obvious reasons, we organised a joint delivery with Leinniki: meringue roll and a bouquet. Our clients liked this offer very much. There were enough orders. One more partner is Unison Coffee company @unisoncoffee.fi. It leased a coffee machine, the guys from the company provide us with the service equipment and deliver tasty coffee and the clients like it. I am pleased with our cooperation.
At the moment, on the top of the list TO DO is to find an employee and move to a more spacious room, technically well equipped.
I am fond of my job, and for me, it sounds like a compliment when a client makes an order and ask to bake the cake as I see it, as I would prefer (vapaa kadet). I love to surprise and want to convey to young people that a cake can be a holiday!
What advice would you give to an entrepreneur on his start or to those who have doubts about starting or not starting a business?
I would advise, of course, to get the consultations in the organisations which help the entrepreneurs, to try to present the handmade products on the fairs, on the markets, to sell online. And to take risks, there will be no result without risk.
Text: Olga Filippova Pictures: Klavdia Parkkonen and Marina Shalaginova