Chiara is a people person. She enjoys socialising, comfort and companionship, and she loves the smell of steaming coffee and freshly baked pastries. So along with two friends, she built up a coffee bar from scratch in Antwerp.
But it isn’t easy. “The competition is fierce,” Chiara admits. “By offering quality produce and service, you can keep customers coming back to your bar. But most of the customers here are day visitors, often coming from far and near. You have to find another way to pull them in.” Chiara’s secret? “Atmosphere. Tons of atmosphere!”
Chiara’s coffee bar exudes authenticity. Lots of wood, roughly plastered walls, wall lights and... a birdcage with four zebra finches. “I chose zebra finches because their chatter is a bit less loud and shrill than parakeets. They’re also very colourful birds, who fit well with the interior. It’s as if their chattering encourages the customers to chat too.” And what more can you ask for as a barista than customers catching up over a cup of coffee?”
It’s not only the birds that blend into the interior. The stylish copper-coloured cage also contributes to the overall design. “Lots of customers tell me how much they like the cage,” says Chiara. “The finches have lots of freedom of movement and I can clean them easily. That was essential, because I have to clean them every day.