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Bringing real-deal handmade bagels to Amsterdam
279 backers pledged €25,510 to help bring this project to life.
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€25,510

279

Flo's started a little less than a year ago as a pop-up that has batch-by-batch become a flourishing business. Now, with your help to boost our initial investment, we can build out our bakery and shop, finally giving Amsterdam's community of bagel-lovers a homebase for their weekly brunching rituals.

THE BIG IDEA

As an East Coast expat, I've missed bagels, sure. But more than anything, what I missed was the experience of getting bagels. It’s a ritual: whether you get the same sausage, egg and cheese on an everything bagel from the same bodega every day before work or whether it’s your weekend routine to pad out of your apartment and grab a half dozen, coffee, and a paper. So while it’s true that Amsterdam is missing what would qualify as a passable bagel, what it’s really missing is a bagel shop that facilitates or creates this ritual.

Photo by Ingrid Hofstra

Flo’s shop will be both a bagel bakery and appetizing store. An appetizing store–in the traditional sense known mainly in New York and Montreal–sells everything to do with bagels: smoked and cured fish, cream cheese spreads, pickles and accompaniments, and a few baked treats. 

However, Flo’s isn’t striving for so-called “authenticity." I always imagined that if I did anything with food, I would naturally honor the traditions that had been passed down to me, and to find a way to celebrate how integral they've been in making me who I am today. Flo’s brings my own heritage to the forefront, but also builds on the context of being Polish-American, of my New England and New York roots, of family traditions and rituals, of cooking in tune with the seasons. Instead of trying to recreate some archetype of a classic bagel shop, I see Flo's as an expression of a bigger, broader idea of how traditions plant themselves into the future, forever evolving.

BAGELS IN THE HOOD

We’ve found our dream location on a vibrant street in West–the Jan Pieter Heijestraat–a bustling street that feels like a village. The JPH connects the main roads of Kinkerstraat and Overtoom, and serves the surrounding neighborhood with a diverse mix of owner-operated small, independent businesses. It’s always been one of my favorite shopping streets in Amsterdam, and I couldn't have dreamed of a better spot to set up our homebase.

HOW YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS WILL HELP

The most important thing that opening a shop will let us do is to increase production volume and frequency. Up to this point, Flo’s has operated out of Kitchen Republic, sharing space with over thirty other awesome food businesses. Being a part of the community has been so valuable, but as Flo's continues to grow, we need our own space and equipment to meet the demand for more bagels!

Photo by Ingrid Hofstra

The shop will feature an open production kitchen where customers will be able to see our end-to-end process and get to know our team. We've got a bit of renovation to tackle, but getting things ready to roll will be more about customization: optimizing the kitchen layout, building a bespoke counter, and creating some hand-painted signage.

This campaign will give us a boost for covering the costs of our beautiful new deck oven, where we’ll finally be able to bake on custom-made bagel boards. It’s a state-of-the-art German-made model with modern features but a beautiful traditional look and feel. It’s called the Piccolo!

Of course, a bagel shop is also going to need exceptional coffee, and this campaign will also help us install a top-notch set up. Our coffee program will be curated by our good friends and frequent collaborators (and now, down-the-street-neighbors), Lot Sixty One, who will offer not only their own roasts, but also feature hand-picked selections from the world’s most interesting indie coffee brands.

Finally, your contributions will also enable us to establish partnerships that highlight the best local and regional suppliers as well as fellow makers. Our shop is small, but it’s our aim to stock our shelves and fridge with the best smoked fish, the freshest local dairy products, the best plant-based spreads, and the most beautiful seasonal produce...plus lots of house-made goodies.

WE'RE MAKING MORE THAN DOUGH

One of the most fun aspects of organizing this campaign has been coming up with a cool set of rewards to offer you for your generous contributions. At its heart, our goal is about community-building; Flo's is passionately focused on creating a strong sense of place. But, of course we have the extra challenge of extending that reach far into our international network. So we've tried our best to offer great incentives that will make you feel a part of Flo's, wherever you are in the world.

Here's what you can expect:

Flo's Uniform T-Shirt (Unisex)
Women's Crop Sweatshirt (Front; Also available in Navy)
Women's Crop Sweatshirt (Back; Also available in Navy)
Unisex Roomy Sweatshirt (Front; Also available in Pink)
Unisex Roomy Sweatshirt (Back; Also available in Pink)
Custom Flo's Print by Al Stampa
A Year of Schmear: Limited Edition Handbound 'Zine

HUNGRY FOR MORE? HERE'S THE (W)HOLE STORY

I’d been baking bagels for years at home, but Flo’s got started this past December as a Saturday pop-up. We were so popular right out of the gate that before the weekend was over I’d quickly set up a website with an online ordering system. Since then, I’ve built the business by offering small batches of bagels, plus homemade schmears and babkas through pre-orders with designated local pickup dates and locations. I’ve also collaborated with some other businesses around town like Thull’s and 48|50 in Oost, and Flora and Lot Sixty One in West for pop-ups and events. Flo's has also started to offer catering and has established a limited number of wholesale partnerships. 

WHO'S FLO?

Flo is Florence Witkowski, my maternal grandmother. While both of my parents worked full-time, my sister and I spent every day at our grandparent’s. The kitchen was the center of the house, and Flo was stationed there morning, noon, and night. 

This side of my family is Polish, and New Britain, Connecticut, where we were raised, is a Polish community. Other members of our family were based in New York–my grandpa Eddie was raised in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and we have a lot of relatives in Jersey, too. My Dad's side of the family is proper New Englander, with a lineage that dates back to pilgrims landing at Plymouth. 

Polish traditions were an integral part of our family life, especially where holidays and food were concerned. We attended a Polish-Catholic school, with Polish language and culture lessons, and celebrated Polish festivals like Dożynki every year. 

Flo was the cook of the household, and an excellent baker known especially for her poppyseed babka; it’s her recipe I use today, and it’s perfect. Despite her painful arthritis, Flo hand-kneaded all of her doughs. Christmas and Easter-time would involve Flo and her sister, my auntie Claire in a pierogi production line that took over the kitchen for days. Enormous pots of kapusta crowded the stove, and several varieties of kielbasa and pickles would be acquired. 

Flo would always have a fresh-baked cake waiting for us after school, shamelessly using a boxed mix and Duncan Hines frosting–she was a housewife in the fifties after all. My mother also inherited the cooking gene, preparing a homemade meal every night after work, but also tackling ambitious baking projects for school events and holidays. My sister too, is an avid home cook with a garden who loves pickling and preserving things. Somehow she and I both ended up with vegetable tattoos. 

WHAT’S THE VISION FOR FLO’S?

In addition to being your friendly neighborhood bagel and coffee joint, we’d also love to host workshops and small gatherings in our cozy space. I’m already thinking ahead to a holiday-time pierogi pop-up, and in the summer, grilling hot dogs on a Saturday afternoon. We’re surrounded by excellent neighbors and have a lot of talented friends in the community; we’d love to open ourselves up as collaborators and hosts.

Flo’s will inevitably outgrow our first space, but our aim is to expand intentionally. We are, and would like to remain, a neighborhood establishment. My hope is to add a few other locations, designed to fit into the character of the neighborhood they occupy. Eventually, I’d also love to extend Flo’s to a full delicatessen concept. I have a lot of ideas, and this is just the start. I hope you'll join us.

Photo by Ingrid Hofstra

Risks and challenges

Building out a new space is always risky business. We are optimistic that our renovation and set up process will have us ready for an opening date sometime between mid-October at the earliest, and the first week of November at the latest. In the meantime, we'll do our best to keep feeding our regular customer's bagel cravings!

Moving from pop-ups and events to running a full-time operation will definitely present new challenges, but we're confident that we have the experience and support to handle this transition.

Though we've occasionally had a kitchen or counter helper for our busier events, Flo's will now be growing from a solo-operated business to managing a small team of bakers and staff in order to deliver exceptional and consistent products and customer service. Of course we'll first have to find and train these unicorns.

We are grateful to the community we've built thus far, but Flo's will need to continue working hard to build our reputation in our new neighborhood, as well as to continue reaching new customers across Amsterdam. We've got some minds to change about bagels around here!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge €5 or more About US$ 6

    Thank You Note

    Isn't getting mail so quaint? We'll send you a personal handwritten thank you card, delivered with love right to your mailbox.

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    Pledge €15 or more About US$ 17

    Breakfast of Champions

    Sample the goods! As soon as we open the shop, come on by and get your first bagel and schmear, plus a coffee and a slice of babka.

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    18 backers

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    Pledge €15 or more About US$ 17

    Bagel Bae Enamel Pin

    Show the world your love for "hole foods' with an enamel bagel pin, custom-designed just for Flo's.

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    Pledge €25 or more About US$ 28

    Bagel Tote

    No flimsy bag here, this is a sturdy screenprinted canvas shopping tote perfect for schlepping your bagels and schmears.

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    Breakfast of Champions for Two

    Invite your SO/bestie/boss/dogsitter to our shop for a breakfast date and enjoy two bagel sammies, coffees, and babka slices.

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    Pledge €50 or more About US$ 56

    Team Flo Tee

    Get the first edition official Flo's uniform tee and look like you're a member of our team, ready to hop in and roll some bagels with us, but without the salary or benefits!

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    Pledge €50 or more About US$ 56

    Brunch Box for Two

    Pop in and get the full brunch kit: a half dozen bagels, two small schmears of your choice, a 250g bag of Lot Sixty One coffee beans, a sweet treat, and fresh OJ.

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    Pledge €100 or more About US$ 111

    Limited Edition Cool-kid Sweatshirts

    We're working with Amsterdam's cool-kid screenprinters Twee Jongens to bring you two rad organic cotton sweatshirts featuring a custom design by illustrator Al Stampa. Choose your size from the stylish lady's crop style or a roomy unisex version perfect for a cozy weekend of noshing and lounging.

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    Pledge €100 or more About US$ 111

    Bagel Club: A Month of Sundays

    Ok, not just for Sundays! Become an inaugural member of our subscription program and get a month of bagels- a half dozen every week for four weeks in a row. We'll coordinate your preferred month and pick-up days when the campaign wraps up.

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    Pledge €150 or more About US$ 166

    Bagel Workshop for Two

    Spend an evening in our kitchen rolling with your doughmies. Heather will guide groups of six through a fun workshop showing you how the bagels get made! You'll learn just enough to have a go at making your own bagels, but not enough to put us out of business. Dates to be coordinated after the campaign.

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    Pledge €150 or more About US$ 166

    Bagels in Your Bag Swag

    Alright, technically this doesn't contain bagels, even though we wish it could. This one's for you, international Flo's brand ambassadors. Get our locally-screenprinted tee and tote bag, plus our cute enamel pin for good measure. Wear around town with pride, and please send Amsterdam-visiting friends our way, we'll take good care of 'em!

    Includes:
    • Thank You Note
    • Team Flo's T-Shirt
    • Bagel Tote
    • Bagel Bae Enamel Pin
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    Pledge €250 or more About US$ 277

    Limited Edition Art Print by Al Stampa

    We're so honored that Amsterdam-based fellow NYC expat, illustrator Alex Labriola (@alstampa) designed a gorgeous custom print just for us. Featuring bagel-loving figures in her signature cheeky feminine style, this 28x43cm digital poster is printed on 300g uncoated paper and signed by Alex. These limited edition prints are exclusive to the campaign!

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    Pledge €250 or more About US$ 277

    Brunch Party for Six

    Be the host with the most! Invite five of your besties over for a fully-loaded bagel brunch. We'll set you up with a dozen bagels, a variety of schmears, a generous platter of all the fixings, a fruit salad, a tray of sweets, and delicious coffee. Who's bringing the bubbles? Oh wait, WE ARE! We'll also hand-pick a special bottle of our favorite natural bubbly from our neighbor's shop, Levain and Le Vin. We'll coordinate dates and delivery after the campaign.

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    Pledge €500 or more About US$ 553

    "A Year of Schmear" Handbound Book

    We returned to our zine-making roots to create this very special collection of musings and meditations on bagels. Designed and illustrated in collaboration with Al Stampa, this handbound booklet captures twelve menus for a full year of good excuses to host bagel-centric gatherings. We're thinking of this as a first but very limited edition to a series of self-published zines from Flo's.

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    Pledge €500 or more About US$ 553

    Office Catering for 20

    Treat your team or impress your clients with an appetizing spread. We'll deliver a variety of our signature bagel and schmear sandwiches, a selection of side salads, a seriously awesome sweets tray, plus coffee and soft drinks to any office or workspace in Amsterdam. Turn your next breakfast or lunch meeting into a party! Dates to be coordinated following the campaign.

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    Pledge €1,000 or more About US$ 1,106

    Brunch on a Boat!

    Our friend Emily has a boat (@emilyhasaboat) and she'll take you and three guests out for a spin around Amsterdam's hidden gem canals, while sampling some of the city's best craft brews. Of course you'll need boat snacks! We'll pack up a perfect picnic so you can have a nosh as you cruise on her gorgeous hand-built wooden boat. There's really no better way to see Amsterdam. Dates to be coordinated following the campaign.

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    Homemade Birthday + Holiday Treats

    Another one especially for our international friends: you'll have to visit our shop in Amsterdam for fresh bagels, but COOKIES we can get to you! We'll ship you a tin of homemade rugelach and other special cookies for the holiday season AND for your next birthday. Express shipped with love (and bubble wrap) from Flo's kitchen to you!

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    Pledge €5,000 or more About US$ 5,527

    Doughmie for Life

    For your incredible generosity, we're offering you and your plus-one our full swag kit and goods on-the-house for life at our shop.

    Includes:
    • Thank You Note
    • Bagel Tote
    • Team Flo's T-Shirt
    • Bagel Bae Enamel Pin
    • Cool-kid Sweatshirt
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    Pledge €5,000 or more About US$ 5,527

    A Sandwich Named in Your Honor

    Schmears to you and yours! Let us honor you with a bagel sandwich designed and named for you, as a permanent menu item at our shop.

    Includes:
    • Thank You Note
    • Bagel Bae Enamel Pin
    • Bagel Tote
    • Team Flo's T-Shirt
    • Cool-kid Sweatshirt
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    Pledge €25 or more About US$ 28

    PRIVATE BRUNCH PARTY!

    A limited-time offer for Amsterdam locals only! The first 25 people who contribute €25 (or more!) between Thursday and Sunday are invited to a private brunch party IN OUR SHOP after the campaign wraps. What are you doing this weekend? Stop by our LAST POP-UP at LOT SIXTY ONE on Kinkerstraat on Saturday to get your bagel and coffee fix and contribute to our campaign!

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    Reward no longer available 8 backers

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    Pledge €25 or more About US$ 28

    SNEAK PEEK!

    Want to be one of the first through our doors? Contribute this weekend and snag an invite to visit us during our "soft opening" while we put fine-tune our process and put do the final spit-and-polish around the shop. (And do a bunch of test bakes in our new oven...)

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    Reward no longer available 3 backers

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  22. Reward no longer available

    Pledge €25 or more About US$ 28

    BEST OF THE WEST! Double your rewards!

    For the last five days of our campaign, anyone who contributes €25 or more will be entered into a raffle with a chance to double their rewards! We're offering "Best of the West" vouchers from some of our favorite neighborhood spots, including Parakeet, Flora, Lot Sixty One, Little Collins, and Levain et LeVin. Plus, we're throwing in our own high-value rewards, like Brunch on a Boat or getting a bagel sandwich named after you! Help us roll this bay-GOAL over the line!

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    Reward no longer available 7 backers

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    Pledge €35 or more About US$ 39

    AMSTERDAM BODEGA BREAKFAST DELIVERY

    You know those mornings when you just can't? Well we got you, boo. We'll deliver two bodega-style egg and cheese sammies, two coffees, a sweet treat, a bottle of sparkling water, and some paracetamol, if you need it. (You probably need it.) This reward is for Amsterdammers only!

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Funding period

- (30 days)