This week we had the pleasure of having a sit-down with the brilliant forces and masterminds behind Café Fosc (MOB Bailen). Eva Ruiz and Fabiola Feyt reinvented the business model of a café, offering way more than a good cup of coffee and food. With their dark humour, real talk and sincere love for what they’re doing, they’re working hard every day to contribute to the creative community, form deep bonds, and brainstorm on their ambitious future vision…
Tell us a little bit about Cafe Fosc!
Fabi: “We started Café Fosc together in January 2019, Eva and me. Fosc means ‘dark’ in Catalan: our approach to life is a perfect balance between light and dark. I still love it.
Café Fosc, to me, is an actual person. Well, a woman. Some days she’s full of joy, and positivity. The next day she can be a little bit moody. She’s not perfect, and she’s definitely not cute. We feel super uncomfortable with the label ‘cute’. You know when you’re buying apples, usually people go for the perfect, round and shiny ones: we don’t really like those. We’re okay with the ugly, crooked apples: but they taste delicious. That’s Café Fosc.
She’s like one of us: no filter, quite punk, and loves DIY culture. About 95% of what we sell is homemade, that’s one of our core values. I personally come from quite a hardcore punk scene in Argentina, where everybody is kind of broke and doesn’t get supported by the government. It comes naturally to me to figure out how to do things by myself.”
Eva: “We really believe in the power of collaboration. There’s an ego thing about identity. We don’t see ourselves without the strong community behind us that we have right now. MOB adds a unique aspect to Café Fosc that makes us different.
When you’re in your business, in your bubble, sometimes you miss things… Here we are exposed to so many different ways to do things – that has made us way more flexible. We’re constantly evolving. With basically nothing, we came up with something quite competitive.
Café Fosc is a place where I can be myself, completely. I love reading deep philosophy and essays about feminism. I’m either learning how to be a human or cooking. Which is exactly what I’m doing at the café. We love to have philosophical conversations together or with the community, about gender, love, relationships… it doesn’t matter.”
She’s like one of us: no filter…
Fabi: “We don’t really believe in the traditional customer-service concept. Just because we’re behind a bar, you have money for us, and we have a product for you – doesn’t mean we have to change our personalities. We cling to our values, always. We are activists as much as possible: we defend those values in the streets, in our house, and here at Café Fosc. This is not the time to be silent.”
What are the biggest challenges you’ve come face-to-face with because of COVID?
Eva: “People who have their own business are dealing with a lot of guilt these days. People will keep telling you ‘If you put in some extra effort you’re going to make it, you just have to think outside of the box!’ We end up blaming ourselves, but actually, this situation is completely out of our control too. Doing more than a 100% doesn’t exist. There comes a point where you have to let it go. So yes, we’ve been struggling. But it’s nice to feel the MOB community has our back.
Doing more than a 100% doesn’t exist.
Fabi: “Money comes and goes. It’s the mental challenge that really hits you. Just seeing how the restaurants and bar community is struggling right now, it’s discouraging. When we leave Café Fosc at the end of the day, we go support our friends who own other cafeterias around Barcelona. But to hear the most positive, professional and amazing people you know say ‘I´m done with this’ – is heartbreaking. We just can’t be positive every day. How the social network is going to be once this is controlled scares me.
What’s the ideal future of Café Fosc, in a bright and ideal world?
Eva: “Everything we were doing before COVID hit. We’ve always believed this space has so much potential. We want to grow, collaborate, and keep inventing. This is the dream.”
Fabi: “I also like the idea of having more Café Fosc’s, in other multidisciplinary spaces. Maybe in an art gallery or a music studio? How fun would it be to hide a tiny Fosc in there? I’d love to be in places where people wouldn’t expect to find us, but then BOOM, there we are! Yes, I would really like to build replicas wherever we’re needed.”