Elan’s founder Alexandra is passionate about wellness. Her story has taken her from Miami to Jamaica to the Middle East to London – she is a fervent proponent of healthful eating and living, and the concept she has created for Élan embodies these passions. Alexandra’s background is in fashion and her meticulous attention to detail shines through in the beautiful styling of all Élan’s food and coffee offerings. Having since launched her first Elan Cafe Park Lane, then her second located on Brompton Road we sit down with the charming Alexandra to discuss why creativity and well-being are where her heart lies, her creative thought process behind the brand and what her lifelong focus of Elan is prospering into.
Hey Alexandra, hows it going?
Typical 24 hours in your shoes!
A typical 24 hours usually starts with me jumping out of bed, late and in a rush. Doing everything from eating my breakfast, doing my makeup and practically taking a shower in my car lol. Then going to check on Brompton road and the Park Lane stores, with about 100 meetings in between. Somewhere in there I eat, take a 5mins power nap sitting up, and scroll through Instagram.
What was the first initial steps you took to launching Elan Cafe?
The first initial steps I took was making sure I got all the right teams in place. I’ve been so lucky to be able to find such an incredible team that has been with me from day one Without them, Elan wouldn’t be the success it is today.
When you launched your first Elan Cafe, Park Lane, can you tell us how it felt to see it come to life?
It was such an amazing feeling! One I can’t even put into words, even now I can’t get my head around the fact that we did it!
Congratulations on having most recently launched your second store which is located on Brompton Road, Knightsbridge have you found it to be difficult juggling both at the same time?
To be honest, before Elan, I used to find it difficult thinking and breathing at the same time lol, multitasking was never my strong point. But when you open a new business you need to learn to develop all the necessary skills to be able to keep your business running to a certain standard and multitasking is definitely one of the skills I’ve acquired.
How has the journey been so far whilst building both of your stores?
Its been so much funnnn!! Don’t get me wrong, its been very stressful, you have highs and lows, and ups and downs along the way, but that’s with everything in life. But overall I’ve had so much fun developing Elan, working with, and meeting such amazing people. It’s been the best, most rewarding experience of my life.
What was the interior design concept in mind when you were putting ideas together?
I have an amazing design team, that really helped put all ideas into fruition. Our main aim was to create something instagrammable and girly, using pastel and neutral colours and of course a lot of flowers!
Have you had any mentors through out your business journey? If so can you tell us if it has helped in any way?
Yes, my biggest mentor has been my best friend and her husband. Without them I could have never come this far. They are also in the Fashion and Business industry, so they know all the tricks of the trade and run their own very successful businesses, so they’ve been such a guiding force for me in Elan. Since we’ve all grown up together, they’re like family to me, so its nice having people you really love and trust behind you.
What marketing tools are you currently using to promote Elan Cafe?
Instagram, Instagram and Instagram.
Where are you looking to expand to next?
I think the key is to completely establish ourselves in the UK first, and then we will think about expanding abroad.
What is the best business advice you have received recently?
The best advice I’ve received is, if you do something based on integrity and honesty, and try to do it the best you can money will follow. I think your reputation, being a good person, and doing things the right way is more important than anything. If money follows from that, then its a blessing.
Best business advice you can give to someone?
The best business advice I can give someone is, if you want to be successful in this world you have to follow your passion, not a pay check.
How do you personally find time to unwind?
Hmmm, I’ll let you know when I find the time lol
What has been the winning moment for you so far?
There’s been so many I couldn’t just pick one. The amount of publicity we have received in such a short space of time is astounding. We have only been open a little over 6 months and in that time we have been featured in huge magazines, on ITV, on social platforms worldwide, and have gained a following of over 85k. Not to mention the fact we have queues round the block. All in all I’d say there are winning moments daily.
Any setbacks you have come across so far?
With any new business, theres always setbacks, but I’ve always believed your setback is the platform for your comeback. You just have to put your head down and plow ahead. Giving up on something because of one setback is like slashing your other three tires because you have one flat.
Have you at any point throughout your career trajectory had self doubt?
It’s easy to doubt yourself everyday, with every decision that you make, always wondering if you’ve done your best, or could have done better.
But whenever I doubt how far I can go, I remember how far I have come and that’s what helps me to stay positive.
How have you rallied through that? I was raised as a Roman Catholic. So God has a huge part to play in my life. I pray a lot and put all my faith in him. Whenever I have bad days, He is what keeps me going.
What does it mean to you to truly #BEYOUROWN?
What #BEYOUROWN means to me, is be your own person, build your own success, don’t worry about what other people are doing, or what other people have, if someone has more or less than you. Worry about yourself and making yourself proud in whatever you’re doing. Keep your head down, and whatever you choose to do in life, be the best at it. The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.
Lastly, what is next for you and Elan Cafe?
The aim is to open more cafes in London, and eventually worldwide and to expand on the Elan Concept (watch this space to see what that means lol). As for me, I just plan on keeping my head down, pushing harder than ever, and praying harder than ever for the continued success of Elan.
Twitter: @elan_cafe | Instagram: @elan_cafe @alexmiller_elan