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Emmalou

NEW PLYMOUTH, NZ

Words: The Ozone Family

ZOE FLOWER | OPENED: MARCH 2015

What did you do before you opened?

Before opening the café , I was already making macarons! I made goodie bags which I would give to people instead of Christmas presents. I would make a whole bunch of stuff – brownies and gingerbread men and things like that – and I would put them together in bags and give them out. My goodie bags included macarons, and people said ‘oh they are so good!’, so I thought maybe I could try selling them wholesale. In January 2014 I started selling Macarons at markets. I soon got a name for myself, including a following on Facebook, and eventually opened Emmalou.

Is opening a café something you always wanted to do?

I have an accounting and economics background from school and university, so I always thought that business would be something I would be good at. I have also worked in hospitality for 10 years. After a while I started to see areas where I thought I could do well, and I thought maybe I should just try it. I think we have been pretty lucky because we have a great spot that people love; we actually haven’t had to try very hard to get people in here.

How do you keep your team engaged and motivated?

Good question! We try and keep a good atmosphere by staying positive and being friendly with all of our staff. I think this helps. People want to work hard for people they like. Also, we keep our staff motivated because we work as well. One of us is here all of the time. I have managed places since I was twenty and I would never ask any of my staff to do something that I wouldn’t do myself.

What did you get right from the start?

Two things. First, we got our concept right from the very get go. The style of the place we were happy with straight away. Second, we trained our staff really well. The first few weeks for a cafe are crucial, because people judge you the most at that stage, but it’s also often the stage that mistakes might happen. We put a lot of work into staff training before we started, and soft launches helped with ironing out any issues. I think it all comes back to the staff. We have been very lucky to have great staff that work hard and are always friendly.

What has been your biggest challenge?

I think the biggest challenge for us is switching off after we leave. It’s taken a while to realise that there’s no need to worry too much, we are trying our best, and that’s all we can do!