Meet Marco & Valentino, the founders of H/eart.h, a nature-inspired creative space dedicated to tickling all your senses through music, artistic clothing, and vegan food. Previously located on the Albert Cuyp, but soon to re-open on a new location. H/eart.h stands for HEART because this is the space where we cultivate all our passions… H/eart.h stands for EARTH because we adopt a plant-based diet and try to be as sustainable as we can. Scroll down to read the entire interview!
Why and when did you decide to enter the industry you are in?
We've been long-term vegetarians, and there just weren't many good places around (this was around 2015). It was always the same stuff, and it lacked creativity, plus a mix of other things, meeting interesting new people and developing a concept of a mix of things that we love.
What does sustainability mean to you (how do you incorporate it in your business)?
Our first-ever menu didn't have any waste; we used and reused everything we could. Later on, we switched from vegetarian to vegan.
We wanted to give local product producers and designers a chance to display their products contributing to the local economy and international artists from over the whole world, who through their performance make people aware of certain themes in the world that deserve attention.
How would you define your mindset towards manifesting your dreams?
The first year and a half at the beginning of Hearth, we didn't have any staff. It was just the two of us. We were doing everything, from cleaning to cooking to serving food, and all the correspondence with the artists and the financial stuff. It was nuts; we worked 15 hours days, the first seven months without a day off.
Looking back, even though it was hard work, it got us to where we are now. We just started even though we were clueless in some areas; we grew with the place. Valentino: I never had that much confidence in myself, even with cooking. Staying so focused on H/earth gave me confidence in myself and to move forward in life.
Tell us about a project that didn't work out. What did you learn from it?
Especially in the beginning, we tried to do and offer as many things as possible, which is never a good idea in the end. It works best when you focus only on a few things instead of a lot. Create focus and do what suits you best. Although we enjoyed doing so many things, business-wise and energy-wise, it was not always the smartest move to make. Now we know not to say yes to everything, and we are more into a natural flow. We know what is suitable for our guests and ourselves.
What Advice Would You Give To Someone Wanting To Enter The Industry?
To be original and have some knowledge in the field you want to enter. Especially in the restaurant business, you need to have some know-how and experience before starting your own business. We both learned a lot from working in restaurants before we started our adventure. In the end, you are the product of your business.
Tell us about your green vision.
For everyone to have access to healthy food products that are sourced ethically and responsibly and are organic. What you put in your body is so important. People need to be taught what is actually good for them. Healthy and organic food should be the standard for everyone, not a luxury for wealthy people. Next to that, slow down more; everybody is too distracted and already focused on the next best thing. People should enjoy and appreciate the present moment.
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