It’s a balancing act for 27 year-old Alia Ishak who juggles the life of an investment banker and entrepreneur simultaneously.
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FEMALE: What made you decide to open up a café?
Alia: “Soon after I got married, my husband wanted to open a business that represented the both us. Being a huge coffee lover and already having a huge background in it, he suggested the idea of a café, which I was immediately excited about. ”
F: Tell us about some of the hurdles that came up.
A: “Since my husband and I both didn’t have any experience in the f&b business, we had to ask for a lot of help from friends, family and other café owners. At the same time, putting things together in a rush came with huge challenges; we had to find skilful staff such as baristas, kitchen and floor crew. It suddenly felt like running a huge corporate company.”
F: Ever felt like giving up?
A: “In the beginning, no. We were very determined to have this café so we put everything we had into it and things went really well. He was in charge off coffee whilst I had friends who were bakers that supplies the sweet treats offered at our café.”
F: And now… how have things changed?
A: “I learned that patience plays a huge role. Because we were rushing to open, we had to be at the site every day with the contractors. And since we also had full-time jobs, it’s a wonder how we managed to get through it all!”
F: How would you have done things differently?
A: “We should’ve knuckled down the things that we wanted to do rather than changing things as we went along. For instance, we initially wanted to only serve coffee and cakes, and then we decided we needed to serve hot food too, which meant we had to make new plans.”
F: Are you happy now?
A: “Yes, I am! I love being an entrepreneur – it helps with character building and at the same time you get to network with a lot of people.”
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