www.cafeoberkampf.com | www.cafemericourt.com
I have always had a foot in the hospitality industry. My first job delivering Pizzas at 15, washing dishes at 16, waiting tables during school holidays etc. It put me through university working nights in cocktail bars and nightclubs. When I completed my architectural degree I feel as if I had already had a career in hospitality! After a few years as an architect, working a big French firm, I had the opportunity to open a restaurant with one of my old bosses. The experience was very educational but also intense. I was working in the agency during the day and in the restaurant in the evening. After a few years of this pace, I had to make a choice between a career in architecture or in hospitality. I opened a coffee shop and gave myself a year... If it was a success on a personal and professional level, I would continue with no regrets.
What made you take the leap into entrepreneurship?
It was a sort of a no-brainer! The career change was also a lifestyle change: wanting to go to work and love what I do. In order for that to happen, I felt that I had to be in charge of a 100% of the decisions made on a day to day basis. Who I was to work with, what I wanted to sell and be responsible for the outcome, good or bad.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them as an entrepreneur?
I think I am still learning to delegate more. Wanting to control everything from A to Z took a lot of energy at one moment and I had sometimes come close to abandoning.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Being an entrepreneur is definitely very trying on a relationship especially at the beginning of an adventure. The (very) long hours, the little money, the stress levels... Even more so in the hospitality industry where we have to perform and entertain on a daily basis and then the first person to see the mask drop is your wife! But saying that I don't think we would want it any other way.
What motivates you as an entrepreneur?
So many things like creating jobs, imagining the next opportunity, being able to make the decisions that will affect my everyday life. But I think one of the main fuels is positive feedback from clients and friends.
How do you generate new ideas when you are working on your projects?
I make mental notes on a daily basis. I think my brain is on permanent work mode.
When a new project becomes palpable all these mental notes fall into place.
What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Once you have found the niche where your talent is needed it's important, in some ways, to be quite selfish in one's decisions. If it pleases you, you will do it better and will be able to sell it convincingly. Also if you take pleasure in what you do, those 12h days, seven days a week don't seem so hard! Haha...