Female Inspiration of the Month - May

Our WE Meetup is happening tomorrow! Be sure to grab your tickets if you're looking to network with other boss babes! Gabi of Sorellina will be our amazing guest speaker! Click the image below to grab your ticket now!


My idea of forming a non-profit began when I hosted my first independent networking event back in September 2018. I was looking for ways I could connect with other female entrepreneurs, and I thought hosting a networking event would be the best way to go about it. I reached out to a few local businesses that were able to donate or volunteer, and one of the local businesses that responded was Bwè Kafe. Bwè Kafe offered their space and time to hold my networking event, and I will always be so grateful that they helped make that event possible!

Sept. 2018 Networking Event - Photo provided by Kim

Bwè Kafe recently hit their 6 year mark earlier this month and now has a reach in JC, Hoboken - but pretty much anywhere and anytime with Bwè Mobile.

I'm so excited to share this month's Female Inspiration - Dale Ryan of Bwè Kafe!

Photo provided by Dale

1. Tell me about yourself and your business.

My name is Dale Lemuel Ryan (three boy names)! My family moved to Hoboken from the city when I was three months old and aside from a couple stints abroad, Hoboken has been home base since then! I’m a wife and a mother of two awesome little girls. Along with these roles, I’m also one of the owners of Bwè Kafe, our family run coffee shop! 

Our coffee shops are much more than a job, it’s a part of the fabric of our lives. It’s where we clock in and out for shifts, it’s where we brainstorm future events, where we hang out with friends, where we stop off with the kids before and after park runs and where we get to meet new friends and build relationships. 

Photo provided by Dale

2. What makes your business unique? We know Bwè Kafe is special - but tell us why in your own words

First off, thank you!!

It always means so much hearing from people that they feel a connection with the shops. Bwè Kafe came out of a desire to help an organization dear to my mom’s heart called Love for Haiti. It’s an organization that funds the college tuition of youth in Haiti that my mother helped start years ago. It is why we chose a Haitian Creole word to call our shops (Bwè Kafe means ‘to drink coffee’).

My brother and I had a love for coffee and had always wanted to open a coffee shop so it was a culmination of these two ideas that brought about the cafe. I think that’s also part of what makes it special too. It’s not just coffee, but it’s coffee with a cause :) I think we’re also unique in that while we believe that our coffee is amazing and we train our baristas well - it’s the service that is most important. When you care about people, they care about you, and it brings everyone happiness ♥️ When you’re working alongside your friends and then your neighbor comes in and then your old middle school teacher and then your old babysitter and they’ve all become friends themselves at the shop it’s such an incredible feeling. It’s so much more than ‘just coffee’ at Bwè and I think that makes us special :) 

Photo provided by Dale

3. Could you describe a day in your life? What does your day-to-day operation look like? 

It really changes depending on what we’re working on. Some days, I’m with the girls being a full time mom while juggling emails, schedules, and social media posts; while my husband is in the cafes or making mobile carts for our offsite gigs. Other days I’ll spearhead events or managing certain projects. We’re currently working on our third location and design is always my role, so a lot of my time has been dedicated to that recently. 

Photo provided by Dale

4. Do you remember the turning point when you decided to pursue Bwè Kafe? How did it go?

Absolutely. My brother and I had talked about (but not in any concrete way) about one day when we were older of opening up a coffee shop together. It was a pipe dream at best. My mom owned a commercial space on Washington Street that she needed a new tenant for and there was no one even looking into it. I remember so clearly talking to her one morning and she saying 'Why don't you and Evan open up your coffee shop here?" There was a flood of emotions, lots of excitement of the possibility of starting a coffee shop and then my stomach turned into knots and I also became really nervous of all the things I just didn't know (and I didn't even know all the things I didn't know). There were a few more "real" talks about the idea and then it was seriously full steam ahead. The first mention of the idea was in September and we were open in May! 

Photo provided by Dale

5. What were some of the obstacles you faced when you opened Bwè Kafe? How did you overcome it?

Well, my brother and I managed Bwè from day one and we really had no experience running anything, so almost everything was an obstacle really! There were a lot of calls to the bank to figure out how to set up and start payroll, choosing which POS to use, tracking expenses, interviewing and hiring, deciding the menu, choosing vendors and placing orders, and there were several trips to city hall! We just knew the information and answers were out there, so we learned a lot was dependent on both our patience and persistence. 

Photo provided by Dale

6. What are some tools you use to run your business? What has been the biggest life saver?

Interesting question. We have a lot of people part of the Bwè group that have opinions and ideas and they’re not always the same ones that I personally have held, so I’d say the best tool we use is consultation.

It’s being able to listen and acknowledge everyone’s opinion and also being detached from your own. I have found that so many times we’ve started meetings all over the place and on seemingly different ends of the spectrum with ideas and after practicing consultation we’ve come up with the most solid plans and the team feels more unified on top of it. 

Photo provided by Dale

7. You recently opened a new location in JC and will be opening another location in Hoboken (congrats!) - how did you know you were ready to expand and what steps did you take to help get you to where you are today?

I don't know if there was ever a time where we all looked at each other and were like 'Yup, definitely feeling the need to look for a new place to expand to now.' Both times with our Newport location and our North End location the opportunity arose and we decided to jump all in. It's always a crazy juggle but we love what we do, we're committed to it and growing has felt like the right choice each time.  

Photo provided by Dale

7. You supported WE of Hudson County even before it was officially formed. Why do you think it's important to have a women entrepreneurship group in our community?

My mother was an entrepreneur and I credit her for paving the way for me. She's been the owner of a restaurant, a General Contractor and the CEO of Via Capital, an aviation finance company (all with a Masters in Fine Arts!). She's had these impressive roles traditionally held nearly exclusively by men but I only realized that as I grew up. So, while I may have questioned my ability to measure up to her impressive resume, it was never because of my gender. But I do believe many times you don’t know what’s possible or what you’re capable of if you don’t have role models in your life. I am fortunate enough to have a close role model in my life but I know that’s not the case for many. WE not only showcases some pretty awesome women entrepreneurs but also makes them accessible. It’s so important to support one another and support those looking to start their own business too. 

8. What advice would you give to those looking to start their own business or that are new to the entrepreneurial journey?

Stay flexible and listen to people's feedback. It's easy to think that you have all the answers or to get defensive when people give you their personal opinions on a project that you've nurtured and given everything you have into but listening to feedback is SO important and it's always within our control the way we decide to accept it. That being said, it's also important to trust your gut when push comes to shove. 

We hope you enjoyed reading about Dale as much as we did! Please comment down below and show her your love! Be sure to give her a follow and a like on her social media platforms!

Follow Dale & Bwè Kafe on social media - links below!

Instagram: @bwèkafe

Facebook: @bwèkafe


Our WE Meetup is happening tomorrow! Be sure to grab your tickets if you're looking to network with other boss babes! Gabi of Sorellina will be our amazing guest speaker! Click the image below to grab your ticket now!

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