Cat Amaro of The Bird Haus
The Bird Haus
, founded by Cat Amaro, brings a fresh and engaging approach to the traditional classroom.
How did you start your business?
I would be ridiculous to say I started The Bird Haus all by myself. I managed Tazza Mia for five years and was with them since they first opened in West Chester. It became my source of education where I learned a lot about the ins and outs of starting a business, dealing with the emotional ups and downs, the art of management and the art of coffee. It was during my time there that I realized I wanted to own a business of my own. Ideas varied and eventually evolved into the ‘migrating classroom’ concept where I started researching other businesses spread across the United States that shared the same idea. With the current growth of the city and its creativity, I had a good feeling it would work. I then turned to a good friend of mine, Bob Bonder, owner of Tazza Mia and the future Rhinegeist Brewery for financial advice, who convinced me that financially, the concept could work. From there, I was motivated and started reaching out to other local experts in the area who allowed me to pick their brains, and I just flew with it.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I fell in love with the concept when I visited The Brainery, a Brooklyn-based business that describes itself as an ‘accessible, community-driven, crowd-sourced education.' It was a short-lived visit—I spent 15 minutes talking to the owner and observing the people going in and out, but I took in so much inspiration. All of the positive energy that was being passed back and forth between the teacher and students, and I decided to shove it in my suitcase on my flight back home with the goal of making this concept successful back home.
The difference? We don’t have a storefront and I don't have an office. We’re a migrating classroom where we work with local businesses to host the classes and I coffee shop hop all over the city with my work. A class about the history of Cincinnati on the Cincy Pedalwagon? Why not! A culinary class taught by a local chef at an upcoming restaurant? Why not! The possibilities are endless, and that’s what makes classes and workshops interesting and exciting at The Bird Haus. The goal is to create a fun, educational experience where all parties involved walk away happy, and everyone involved supports each other. In a city so small, I believe collaborating is so important to survive as a small business.
What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
Let me just first say that Cincinnati is the bee’s knees. I love this city! The New York Times and The Boston Globe are talking about how awesome the city is—our rich beer history is making a comeback, and the creativity in this area is ridiculous! With that said, I reached out to the experts in the community for help because they have proven to be the push behind all the positive redevelopment in Cincinnati.
I wanted to join the bandwagon of positivity and change in the city. Reaching out to the community has been beyond helpful. Because Cincinnati is small and our community is so tight-knit, I’ve learned that putting yourself out there and sharing your idea is highly rewarding. You just never know who you’re going to run into and what connections can be made until you put yourself out there and share your ideas.
What would you do differently if you started your business again?
I would be more accepting of change. I hear the word ‘change’ and I automatically freak out—my anxiety levels skyrocket, and my world starts to crumble. That might be a slight exaggeration, but it can be a scary thing, especially when this is my first entrepreneurial project. I know if I were more accepting of change, the process may have moved along a little faster. It’s definitely a learning experience within itself. Not only am I striving to grow The Bird Haus into this educational hub for the community, but it has also allowed me to grow as a person. Change is good and it’s the acceptance of change that really creates room for improvement and success in both my personal and business world.
What’s next for you and your company?
More collaborations! More classes! Bigger events! We want to expose the passion behind this city in a fun, creative, positive way! We want to bring classes and workshops you can’t find elsewhere. We want to create a community of learners and engagers. Nothing is more exciting to me than being able to sit in a class and see everyone winning—`a passionate teacher is able to share what they love with students who are genuinely interested in the subject, the stude
nts are learning something new while being able to discover hidden gems in and around the city while meeting others within the community, and the local business hosting the class gains new support by reaching a broader audience. To me, that’s awesome!
Interview by Sean Peters