Openness towards experiments, passion and commitment: from the smallest café in Warsaw to a franchising chain across the EU
Admin | Comune di Milano
The story of Inna and Oleg Yarowy starts in 2016, when these two Ukraine young entrepreneurs opened the first dobro&dobro café in Warsaw, included in the Book of Records as the smallest café in Poland. Through the power of their passion and commitment, in few years dobro&dobro became a chain of cafés located in 6 cities throughout Poland. The dobro&dobro coffee shops offer about 20 original coffee recipes inspired by people and their tastes and are recognized as meeting spaces with a unique and inspirational atmosphere.
Can you please tell us how you had the idea to start your business?
My husband and I both hold a university degree. In Kyiv, Ukraine, we were working for an international advertising agency. However, it seemed us that we didn’t have time to think about building something by our own. We moved to Poland because I received an offer to work in another advertising agency in Warsaw. But when we arrived my husband did not have a job. We took this moment as a chance to invest in something new, and we decided to create the smallest café in Warsaw: the shop was only 6 square meters!
We decided to open a coffee shop for several reasons:
- The coffee shop was something that we just liked;
- After some marketing research, we learned that this type of business could have a large income in Warsaw with a quickly return of investments;
- And last but not least it was something simple to realise.
Can you please tell us about the main obstacles you have encountered and how you managed to overcome them?
Honestly, the formalities for setting up a business have been easy to deal with. It took us just 3 days to create the company.
However, the management was very hard at the beginning. For instance, we tried to develop a business plan for our company, but just later on we realised all the mistakes we did. The three main obstacles for us were:
- The language: when we launched our activity, we did not speak polish; to start, we made a list of useful words and phrases but communication was very challenging.
- The local rules: it was quite difficult for us to understand the taste and the rules of the local market, especially during the first year when just me and my husband worked in the shop.
- Finding a property to start the business, given our financial capabilities.
Has the recent pandemic affected your business and how did you overcome the challenges?
We adapted very quickly to the Covid19 rules. During the quarantine, we had time to reshape our marketing process and our services. We worked to revise the way we sell our products and we focused on developing our social media channels to reach more and different type of customers.
We opened new channels like TikTok, Pinterest and Youtube to enlarge our target and sell new products like delivering breakfast or catering services. Our main concern was to avoid to fire our employees and we reached the goal. After the pandemic period, we feel stronger. We were able to open three new cafes during the last 2 years. Therefore, besides being a bad time, it was also an opportunity.
How do you see the future of your company?
Over the years we consolidated our business. dobro&dobro became a franchising chain currently counting 5 coffee shops in Poland, and one more shop will open in August in Prague, Czech Republic. Also, we signed for starting other 15 franchising coffees in the next months. Looking at the future, our main goal is to reach the target of 100 franchising coffee in Europe by the next years.
The second one is to establish a coffee beans’ production business. We would like to create our own business in roasting coffee activity.
Finally, we would like to grow by keeping training ourself at the marketing and management level.
Is there anything you would like to tell to your fellow entrepreneurs?
I would start by sharing more the information about the impact of immigrant entrepreneurship: as stated by the New Yorker in January 2020, immigrants provide 85% of the business in the world. This means that people that decide to change their country, their language and their culture are more flexible, open minded and powerful to start a business.
In my experience, if you are open to change your life, you can change your future. But you don’t have to be afraid.
In my family, the main rule is to be open towards experiments and to run fast. So, everything becomes possible if you want it: the perfect business is to do what you really like, and what gets you satisfaction.