29-01-2019 14:41

Spotlight on Beyglz: A Young Entrepreneurs Initiative

“Follow your plan and work with your strengths,” recommends the latest young entrepreneur to open up her dream restaurant in Scharloo… Beyglz. Candice van Delden, born and raised in Curaçao, shares with us her journey towards the successful launch of her bagel shop in December 2016 and her plans for the future. 

Her goal was to create a lunch space where, regardless of where you’re from in the world, you’d just naturally feel at home. With a passion and curiosity for food, in combination with her natural creative flair, from very early on, Candice became well known for her tasty dishes. Over time she developed a reputation for catering at parties, and it was this experience that first sparked her idea for the Beyglz restaurant. 

Know Your Talents, Know Your Market
Candice knew that because she was a very independent person, and to some degree set in her ways, reporting to an employer would have been very challenging for her.  This helped her to understand that she needed to follow her own path. After being unsuccessful in her search for an affordable location in Punda and Pietermaai, already very busy culinary destinations, someone suggested that she consider Scharloo as they were encouraging new businesses to open up in the area.   She sent an email to the Director for Monumental Scharloo and he immediately replied, which impressed her. As soon as she saw the property she knew that this was it. Although it had been used as a warehouse, she could envision her restaurant, and knew this was the place for her. 
Many people were shocked when Candice chose Scharloo as a location, but she wanted to make an effort to bring people back into the old city area and to re-create the community feeling and convenience of having everything close at hand. Candice knew that this was the right decision when everything just started falling into place.  She believes that it is really important to follow your intuition, and interestingly enough, as soon as she made the decision on her location, things just started falling into place. 
Growing up in Curaçao, Candice recognized that local people enjoyed a hot lunch, so she understood the importance of having warm fillings on the menu. It was also essential that she offer high quality ingredients and that the pricing was competitive so that Beyglz would be an affordable and tasty lunch choice for those working in the area. 

Supporting the Community
Because it was an old building that she was renovating into a bagel shop, rather than making the interior something modern, it was important for Candice to honor the history and the character of the building, whilst still ensuring that it felt like a cosy place to relax.  After two months of renovations, the result was a combination of vintage and eclectic styles. Candice admits that it really was very satisfying to see her dream become reality! 
It was also very important that everything for the shop was locally sourced. She believes that it is important to support the island and have pride in what we have here. Purchasing products and services locally is a great way to invest in your local community. And what Candice could not readily find, she had made by local craftsmen.

Don’t Let the Hurdles Get in the Way
Even though Candice had a strong drive and a clear vision for her business, up until she opened its doors, it was still untested, so she didn’t really know how the community would receive it.  “Having these doubts are only natural,” she says.  There were other doubts along the way too. For Candice, it was her skills – she had only ever been a cook at home, never in a restaurant, so her skills were untested in a commercial kitchen. Things also took much longer than planned, Candice started with zero investment capital, so financing took time, and the infrastructure, such as the new kitchen and gas connection, all took much longer than expected.  All this she juggled with the challenges of having a newborn baby.
The hidden blessing was that she had not been too hard on herself about the opening date, so she waited until the last moment when everything was in place before announcing the opening.  This unexpectedly helped with publicity, because it built up the anticipation so that the moment Beyglz was opened, people rushed in. And she has been receiving positive feedback ever since.

Giving Back
Candice has always enjoyed being involved in charitable work from a young age. Her Curaçao Cares Benefit Bagel program adds one additional bagel item to the menu each month where 50% of the proceeds from the purchase of this bagel go towards the charitable organisation chosen for that month. Curaçao Cares has put her in contact with local charities that do not have regular sponsors or government support. Candice notes, “Often the mistake that many of us make is that we agree that once we are set up and things are going well, that is when we will give back to the community. It was important for me to have a program like this in place rig