The Journey to Cafeza

Today's a special day for me for a number of reasons -primarily that it's my one year anniversary of living in New York. (ahh!! so crazy saying that haha) 

But before I can even jump into sharing the highlights of the last year, I just have to stop and share a story that's almost as near and dear to my heart. The icing on the cake to my departure was that by this time last year two of my dearest friends, Ryan and Keisha Hazen had just opened their Houston based coffee shop Cafeza. 

The year leading up to the opening was one I'll never forget. I was working for myself at this point as a freelance brand consultant. Those entrepreneur Instagram accounts had gotten the best of me haha and shortly after I started working for myself, Ryan and Keisha announced that they had signed the lease on a space in a great area and that it was official. They were going to go for it!

There's this alluring charm of entrepreneurship. The feeling of knowing you're going to create something that's uniquely yours. The possibility of having a more flexible schedule. The opportunity to build wealth outside of the confines of a set salary. All these things put a twinkle in an entrepreneur's eyes. But what moved me most watching them build their business was that all those things were secondary. 

Any conversation with them at one point or another came back to the core of their why, to create a space where people could come and feel loved, to build and work on their dreams, where they knew they'd be treated well. A place for healing and conversation. 

The vision of Cafeza was more than just a business or a way to get out of the rat race, is was centered on people. There's no doubt in my mind that it was that very outlook that created so many roadblocks to Cafeza finally opening, and through it all I watched them navigate it with grace and faith that God would honor this vision of theirs. 

Week in week out, Cafeza was my office space, through the heat, through construction, all the way up to the grand opening. I can't thank them enough for that time. For the lessons I learned. For allowing me to see the unfiltered face of what being an entrepreneur and starting a business can look like. The simple truth is that the majority of the time it's simply not as glamorous as it seems, even with the crystal clear, vision, resources plan, etc. 

So if you can only imagine each breakthrough no matter how small was big. The kitchen, the batch getting put in, the beautiful doors leading into the shop from the patio. The custom steel bar. The steam punk getting installed. I could go on and on, but I say all of that, because that year taught me a lot about grit, and sticking it out, and making things happen for yourself when it seems like your whole world is falling apart and you just want to give in.

They never gave up. They stuck it out, and now Cafeza is one of the number one coffee shops in Houston! They host some of the coolest events. Offer a space for artists to exhibit their work, and most importantly, it's an escape for so many.

I could go on and on and on, but I'll close with this, never underestimate the influence of those around you. Surround yourself with the dreamers, the doers, people who will speak life into you, who genuinely love you, who believe in success beyond themselves. The extra mile people. That's the tribe.

Ry, Keish, I just can't tell you guys how happy and proud I am of you two. Thank you for being such a beautiful example in business, love, and faith. Can't wait to celebrate in person over a cafecito, churros and tacos! 

If you haven't been by Cafeza yet, you're missing out haha Link to their insta below. Enjoy!

Xoxo -Chels

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