Four years ago, if you told me that I would be a hostel owner today, I would have laughed at your crazy talk.
I always talked about opening a small bar with friends, but I didn’t even know what a hostel was back then. It is funny to think about now, but Mad Vervet originated from an offhand discussion 3 years ago on having a place so that our friends won't struggle when they came to Ethiopia, and we can rent it out, which would make it a fun way to live together.
„Trying to create solutions always brings opportunities”
We usually talk about different business ideas, but this one stuck in our mind and we went to check what is available in the city. We soon started checking out potential locations, but we realized we had a problem: the costs were way outside of the ballpark of what we could afford. So that was that.
Later that year, we had the opportunity to travel a bit more and started to learn more about hostels. Realizing there is a gap in the market for a clean, safe and affordable accommodation for backpack travelers in Ethiopia, we started to seriously explore the hostel business opportunity.
Meanwhile, since we love traveling, I used to organize trips for our friends which we later turned into 'Backpack Ethiopia'. We were already actively working on Backpack Ethiopia when we decided to incorporate the hostel idea with it. We soon came to realize that owning a hostel is not as easy as planning and organizing trips, and it took us more than two years to open our doors, even after officially creating a website for it.
I remember telling my dad our plans. It was a struggle to make him to accept the idea, especially since hospitality was not my profession. His reply was, “you think strangers will sleep in one room without knowing each other? is it a prison?” I of course do not blame him for not understanding what a hostel is, it was a new concept in Ethiopia, but I do wish he understood how well it fits me.
I am a strong advocate for doing what you love and following your passion. Even better if that passion brings money, but whatever it is, just do it.
Despite the skepticism and warnings from loved ones, we decided to push hard on our idea and used all the resources we can access.
Would I have been here if I was alone? Definitely not. Pursuing the same dream with your best friend encourages you to work harder and gives you a sense of safety knowing that you got each other’s backs. Of course, there will be the inevitable occasional fighting and arguing, but that is trumped by the much laughter and fun times.
Working on Mad Vervet with Neba made the two years pass like 2 months. And the
challenges felt like fun adventures as we usually laugh off our stupid actions and ideas.
Finally opening the hostel felt like a dream come true!
It was literally dream come true actually, yet another adventure to face together.
Mad Vervet would also not have been successful had it not been for the amazing people around us, whom we are lucky enough to call our friends. They were there from the very first day and have been the people we can always count on. These amazing souls helped build Mad Vervet as if it was their own and we will always be forever grateful for them. We are so glad to have this place where we all can
call home, Feel at home.
The most frequent question we get asked is, “where did the name Mad Vervet come from?” I'll probably disappoint you by ruining your guess. The real story of how Mad Vervet originated is not that crazy. One day we decided that we can no longer delay and needed to come up with a name that day. To be honest, once we sat down, it didn't take us long to decide. We knew we wanted “Mad” to be in the name, as we hoped our hostel will be a place for people to have unforgettable memories and mad fun. We also knew that we wanted to add something Ethiopian in the name. We started going through endemic animals in Ethiopia and chose “Vervet” - a terrestrial Old World monkey, found in the bamboo forests of the Bale Mountains. After more than a year of managing and having unforgettable memories at Mad Vervet hostel, I have become too attached with the name as it feels like I’ve lived my entire life with the name.
Well, that is a brief story of Mad Vervet Hostel. Until next time!