An unusual entrepreneur story

At Phloopy’s Creperie the customer is the chef

It took a year before he talked to her. Gjergji saw Enxhi at the high school, in Korce. The school year had just started. Enxhi Nikolla was a first year’s student, while Gjergji Make had just started his final year.

– I wasn’t looking for any boyfriend, so I ignored everybody who tried to take contact with me”, says Enxhi.

But when his school was soon to be finished he found courage and went to talk to her. He didn’t give up and the rest is history: They are living together in Finland and are crêperie-entrepeneurs.

After four and a half years together and even in a strange country this Albanian couple still smile when they look at each other.

How did they end up in Finland and start a company?

It was all by a coincidence. They had pointed at the map. Randomly. The country they would point would be the destination of their next holiday. It was Finland and in summer 2013 they travelled. They liked the country so much that a year later they moved from Albania to Helsinki.

There was only one con. They couldn’t find a crêperie.

Quiecy, individuality are the things Enxhi and Gjergji appreciates the most in Finland. They see Finland a safe country and appreciate the high level of our education.

– In Albania people are more noisy and dramatic, they say. Here the neighbors won’t interfere to other people’s lives, Gjergji explains the differences.

The couple came here to live and study. Both of them are now second year students in business information technology. – But we didn’t know about the free education before we decided to move here. It was not the reason to come, Gjergji underlines.

When the couple moved here in summer 2014, very soon after that they idea of own crêperie came into their minds.

– Crepes are a lot healthier option than hamburgers or pizzas, Gjergji says.

Both of their families have members as entrepreneurs. Gjergji has also run their family business in Albania before, so he knows what it is like. They registered their company last summer.  – We started with events and catering, Enxhi says.

Now they have cooked their crepes in 6 different events.

In a long run they are hoping to find a place for their own restaurant/cafeteria where so serve their delicacies; Crepes, smoothies, fruit salads and some drinks like tea and coffee.

And maybe one day have a franchising chain for crêperies.

Crepes are typical food in Albania. Now they are currently waiting a work permit for Enxhi’s dad, who is going to work as a chef. Albania is a non-EU country so that’s why he has to have a work permit before he can work. Overall the couple is extremely happy with all the help they have gotten from Finnish friends, the Startup School and the Enterprise Helsinki when starting the company.

Their motto: Be your own chef means, that the client is the chief: The customer is the boss, the one who decides the fillings etc. The company has also taken the special diets into account. E.g. sugar-free, gluten-free and lactose-free crêpes are also available.

– We have noticed that the customers loves to see us cooking the dish for them. At the same time they can also see that the ingredients are fresh.

Their career has just begun but with the enthusiasm and attitude they have I am sure they are going to succeed.

Text and photo: Kati Oksman