Luba Kemenova is the founder and owner of ostPost in Berlin-Mitte. ostPost is a café, bookstore, and event space with “an Eastern European touch,” as Luba calls it. The Russian-born entrepreneur followed her dream to open the café. She has not only created a business for herself, but she has also created a great space for the Eastern-European community in Berlin. It’s about time that we introduce her to you. This is the amazing Luba.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Vladivostok, the capital of the Far East of Russia and the end station of the Trans-Siberian Railway.
What is the strongest memory you have of your hometown?
The smell of the ocean, the taste of fresh fish, and the feeling of freezing feet. I do not miss those things much here in Berlin, except for the fish. I did not realize that in those days, I probably ate more fish than bread.
When did you arrive in Berlin? What brought you here?
I came to Berlin in 2006. After studying for a year in Cottbus, doing an exchange semester in Jordan, and then an internship in Thailand, I realized I wouldn’t be able to stay in Cottbus anymore. The town was too small and depressing, and there were no jobs. So, I took a train to Berlin! I spent several years commuting from Berlin to Cottbus by train until I finally moved here.
What do you do?
I have two babies: my first baby is my 2-year-old daughter and my second baby is ostPost. [Luba smiles.] Why did I start ostPost? I guess I am one of those people trying to combine my work with my hobby. I enjoy connecting people, organizing cultural events, or even just brushing off someone’s bad mood with a great cup of coffee.
What is ostPost?
ostPost is a café, bookstore, and event space with an Eastern European touch. If you are new to Berlin or feel like reconnecting with your [Eastern-European] roots, you should come and join us for a cup of great coffee or for one of our many events.
Did you feel like there was a need for a cultural space for the Eastern-European community?
Hmm, good question. Berlin probably could survive without ostPost, but I couldn’t [Luba laughs.]. I was standing on the crossroads between University, various seasonal festival jobs, and proper full-time work. I knew that I always wanted to try something of my own, so why not open my own café? The concept was a pretty easy one – to unite what I like the most: languages, books, and culture.
What do you love (or hate) about Berlin?
Summer is great, but winter is pretty shitty. Sometimes I cannot believe how different the seasons in Berlin are. I love the “don’t give a damn” attitude of Berliners, chilling outside in the many parks, and the international feel of the city. The only thing I really hate is how dirty it is in Berlin. The U-Bahn-station “Rosentaler Platz” close to ostPost is the best example of this problem.
What is your contribution to making Berlin a little bit more beautiful?
I guess ostPost is my contribution. I am always happy to hear when people say “oh, we have met here” or “I have learned so much here.” That is a wonderful feeling.
For more information about Luba’s ostPost visit their website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram. Also feel free to read our Berlinograd interview with Elena Margulis. She co-organized events with ostPost.