Abda Obeid-Findley, Owner and Director of Abda Ltd and Obeid Galleries and Events Ltd
Explore the world through food and drink!
In every culture, tea and coffee has its own ritual. I’ve seen it done a little bit differently in each country I’ve visited, but the ethos is always the same: sitting down to savour the quality instead of grabbing a drink to go.
I’ve always thought: ‘That’s interesting’, but when I graduated from my Languages degree five years ago, my first business venture was in baking. I fused my two cultural influences – Afro-Arab and Western – having been born and brought up in the UK by my family, who are originally from Sudan. When my husband Ben proposed, I took a job as a software account manager to earn ‘real money’ for the wedding.
After we got married, I realised that I didn’t want to wake up in 30 years’ time and think: ‘I might be doing okay, but it’s not what I wanted to do!’
I hit upon the idea of opening a shop specialising in coffee, cake and culture, where we’d take the time to prepare everything with care. It had to feel true to me or what was the point in quitting my job and taking a massive risk?
Not long after I signed the lease, I discovered I was pregnant with our daughter Layla. (You can make all the plans in the world, but sometimes you just have to roll with it!)
We launched in May 2018 – unveiling décor inspired by my travels. The low seating area is typically African, whilst the plants and wooden chairs are a nod to when I lived in Buenos Aires. I can’t sell something that isn’t ‘me’, so we have the best maté tea from Argentina and Sudanese cardamom coffee made to my family’s recipe.
Within a week of giving birth, I was back in work with Layla attached to me. She’s 10 months old now; my incredible mum helps out with childcare, and my surgeon dad is also our pot washer!
I’ve launched a second business – turning the top floor of our premises into an art gallery and a creative space for events. Community and culture are at the beating heart of everything, and I have an amazing team who are like family to me.