From London To Geneva: Opening A Tea-room Experience
Olga changed megacity of London to cozy Geneva Lake atmosphere. Here she integrated British afternoon-tea traditions into a calm life of a diplomatic city. At her concept, she got a nice fusion mixing French and English style with Russian spirit.
SUISSEPIC: You opened a tea-room in Geneva. Tell a few words about the concept.
Olga: Before moving to Geneva we have been living in London. I just loved their afternoon tea tradition with beautiful desserts and nice porcelain tea sets. At that time I even did not think about baking cakes myself or opening a tea room.
Travelling a lot I paid attention to the interiors of nice hotels and patisseries all over the world. When I start thinking about my own tea room I had a clear picture of what I want – nice design, mix of English and French style, high quality and at the same time very friendly service and warm welcome to each customer.
Photo: Christie’s Bakery
SUISSEPIC: What kind of products and dishes do you offer and what is your key audience?
Olga: My traditional Russian cakes are well-known in Russian speaking community in Geneva, but our city is very international so I wanted everyone to find in my tea room something that they would like and know well.
I spent a lot of time in USA, Spain and France, so here we go. I offer not only famous Russian honey cake and Napoleon, but also carrot cake, Black Forest, cheesecake, various cupcakes, cute croissant breakfast and some vegan/gluten free cakes. We have as well all day brunch and champagne, great selection of tea, organic coffee and freshly squeezed juices. Our audience is quite wide – from bankers who work nearby and mommies with girlfriends and little kids to students and sophisticated locals.
Photo: Christie’s Bakery
SUISSEPIC: Why have you chosen Geneva? What do you think of city spirit?
Olga: I came to Geneva more that 10 years ago as a tourist. It was just the love from the first sight. Back than I worked in bank in Ukraine, had a great career and I enjoyed the quiet and calm life here, looked at beautiful old ladies and walking by luxury rue du Rhone I thought that one day I would live here! I even came later to one bank for a job interview, ironically now my tea room is at the same area) So, when my husband found new job in Geneva, there was no hesitation.
SUISSEPIC: What are your business development plans?
Olga: I am planning to offer more types of cakes, I’d love to serve English afternoon tea and at the beginning of the next year I am opening new location. It will be in residential area – in Corsier – and will be dedicated to families with kids. We will organize birthday parties there, master classes, family brunch and will have a little play corner for children.
Photo: Maria Talanova / suissepic
SUISSEPIC: What is the key measure of success for you?
Olga: When people come from different parts of Switzerland, France and Germany and even Russia just to show the support and say that they heard about our tea room and the cakes are really amazing I sometimes ask myself – how did this happen? I am just doing what I really enjoy and somehow I motivate people.
SUISSEPIC: What was the most difficult and easy about moving to Switzerland?
Olga: For me the moving process was quite smooth and fun, we easily found apartment and school for kids, I spent 2 years learning French and we travelled a lot all over this beautiful country so it is a very positive experience and I wrote about it in my blog.
SUISSEPIC: What is your favorite Swiss place and why?
Olga: Geneva lake is my place of power, Interlaken and all the area around is the place where I’d recommend to go to see the real Switzerland from the post cards, and the most favourite place – is my home and I am very happy that it is in Switzerland.