Three weeks ago, I wrote on my planner "Post blog Third Space" and here I am writing this after all those weeks. I try to cross out my "things to do" as soon as possible. But with this one, I just kept ignoring it.
I'm kinda dreading it not because I have nothing to say, but because I have a lot to say and I don't even know how to start, what details to share, and how in-depth I could go. But here I am, and I'll just wing it as I write how a newly married couple started a studio cafe. Here we go...
|Unveiling of the 25 lucky cats on our first day.|
Owning a diner / cafe was never in our plan. Even in my wildest dreams, it wouldn't be something I would like to someday have. I'm not brave, I don't like taking risk, especially as big as this one. I'm quite happy with our current work situation, and having a business with so much overhead scared me to tell you the truth.
We had DuoDeco a while back, and that's my kind of jam. It's just the two of us. We refinished vintage items, made unique decor pieces, sell them by appointment, and go on with our day and work on other things. It was simple. We temporarily shut down Duo Deco to focus on building the Tiny House. The plan was to relaunch it sometime in the future, in a different space / concept. But that was it. Nothing definite.
|For a bit of contrast, we added a lighter green for our frame gallery wall.|
One day, Yuseff saw a space for lease. We were not even looking for one. He just randomly saw it while online. It was a short walk from my family's home, and a few minutes drive from the Tiny House. It's in a great location and really convenient for us. But then again, even if I saw all the positives, I focused on my fears. I don't want to do it. It's a BIG investment for a simple girl like me. But Yuseff is a risk taker. And I'm glad he is. We went to check out the space and meet with the property owner to discuss, and a few weeks after that, we got the space! OH MY.
|The shelves on the bar area has some of our collection and the Rizal busts that will be up for sale soon.|
It really was a roller coaster ride, and it still is. Our plan before finding this place is to open a furniture / decor store, but this location is great for a diner and it would be a shame not to take that opportunity. Yuseff loves to cook, and both of our families have backgrounds in running a restaurant, so we asked for advice, help, anything we could to learn this thing. My fear turned to confusion, anxiety, then excitement.
When people ask us what our concept is, the answer is nothing specific really. We just wanted a homey space for people to eat and hang-out with their family and friends. A space where they can play, relax, and enjoy. Hence the name Third Space Studio Cafe. Yuseff is the one who thought of the name, and believe me, we considered a lot and I had made tons of logo for them! Haha.. Here's the thought behind it: your first space is your home, your second space is your school or workplace, your third space is the place where you hang-out, have some fun, and relax. So, welcome to your Third Space! :) Haha.. The food also follow that concept, they are simple, home-cooked style, comfort food. The drinks are milk teas, fruit teas, iced lattes, shakes, and frappes. It's actually very straight forward, nothing complicated.
|Our trunk collection as a seating on one of the tables.|
I'm getting ahead of myself. Before we even got to finalize the menu, we had a whole lot of things to do, buy, etc! The original plan was to have a cafe where you can buy almost any items you see. You like the chair you're sitting on, buy it. There'll be an option to buy as is, or if you want it refurbished. We're still doing that soon, but for now we're focusing on the operation aspect, which is where all my doubts lie since we're new in this. But with a lot of research, help from our families, tweaking and improving as we go, we are slowly getting the hang of it.
As for the current furniture and decor pieces we used, they are mostly items we already had. If you've been a reader for a while, you might have read here somewhere that we have hoarding tendencies. Haha.. We love to buy vintage furniture, collect interesting decors, and just store them. We've had most of the pieces here even before we knew we'll have a cafe. Imagine the hoarding, people! Haha.. But it helped a lot. Not having to buy new furniture for a whole cafe, so much savings. Though we already paid for it way before so I guess it's still not savings per se, just a better way to store our stuff? Haha.. But many of these things will be up for sale soon except for some favorites or those with sentimental value, because hello, hoarders = us.
|We have random light fixtures all around -from the chandeliers, to the bar lights, to all the wall lights. Everything is unique and custom-made.|
The design of the space is basically eclectic since it's just all the items we already had. It just so happened that we love vintage so it looks like we have a theme in here. Hehe.. The design and colors were a collaborative effort of both Yuseff and me. We did have a lot of arguments, like how we are when making decisions for the Tiny House. Both of us have a vision, and both of us are stubborn, which I'm not sure is a good combination (HAHA), but as it turns out, our vision is quite the same and we both love how Third Space (and our Tiny House) turned out.
|One of my favorite detail are the window grills. We need to have those since we have a basketball court out back, so we bought these arch window grills and made it work. It really gives the space so much charm.|
We also DIYd a lot of things in here because that's what we do. That's our comfort zone, weird but we love to do things ourselves. Though while doing it I'm always thinking what the heck did I got myself into. Which is also what I was thinking while we're in the process of opening up Third Space. Haha..
|Yup, all walls have something in them. That's the shelf above the main door.|
Doubt was at the back of my mind along the process. I was enjoying the challenge, I was enjoying the excitement, but this was really new to us and such a big deal so I can't help but have some fear. What did made me be a bit braver was when Yuseff asked me, "Would it ruin your life if this thing didn't work out?" Umm. No. We will lose (A LOT OF) our savings. But that was it. We can always work to save some more. This is a great experience no matter what the outcome, and I'm sure we'll learn a lot. So that did it. We came in not expecting anything, so we had a little peace of mind going in.
|There's so much going on in the space -with all our random furniture pieces, wall decors, different wall colors and texture-but it goes together. Thank goodness!|
Having that mindset freed us in a way and help us enjoy the process even more. I don't think anyone who knew us expected us to open up a cafe, it's just something we never talked about. I, myself, didn't see this in our future, much less so early in our married life. But here we are five months in. We still sometimes find ourselves giddy and amused that we had created this thing. While hanging out there, we still look at each other and say "Uy o, may restaurant ka!" and then we'll laugh. We find it funny, not because this isn't serious, but because we actually did it. Two adult-looking children did something big and so out of their comfort zone.
The last three years of our lives was all life changing, and money spending(?)! haha.. We built the Tiny House, then we had our wedding, right after that, we opened Third Space! This was not the plan, but I'm happy we're here.
|Our outdoor patio, and my favorite window grills!|
Things I learned: 1) It's okay to be scared but don't let it hinder you from taking risk and jumping at opportunities. 2) Whatever you decide to do, enjoy the process. So whatever the outcome, at least you did have fun. 3) Ask for help.
There's actually a lot more because everyday is a learning process. The amount of detail that needed attention to run a restaurant whatever the scale is, is a lot especially for first-timers. It's challenging but quite exciting really. This new year, our plan is to have the furniture/decor shop fully operational. I'll keep you updated on that. We already have new pieces lined-up and I'm excited! It's not going to be your usual decor pieces. Abangan... Haha