Interview with Oksana and Odile (30) business owners of Nakhati
Oksana and Odile give you a taste of Slavic cuisine, with a pinch of culture on top! Nakhati is their brainchild, an exciting socio-cultural food concept that works with local products. It is the entrepreneurial dream of Odile and Oksana, two sisters from a Belgian-Ukrainian family. At the age of 30, the duo took the plunge into the deep end – in the midst of the corona crisis. Last year, they took temporary residence in Kokotte, the horeca incubator of hub.brussels.
Welcome to Nakhati – and feel free to make yourself at home!
Who or what is Nakhati?
“Nakhati means ‘home’ in Ukrainian. Our business in Brussels is a cross between store, restaurant and cultural café. A place where everyone is welcome, regardless of origin, language, age, gender, orientation or faith. In addition, Nakhati is also a local and social project, thanks to our strong ties with local producers, retailers and artists.”
Why in Brussels?
“Brussels is the second most cosmopolitan city in the world, after Dubai. Brussels is also a capital on a human scale. In one street here you’ll meet people from all over the world! And there’s often a friendly rapport between the neighborhood and its shops. This kind of relationship and proximity with local anchoring you don’t often see in other major cities. That’s why we think Brussels is an ideal place to host a project like ours!”
Have your plans been thwarted by COVID-19?
“COVID-19 had a negative impact on our annual figures, without a doubt. This means that we’re currently working on a voluntary basis. Since our launch, this crisis has forced us to constantly readjust our project. A good dose of creativity and adaptability is essential to survive this crisis!”
Have you found alternatives to deal with the crisis?
“We have completely adjusted the menu of Nakhati, so everything is easy for take-away. We also introduced home delivery. In addition, we organized an artisan market with Belgian and Slavic handmade products. There were also livestreams with a free stage for artists, free tasting sessions, etc.. We even stood out on the street to sell our products! Basically, we tried just about everything. Unfortunately, though, for the past few months there has been very little pedestrian traffic on Beenhouwersstraat, where our store is located. Fortunately, we were able to compensate a bit for the lack of traffic by holding those periodic small events, while respecting all corona measures of course.”
What were the biggest hurdles in getting started?
“The financial aspect, without a doubt…”
What were the opportunities that you found?
“To stay at Kokotte, the horeca incubator of hub.brussels! Without that opportunity, it would have been very difficult to start from scratch. Especially during the crisis. Since the beginning of this adventure, we’ve also met a lot of wonderful people who have been helping us with all sorts of things. That’s really fantastic!”
Do you think you should be of a certain age to start a business?
“No, the most important thing is that you are well guided and advised. That’s the case, for example, with Kokotte, Wicked Pigeon, la Couveuse, Village Partenaire or one of the many other Brussels initiatives to support starting entrepreneurs. So no, we don’t think there is an age limit for starting a business. We’ve always believed that it’s better to take calculated risks, than to live with regrets!”
3 golden entrepreneurial tips from Oksana & Odile
- 1) You can’t do everything equally well! Surround yourself with capable people, who support your approach.
- 2) Be open to others, sharing information is very important.
- 3) Learn to put things in perspective, and don’t get discouraged.
Like Oksana and Odile, do you want to start your own business? Discover our extensive services for start-up entrepreneurs:
Do you want to open your own restaurant? Come test your culinary concept for less and with less risk at Kokotte, our hospitality incubator.
Do you want to get started in the retail business? Come test your concept for less and with less risk at the Auberge Espagnole Etterbeek and Saint-Gilles, our two retail pop-up store incubators!
Are you opening a retail business soon? Have you recently opened one or are you planning on expanding? hub.brussels’ coaches follow your commercial project, from idea to realisation.
Do you want to learn the business from qualified entrepreneurs? Participate in the “Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs” programme!