A couple who saved for almost four years to finally save enough money for a premises for their business had it wrecked by illegal ravers just two weeks after moving in.
Nivi Jasa and Angela Chou, both 30, set up their vegan cheese company I Am Nut Okay in December 2017 after Angela convinced her meat-eating partner how tasty non-dairy cheese can be.
Straight out of graduating from master degrees, the pair made artisan cheeses from their flat in London Fields and sold them at Broadway Market “to make ends meet”.
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Their cheeses quickly became a hit as customers – vegan and non-vegan – returned each week demanding more.
After more than three and a half years of saving, the couple decided to expand operations. They found a large commercial space in Hackney Wick and spent all their savings on it.
Nivi and Angela got the keys in May but within two weeks of building the unit to prepare for the grand opening of the new site, the unthinkable happened.
A group of ravers cut through the locks, destroyed the shutter wires, and broke into the building to hold a mass organised rave in the immaculate, freshly white painted space.
Police were called at 3am on Sunday, May 31 and made no arrests but evacuated the group and informed Angela and Nivi.
The place was left trashed. Every surface, including the walls, shutters, and the windows covered in graffiti, including spray painted alcohol menus on the walls.
They left litter everywhere and dumped all the broken building materials down the toilet.
The gag-worthy stench made it even more unbearable as there was poo and vomit on the floor.
In total, the damage that needed fixing would cost the couple £10,000 and set the business back from being able to start selling again.
Angela Chou told My London: “I was just shocked. I really wanted to cry.
“What’s upsetting is they made money off the event and then we end up having to pay for it.”
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan police said: “Officers conducted an investigation including collating and viewing video footage of the event but no suspects could be identified.”
The investigation is now closed.
Strapped for cash, desperate and not knowing what to do, Nivi and Angela turned to GoFundMe and explained what happened in the hope the community would support them.
In just two days they received over 150 donations and raised £9,000.
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“It’s so nice but we feel guilty. The work we do is selling things to make money.
“We’re thinking of ways to donate that back into the community once we are profitable again,” said Angela.
Everything is now on track to be finished by the end of August and the couple have installed alarm systems.
The couple are excited to get back on their feet and say they can’t wait to throw their own party to celebrate the opening.
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