Unable to find jobs they enjoyed, two Auckland teens decided to open their own cafe — for charity.
West Aucklanders Hayley Smith, 16, and Levi Hohua, 19, will serve their first customers at the new Zeal Coffee Shop on Saturday.
The duo approached the Zeal youth centre in Henderson with their business idea, raised capital to start the project using Givealittle.co.nz, sourced their own coffee beans and transformed a section of the large community space into an intimate cafe setting with an industrial theme.
Ms Smith, a young photographer, has worked in catering at the arts centre before and said the pair approached Zeal management after being unable to find employment they enjoyed.
"We had a hard time finding jobs in what we liked doing so we just thought to do our own cafe," she said. "It's different and we do really like making coffee.
"There is no really good coffee places out west so we thought we would try and make the best."
She said Zeal Coffee Shop would use Fair Trade beans by Peoples Coffee that were sourced from Wellington, have its own logo designed by her and a fit-out courtesy of Mr Hohua, a musician, handyman and youth worker at the centre.
Coffees and food would be competitively priced at between $3 and $5 an item to compete with existing establishments, she said.
"We are going to be charging lower prices than our competition around the area."
The pair had worked with management to develop the plan that would see profits going back to the charitable centre, which runs over 100 creative events a year for young people, as well as providing rehearsal rooms, a recording studio, film and media technology, and training in event management, sound and lighting, and barista training.
Advocacy and operations manager Elliot Taylor said the initiative was aimed at boosting youth employment and would serve as a pilot for future endeavours.
"They are amazing young people with great initiative and skills," he said. "We are really excited to be able to support them start their cafe.
"It's got quite an original and rustic feel, the main table they are serving from is made out of deconstructed shipping pallets."
Zeal hoped to open more youth-run cafes throughout Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington this year.