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Something’s brewing - 20 Questions with Valentina Beleno, Morena

Valentina Beleno is the co-founder of Morena – a Columbian coffee roaster and restaurant opening in April 2020 in London. We asked Valentina 20 questions about Morena, and how she uses Revolut Business.  

What’s your title, and how long have you been with your business?
I’m the Co-Founder of Morena. We started brainstorming about this with my sister over 3 years ago, but actually working on it – it’s been a year and a half.

What’s the “elevator pitch” for your business?
Morena is a Colombian coffee roaster and all-day dining restaurant, which takes inspiration in Latin-America. I believe what makes it ‘more authentic’ is that me and my sister (The founders) are from Colombia.

How did you first hear about Revolut and Revolut Business?
We realised the complexity of opening a traditional business account. While in the process, we came across Revolut and we realised how simple it was to set up everything.

What’s your most used Revolut feature? Why?
Exchanging currency is amazing, as we have to pay to some of our suppliers in different currencies.

What’s your favourite Revolut Business feature? Why?
I’d say the new direct debit Revolut feature is great and makes life easier.

Have you used any of our Business Perks? Tell us about your favourites.
I used the WeWork for free for a month. That was great, as working from home can get a bit lonely.

Name five things that are in your wallet right now.
Apart from my Revolut Business card, I’ve got quite a few loyalty cards, £10 note as you never know when you’d need some cash, Oyster card and of course my ID.

What was your most recent business purchase?
I believe it was some chairs from Cult, that we bought online

If you could go back to when you first started out, what’s a piece of advice you’d give yourself?
Be more organised with my time & money. Setting up a business always ends up being higher cost than what you initially planned.

Valentina Beleno (left) and her sister, Juliana (right).

Tell us about your business goals for the next year.
After we launch Morena in April of this year, we want to put a lot of focus on our wholesale coffee part of the business & depending on our success we’re hoping to perhaps open a second location.

Do you have any rituals or habits that help you to be more effective at work?
I believe exercising and waking up early definitely helps to make me feel like I’m on top of my work.

Are there any slogans or mottos you live by in your business life?
Being Latin-American makes me have a relaxed mindset in terms of work. So, I think not stressing too much, and knowing that all problems and issues will get solved, is how I like to think. Work can be fun, and is just how we set our mindset.

You have a lot to manage, what’s your best time-saving tip?
I write a to-do list, wake up early and sometimes give up a few social activities, even when I don’t want to.

What’s been the most surprising or unexpected thing you’ve encountered since starting your business?
That everything takes longer than expected. We thought setting up a coffee roastery and restaurant would take about 6 months, but it’s definitely taken longer than that.

How do you balance work and the other aspects of your life? Any tips?
Exercise helps. I love being in London as there’s so many fitness classes to try. I’m a firm believer that exercise helps to de-stress and makes me feel more motivated.

Would you describe yourself as a small business? Why or why not?Currently it feels like a small business, because it’s just two people trying to figure it all out, also the fact that our budget to set-up Morena wasn’t very high compared to other companies out there in the hospitality industry.

Not many people have heard of Morena. We’re hoping that changes after April once we open, and it becomes a popular brunch and coffee spot.

What’s left on your to-do list for today?
Decide on the plates that we’re going to use and make an order. Oh! And most importantly we’re currently in the process of hiring staff.

What’s on your desk?
My card holder, water bottle & my phone.

What’s your favourite business podcast/magazine/blog/twitter account?
I love Deliciously Ella Podcast. I’m very into anything that talks about food, nutrition…I love learning new things

What’s the biggest misconception people might have of you as a business owner?
That because I’m my own boss, I can be very relaxed and don’t do much on a daily basis. On the contrary. Being just two people means if you don’t do it there’s nobody else who’ll do the work. It takes a lot of motivation and self-discipline to do your own thing.

To find out more about Morena, you can check out their website, instagram, and Facebook.

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