Pomarosa + Wave: Chaos Meets Comfort
Toronto, Canada • Opened 2017 • pomarosa.ca
In 2017, Vivian Ortiz and Luis Hernandez found themselves with two new babies: their adorable daughter, Adela, and a brand new business. It didn’t take long for the enormity of what they’d taken on to wash over them, but they took comfort in a supportive entrepreneur community—and in Wave.
Young hearts run free
Vivian, a designer, and Luis, a chef, spent years imagining what it would be like to run their own business—a place to serve great coffee and bring a bit of Latin American flavour to Toronto.
In true visionary fashion, they didn’t meticulously plan their entry into entrepreneurship. Vivian was on maternity leave after having their daughter and they just happened to come across the perfect spot for their dream cafe, Pomarosa. They decided to just jump in and tackle each challenge as it came.
Soon reality hit them like a ton of bricks:
“The first month was hell,” says Vivian. “We started to realize what it meant to have a retail space. Trying to take care of all the tiny things we hadn’t planned for was a nightmare. There was so much trial and error getting things ready. One of the biggest lessons we learned is that it’s better to plan ahead.”
Comfort in community
Vivian and Luis began looking for support from the thriving small business community around them, and that’s how they ended up learning about Wave. The owner of a gym in the neighbourhood told them about Wave’s payroll system and how easy it was to get set up and hit the ground running, which was exactly what they needed.
Vivian and Luis began using Wave to pay their staff and they were relieved to find a tool that could help them with those ‘unknown unknowns’ that were causing them stress. Because they jumped right in with their business, they took comfort in how Wave’s system makes sure business owners are compliant with things like taxes and holiday pay.
“Speed was everything at that time,” says Vivian. “We couldn’t stop time while we were facing that learning curve of understanding taxes and calculations—we needed it to just work. But at the same time, knowing that Wave was prompting us to do things the right way so we could learn really helped make the whole thing less stressful.”
This story took a fun twist when Vivian learned about an open role for a designer at Wave from a friend of hers who had just started working at the company. Vivian liked the idea of helping make a product she loved even better for other small business owners—and now she’s part of the Wave team!
Vivian represents so many Wave customers because she’s constantly wearing multiple hats—mother, entrepreneur, and full-time designer. She’s also a typical Waver—55% of Wave’s team has either freelanced or owned a business at some point in their career.
A bright future
This month Luis is leaving his job to focus on cooking his delicious arepas and empanadas full-time at Pomarosa, while Vivian continues to help make Wave even better for business owners from the inside. They say they’re still in survival mode, but these two dreamers hope to have cafes around the city someday, and sell their signature Latin American sauces and spices for customers to use at home.
“There’s a desire not to fail, to just keep going and imagine the good future that’s coming your way,” says Vivian. “There are many times when we’re doubting ourselves and our decisions...but then when our customers say how delicious the food is, how great the coffee is—all we see is potential.”