Today we’d like to introduce you to Geraldine Ridaura Schumacher.
Geraldine, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’d say my journey started around 2011 which is when I fell in love with matcha, the spark had just never turned on to start a business around it. My love for matcha has always been so strong and passionate, that in the summer of 2016 I suddenly ran out of matcha and was annoyed that I had to order more from Japan and even more annoyed that San Diego did not have any matcha at all. San Diego has always had marvelous coffee shops that dedicate so much time and attention to their beans, but matcha was nonexistent. With that being said, in August 2016, it hit me, ” I should open San Diego’s first matcha cafe” and from that moment on I went on the hunt to do exactly what I thought. I had ZERO experience in the barista world, I had no idea how to steam milk and anything involved being a bar making drinks, but I knew matcha. I taught myself everything else, from steaming milks, to shaking drinks correctly, etc. My challenge was figuring out what the heck I needed to start a business.
I got straight to work, doing LLC, finding a location, going down to the city and asking what the heck I needed to get started in opening a business etc., it was madness and many tears were shed and there were many “end of the world” moments.
I finally secured a location in San Diego’s hipster neighborhood, NorthPark, I really loved that area. I sat in my car for days and counted how many people would walk by within a span of 3-5hrs and really wanted to make sure it’d be the right place for me.
Construction started in December 2016 and I had projected to start operating in February 2017, but of course, in business there’s always delays and problems. funny story, I had my first contractor break up with me because he didn’t believe that my business would succeed and also informed me that because I asked him for a breakdown of his costs, I was unprofessional…. crazy right? He threw out a number with no justification or breakdown and I was supposed to shut up and take it and pay… I think not. So, I cried and cried and immediately had to wipe those tears and get to work to find another contractor and I did and they were hands down better than I ever expected.
Holy Matcha needed to become an experience, more than just a “Cafe” – it is a place where people come to feel alive and be in a good mood and drink a wonderfully healthy delicious beverage. I wanted to trigger people’s emotions and make them feel better from visually pleasing them to literally what they put in their mouths. Every singly inch and corner of the cafe was carefully thought of. The pink, all that pink, is on purpose. In 2016/2017 in San Diego, nothing was pink. I wanted to stick out like a sore thumb and take that risk and make it all pink. I knew people would remember “that pink place” and therefore remember their wonderful experience and good music and good drinks, etc. Granted, I had to evidence that all of this would be possible, but I couldn’t be negative in my journey, it was all or nothing, and I had the best intentions and was very passionate.
Moving along, February 2017 opening didn’t happen, but I had my grand opening on March 11, 2017 and it was mind blowing! Here I was standing behind my bar witnessing a huge crowd of people coming into my business, I couldn’t believe it. Truly a surreal moment. I knew this wasn’t the end, I knew that I had much more to learn and experience, but for that moment on that day, I took it all in and couldn’t believe what I had created.
A little over three years later, I had two successful locations and I’ve learned SO MUCH for the industry, hospitality, customer service, and even being a mentor to my peers.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
HELL NO! OH goodness, I could write a book with all the challenges that I faced and even continue to face now, today. The thing is as an entrepreneur, I am so happy I was faced with different challenges along the way because every single challenge taught me a lesson and made me not only better but smarted and stronger for the next challenge and so forth. Yes, it’s a pain in the butt to deal with negative experiences and problems but only two things can happen: 1. you quit and give up or two. you man up and get shit done and grow. I chose number two.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Holy Matcha is San Diego’s first Matcha cafe. I specialize in all things matcha, from traditional beverages to SoCal inspired beverages. I am known for being the first matcha cafe and being the “Pink place” as both of the cafes are completely pink inside and outside. I am so proud of the hurdle Holy Matcha has faced and that it still stands nice and strong. I am proud of the customers that have walked through my doors and made me a better person and made me grow. I am proud that Holy Matcha was able to make it in a city full of coffee shops in every single corner and that it was all pink and people still came in.
What sets me apart from others? Well besides the obvious, all that pink, I’d say the vibes. The ambiance and experience we create is crazy important especially nowadays. Good music, good visuals, good vibes, good attitude are very important when building a business.
What were you like growing up?
Well, for starters, Spanish is my first language, so I had to grow into English. I grew up in a small town. Two very hard-working parents that taught me from a very young age the value of working hard for what you want. I was very shy. I always said I wanted to be a teacher, then I saw Legally Blonde and wanted to be a lawyer HA HA! I never really thought of being a business owner, not once. Yet I think it’s funny that I always sold lemonade and sodas outside of my grandma’s house. Then I decided to sell rocks with glitter… the entrepreneurship was inside of me; I just didn’t know it. Till this day, I still consider myself a shy person, but definitely being in the drink/food industry has made me develop a more open personality and I like that too.
- Address: Northpark: 3118 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104
East Village (Downtown): 201 Park Blvd unit 175, San Diego, CA 92101
- Website: holymatchasd.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @holymatchaa