For our second installment of Rosebud’s new series Check On Your Friends, where we do exactly what it sounds like—check on our friends—we caught up with Dale Ryan, one of the founders of Bwè Kafe.
Translated from Haitian Creole, Bwè Kafe means drink coffee. With two locations in Hoboken, and one in Jersey City, Bwè was built with the intention of connecting coffee, food and community in positive and innovative ways.
A family owned and operated business for the last 7 years, Bwè’s bustling locations are a hub for locals, students, creatives, and families. Believe it or not, RB’s Founder Alexis Rosenbaum conceptualized and built Rosebud inside the four cozy walls of Bwè Kafe.
We were so excited to catch up with Dale and see how she’s doing during this strange, uncertain time.
So where are you quarantined at the moment? Paint us a picture of where you’re staying.
D: We started out quarantining in Hoboken—which is our home base, I’ve lived in Hoboken since I was 3 months old—but I live in a very small apartment, with two little girls that are 1 1/2 and three, so it got a little intense.
My mom actually has a home in Rhinebeck, so we ended up going up there, and have been here for the last 5 or 6 weeks. My husband was overseeing things locally in Hoboken, but he ended up joining us too, so we’re kind of fluttering between both places.
They are vastly different lifestyles—one feels tense and claustrophobic. My kids are little, so even if I explain to them ahead of time how we have to stay far apart from people, as soon as we get outside they’re running up to people and petting dogs—basically, in the beginning there was no way of going outside. Grocery shopping? Forget it.
But up in Rhinebeck, we have a yard and a house. It still feels confining because you can’t go out in the same way, but it felt a lot more healing up there, like I could breathe. It was a nurturing environment for sure.
Are there any feelings that have come up for you during this time?
D: You know, it’s a spectrum. I go back and forth between enjoying the opportunity to slow down, and then experiencing waves of panic. I try not to let my mind wander too much, because that can get stressful.
I hit a pretty low spot in the beginning of quarantine, it felt like I was watching things crumble before my eyes. Bwe is my life, we had just opened our new location in January that we had spent over a year working on—it was our baby, and our dream—and every day to get these constant updates, and see how fast the fear was spreading. It was really hard.
One of the hardest things is the unknown, and uncertainty of how long this will go on. We’ve had to adapt, and as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. So in the time that our business has been closed, we’ve definitely been thinking of ways that we can reopen a little bit differently, and tailor to the new norm.
It’s hard because you want to be smart about things—just because you’re allowed to be open, does that mean it’s the safest choice right now? We wanted to weigh what is socially responsible with the needs of our business, because we’re still a new business in this area, with rent to pay, and almost 40 employees.
We also had to consider the safety of our team, so we had a lot of meetings with them to gauge how they felt, and hear what they thought would be the best option moving forward. In the end, the best decision was to close the doors, and figure all of it out with some peace and quiet, as opposed to doing it on the fly.
When those feelings do come up, how are you navigating through them?
D: I’ve started a lot of new practices that have been helpful, emotionally.
I’ve started easing into meditation—I’ve never been a still person, I was brought up in a city, I like that pace and it feels natural to me. But during this time, I’ve definitely taken time to reflect and just breathe. I meditate for 5-7 minutes a day (which is extremely hard for me) and I’ve just been trying to get used to taking those deep breaths, holding them in, and letting them out.
I’ve also started doing yoga, just 30 minutes every other day. It’s hard to carve out time for myself, because I have kids, but there are more hours in the day and now I have some extra help around, so I’m able to block out some time where I wasn’t able to before.
I’ve also started using Rosebud CBD regularly! I’m not naturally anxious, so in the past I usually reserved it for situations where I could get anxious, like flying on planes, but then Covid-19 happened, and I was like woah! Now I take it every morning—I start my mornings with a big glass of water, and a full dropper of the 350 mg tincture.
With all of that coupled together, I feel like I’m more emotionally equipped to handle things, my skin has gotten better—I definitely notice a difference. I think it’s really cool because it’s a natural remedy. I went into it open and interested, because I had tried melatonin before and noticed that sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t.
I definitely think the habitualness of it is what ended up working for me.
Have you picked up any new interests or hobbies during this time?
D: I put out paints for my girls every day—so I’ve gotten back into painting, it’s something I love to do. I’m not a trained artist by any means, but it’s always given me an outlet to let go. My kids are really into it too, and it’s really nice to see them get lost in something creative, especially during this time.
I’m actually reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle, and she talks about boredom with her kids, and highlights how important it is to sit with. You know, we’re in an age where the moment you feel an ounce of boredom, you can fill it with any app or TV show—there’s so much accessible to us that it almost makes us impassive.
Nowadays, I’ve been trying to put my phone away and step away from work, especially because I don’t have nearly as much of it as I used to. The idea is that if you live in this boredom a little, it can create inspiration. So we’ve been working on feeling that boredom, flushing it out, and seeing where it takes us—a lot of it has come up in painting. It’s been good to do it together, it’s really helped connect us.
Lastly, what’s one thing you’re feeling extremely grateful for during this time?
D: I’m so thankful for my family, and having the ability to be together in one place. Also, the fact that everyone is able to accept each other and the ways they’re dealing with this. It’s definitely been an emotional process for me, and my family has been really good about letting me feel everything.
I’m also thankful for my relationships in general, with everyone. I’ve even been thinking about all of the people I haven’t been in touch with in a long time, because life just gets so busy and time slips away. I’ve been able to reconnect with a lot of people that I felt like I should’ve probably reached out to long ago. Those people are a part of your heart, so reconnecting with them sparks something that maybe was a small flame before, and now my heart just feels even fuller.
We love, adore, and are so thankful for our friends over at Bwè. They are working around the clock to continue providing the New Jersey community with great coffee, and local goods.
Even better, they recently rolled out a new platform to shop goods from the local market, including farm fresh eggs, housemade granola, hudson valley whole milk, and so much more. All goods can be shipped in the U.S., or arranged for contactless pick up.
You can keep up with all things Bwè Kafe on their instagram, or here on their site. Keep your eyes peeled for our 3rd installment of this series soon, and keep checking on your friends, too.
Kat Frey is a Brooklyn based writer, who originally hails from The Wing. Kat has historically worked with women-lead brands, and her writing spans from culture and cannabis, to overall health and wellness. When she’s not busy writing for Rosebud CBD, she spends her time thumbing through The Cut, Man Repeller, and T Magazine, or listening to Las Culturistas. Her favorite form of self care is adding our 350mg tincture to homemade face and hair masks!