Story of our Journey
The start of our little journey...
We are Bing & Chao, the co-founders of Round & Round. A lot of people ask us, how do you two met? How did you decide to open a cake store? We always say it is a long story. We both studied in TU Delft, Bing studied Interaction Design and Chao studied Computer Science. After graduated and worked for a while, in 2015, we met each other on a dinner party (yes food links Chinese people together). We became friends and we did a lot of morning joggings together that spring. Later we found that we both have passion in baking and we both dream of opening a shop. A little space where we meet people, share our stories and interests. Finally we decided to make this dream come true together.
Basically this is how the journey begins. Sometimes, things just come together naturally :)
Thanks to this ‘Information Time’, we can easily access information from the internet or from books. It is mush easier to jump to a new field than several decades ago. A lot of people ask us, why are you doing something different than what you have studied? We say, why not? You can always use what you learned from study. Sometimes what you need is just a different view and always be open-minded!
Crossing the rivers, and climbing the mountains.
We both know that what we want to bring to our customers : tasty natural cake with lower amount of sugar; a cute and relax shop atmosphere and an unique experience. Here we can just try new recipes, create new flavours, share with people what we really like. We can also do workshops and other activities that bring people who are with same interests together. Maybe “Fluffy” is the best word to describe our cakes and the atmosphere: gentle, soft, warm and welcoming.
During our preparation period, we focused on developing our products and we went to several markets to get direct feedback from customers. It was a great to fun to sell our cakes and talk to people. We gained confidence and a lot of support.
Besides getting inspired, we also need to dive into areas that we are not familiar with. For example getting knowledge of taxes, management and just many many other small things around the shop itself. We did a lot of homework and visited a lot of people. It felt like swimming in a big ocean at the beginning, but slowly we have found our way. We feel so lucky because we did get a lot of help and advises. It turns out to be the coolest project we ever do.
China & Japan: fountain of inspirations
Nowadays in China, Japan or some other asian countries, there are many modern cafes which has creative characters and a ‘cute’ style. This is what we miss here in Holland, so we want to bring this type of ‘cute’ & ‘forest’ style cafe to people here.
Furthermore, we both love Japanese cake rolls and matcha, so it was not difficult for us to find our style and focus.
In October 2016, we traveled to Japan to get inspired. It was an amazing trip, we have tasted a lot of cake rolls, visited different Japanese cafes, and of course we couldn’t miss Uji, the hometown of matcha. It is an important ‘field research’ to us.
We found Rotterdam, or Rotterdam found us?
In the meanwhile of baking cakes & writing our business plan, we were searching for a shop location. Finally we came to Rotterdam which is full of new concept and cool ideas. We explored the city and we found this little place on Hoogstraat. We love the atmosphere and friendly hosts on this part of the street. Then things went smoothly: we got the key of our shop location!
If you are curious that which part of the preparation period was the most impressive part?
We’d say the renovation :P We did a lot of work that we’v never done before: like equalising the floor, tiling, sanding and drilling... We showed our girl power. These D.I.Y work was tough but also made this place more like our baby to us. Luckily we got a group of great friends who can help here and there, you also made the process more fun.
On January 16th 2016, we had our Grand Opening. We will always remember that day, with chaos, surprises, laughters and tears. In general, we survived our first day :) and the journey of Round&Round shop officially begins.
Our journey just began...
From that day, we are here almost everyday to meet different people. We serve the cakes & drinks we also love. We are lucky that we have met a lot of cute clients and we become friends. Our new partner Sissy was one of our customers as well. We are lucky girls!
To run a shop is never easy, but we have a smile on our faces everyday. Isn’t it enough? :) When this story has been written, Round & Round is just one and half year old. We are still very young and we still have a lot ideas that we want to experiment.
People ask what our final goals and dreams are. It is always difficult to answer. We just want to be better and better :) There are several things we definitely want to achieve: Making more awesome creations with Matcha, making our shop a real awesome ‘matcha forest’ in Holland. We also want to contribute more in culture exchange by brining more cross-culture food, craft and workshops. And most importantly staying creative and passionate!
At the end, we want to give our great thanks to people who have supported us on our journey, special thanks to families and friends of Bing & Chao, who are always there for us; and of course our cute customers who are always as curious as we are.
We hope our story will be inspiring to you, and see you around in Round&Round