We all love bwè kafe's coffee, vibe, snacks, and friendly team, but do you know the mom boss behind the coffee shops and the new Hoboken restaurant, Seven Valleys??? If not, you should know her! We had the opportunity to chat her up (and meet her adorable little ones) and see the mom boss in action! (See above...a barista wearing a newborn? That's a rockstar mom for you!)
You have two of the most popular coffee shops in our area, tell us the truth…with access to so much delicious caffeine, how do you seem so calm all the time? Do you even drink the coffee?
Well, I’m definitely not always calm, haha, but I have such an amazing support system that I take advantage of. And I also take advantage of the caffeine! I’m one of those crazy people that can drink coffee at 9pm and have no problem sleeping. But yes, I usually make some coffee at home when I first wake up and then go to bwè for my next cup—it’s a bit of ritual.
Let’s be frank. There are a LOT of coffee shops in Hoboken and the surrounding areas. What makes bwè so different, and why do you think your model is so popular and unique?
Thank you!! Well, I think it’s the coming together of a lot of things that makes it all work. First off, we try REALLY hard. There’s a lot of people that work to make sure that we’re doing our best with the coffee we serve, the service we give, and the atmosphere we offer. Second, we’re not just coffee people, but we’re also coffee shop people and I think that’s a big part of it. Offering the best quality coffee and product is just one part of the business, but offering a place where people can relax, connect with people, and feel like they’re part of a greater community is another. Third, we have a strong social and economic development component to which we would be nowhere without. The very reason we opened the coffee shop was so that we could help sustain the NGO Love for Haiti--which I could go on and on about, haha.
And then, lastly, we do EVERYTHING ourselves. We don’t have anyone helping us with signage or graphics and we don’t consult designers for designing and building out our shops, we work tirelessly to conceptualize every inch of the space and every bit of merchandise. And we’re also baristas ourselves, so we are often taking shifts behind the bar and working side-by-side with everyone else on our team. This all gives bwè an authenticity that is uniquely us.
What is your favorite thing about raising a family in the area?
My family moved to Hoboken when I was 3 months old, so I grew up here. We moved away when I was in high school, but we all made our way back. It’s amazing seeing my daughters in the same parks I grew up in (although way cooler now). I often run into my middle school teachers and my old principals. I’m friends with the girl that used to babysit me as a child. There’s such a great community of families now, too. I love being able to walk out my door and know nearly everyone on my block and then walk a couple blocks and be at a park, a grocery store, or a great restaurant or coffee shop (wink!). The accessibility to everything is so important to me.
We are SO excited about your newest venture, Seven Valleys. Tell us the inspiration and what we can expect!
Thank you! The inspiration is actually not that exciting (or lofty like bwè's inception story). We are members of the Bahai Faith that finds its roots in Iran, so we’ve always been surrounded by Persian food. At any Bahai celebration or holy day, there’s some Persian family cooking up a storm! The food is SO GOOD, but there’s really so few Persian restaurants. And being Hobokenites ourselves, we really wanted to share this food with the town (and selfishly be able to indulge in the experience ourselves). The menu consists of a selection of really delicious rices that can be paired with different meat or veggie kabobs or fish or some traditional stews too. And personally, I also love how colorful and beautiful the dishes end up looking too.
We’ve all heard and recited the saying, “It takes a village.” Tell us, who is your village that helps you juggle two small kids, two coffee shops, and now a restaurant?
My village is big and they’re so amazing. My mom and brother both live minutes from me, and my dad lives in The Heights. My husband also works in the business with us, so there’s a lot of involved people that help with the juggling. But the family extends to the people working at bwè too. I’ll often let my toddler loose in the coffee shops and she plays with her uncles and aunties there too!
When you actually get a break (is that even a thing?!), what are your favorite places to unwind and “adult” in Hoboken or Jersey City?
That is a hard question, haha. I’m a bit of an old soul. I love eating out and going to the movies--nothing crazy even if I did have time for it.
I try and hit the gym every other day. Sometimes, I’ll escape life for a few minutes and sit (and ultimately shop) at Peper and Parlor. The ladies there listen to my craziness and I leave feeling so much better! And usually having done some retail therapy also, so that’s not a bad thing! (All about multitasking)! I’m also a huge fan of Corto, the new Italian restaurant in The Heights. Beautiful space, wonderful people and the food is excellent!
What do you hope your kids take away from seeing their mama work so hard and tirelessly?
I hope my kids see that nothing worthwhile comes without hard work, passion, and purpose. I try to teach about fulfillment and purpose and that happiness is a byproduct of those things. Also, the fact that their mom can be around is a privilege that many cannot afford and that doesn’t go unnoticed in our family. This is also why they come with me to my meetings and errands even if it’s a little chaotic.
What is the best business advice anyone ever gave you? How about the worst?
Someone once told me to work for time, not money and I really like that idea. Man, I can’t seem to think about bad business advice I’ve been given, but I have no doubt that i have been given it -- haha.
Tell us your funniest “Mom Fail” moment.
Omg funniest mom fail! I feel like I have ten a day! Lol
When my eldest, Isla, was about 5 months old we took her to the MOMA. She had a blow out on the way there that ruined her clothes, so I changed her in the car before entering. We walked around enjoying the art and realized she had another blow out that had AGAIN ruined her clothes. So I went into the bathroom to change her only to have her SCREAMING her head off every time someone flushed the toilet or used the hand dryer (which was basically constantly). My husband said he could hear her all the way down the hall. This was already super stressful for me. I wanted to ask everyone in the bathroom to just freeze for 5 minutes while I changed this frantic baby. I finally got her cleaned up only to realize I had already gone through her change of clothes!! So, she went straight into the carrier screaming and without any clothes. As I exited the bathroom, an older lady said to me, "I bet this will be a day you don’t forget" haha. And she’s right--never forgot it. I got a lot of double takes that day, having a naked baby in the MOMA. For some reason, I still only bring one change of clothes around with me. Lighting never strikes twice, right?
A day in the life of Dale…Go!
A day in my life. Hmm...I think really the only consistent thing is that I say I quick prayer or intention in my head right before getting out of bed and have a coffee every morning.
I wake up and go back to sleep and wake up again several times throughout the night, but I get out of bed latest 7am. Try to get my two year old to eat breakfast. Then get myself and the kids dressed. Our first destination is usually bwè Hoboken and then the park. Then the rest of the day is usually filled with meetings, coordinating with people about future events and plans, and running errands. Sometimes I’ll walk to the Newport location with the kids and that will second as my workout and usually the walk will get my toddler to nap too. I try and spend a good amount of time outside with the kids whenever possible. There are weeks where it feels like we’re just putting out fires and other weeks where everything is going perfectly and according to plan. We aim for a balance between structure and being flexible--for both business and family life. Some nights we eat a home cooked dinner around the dining room table and other days it’s take-out while at an open mic at the coffee shop.
Do you have the perfect candidate for our next Mom Boss of the Month? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us!