Turning a dream into reality: Making craft Ramen…
Of Chinese origin and British nationality, Mei Chan has been immersed in Japanese culture thanks to her many travels but also because of her passion for this…
Born in the UK back in the good old days of 1975, I was raised here in Luxembourg from the age of 6. My father was a chartered accountant and my mother a dancer-choreographer, and both their careers have had an influence on my business interests. Being an immigrant child certainly plays a large role in my choice of venture too, as do my studies in philosophy and comparative literature. And of course, that fact that my husband and I have raised three children.
After having spent some years working as an employee, my creative side was longing for more autonomy. For years I kept glancing at vacant properties imagining how I could fill the place with life. In May 2020, after some upheaval in my private life as well as the impact of the pandemic, my desire to get active was huge. I happened to fall upon a property which seemed too good to miss, and so I jumped into the deep end. My project encompasses many of my values: spending quality time with my children, reducing loneliness in society, valuing diversity. The idea was to create a space which is easily accessible and where parents can meet and spend time with their children.
I spent six months setting up the business working with my bank, nyuko and my accountant to get the project going. Key to the café getting up and running was making use of my contacts, which I had gathered working as “Potty Lotty”, a reading project which I had launched in schools 4 years prior.
The project brought my concept to live: To connect parents and their children, by the age-old tradition of telling stories!
“Bonzënnen Bonzuewen”, the story café aimed at families was born.
My project encompasses many of my values: spending quality time with my children, reducing loneliness in society, valuing diversityCharlotte Reuter
An initial fall-back plan which I prepared considering the lingering pandemic was to apply for an “autorisation de commerce”, as well as an “autorisation de boissons de debit”. Just as well, as the day the café was scheduled to open, December 1st, all cafés and restaurants had to close and did not reopen until April 2021.
Currently the business focuses on organising workshops for kids and parents, establishing networks between other social enterprises, as well as offering a “second home” for spontaneous visits, where creativity and connectedness are central.
Don’t be afraid to follow your dream. But make sure you do the necessary preparation and surround yourself with all available experts. And don’t underestimate your need to feel support from family and friends. It is a long road and you will need many people to keep you motivated.
Spuerkeess was great as a sounding board during the initial planning phase, and then helped expertly during the creation phase. Having a personal banker with knowledge of small businesses has been very useful.
Nyuko has signed a partnership with Spuerkeess, in order to foster entrepreneurial spirit and strengthening the bank's position with company founders from the start of their businesses. More info in our article: https://www.spuerkeess.lu/en/blog/experts-corner/nyuko-fostering-entrepreneurial-spirit/.