Friends of Ours is a warm, inviting cafe in Hoxton started by two friends in 2015. It might have been the smell of Dark Arts Coffee wafting through the door, or the sight of the Matcha & Cherry Brioche French Toast that compelled us to enter, but when we did we discovered a shared love of natural influences and a team passionate about their craft. Our Voronoi collection glimmers through the windows and a tumble of Gaia bulbs lights up the end of the bar.
We talked to co-owner Anthony Dyer about his journey.
What inspired you to open your own cafe?
I quit a career in Recruitment to work in my friend’s cafe in Melbourne, and when I got back to London I felt like we were so far behind in the food and coffee scene that I wanted to put all my experiences into a place of my own.
What were the biggest challenges you had to face?
The day we got our application approved by the council, the landlord told us someone else had offered him more money. We had to beg him for the opportunity until he relented. Then two days before we were due to open, the kitchen flooded with waste. Oh, and then scaffolding went up for six months and construction disrupted the street outside, which didn’t exactly bring in the crowds! But on the bright side, we now have a really nice, extended pavement and Cycle Superhighway right on our doorstep, so the months of pain were worth it in the end.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Friends of Ours strives to create a bright, sophisticated cafe with a familiar sense of homely warmth. We wanted to step away from the industrial/warehouse look, and have attempted to create a space that’s light, open and sleek. There are a lot of natural influences that contribute to a neutral decor, with a lot of plants around for greenery.
What is the main restriction you have to deal with?
Budget and space are our main constraints. When the builders left some wood behind, we got it turned into tables by a guy in Sheffield. We got them custom-made to fit our exact dimensions so we could get the most use out of the space. The energy-saving benefits of Tala lighting make a difference to our costs in the long run, too.
What would you say to someone looking to start their own cafe business?
Unfortunately there’s no perfect journey; you need to learn along the way. Keep calm and deal with stuff as it happens, as rage gets you nowhere. I do believe that if you continue to produce great coffee and great food, the people will come.