HOUSTON – April is Couple’s Appreciation Month, so we’re highlighting it with a new local business started by a husband and wife team. Marcus and Karman Lovely, co-founders of DUO Coffee & Pilates, are the perfect pair. Together, the two have combined their passions for health, wellness and coffee shop culture to create a business that’s the first of its kind in Houston.
“We started this with the idea that two is better than one. We are better together, and so DUO is just that,” said Karman.
DUO Coffee & Pilates opened in January 2021 in the River Oaks area. The shop offers enticing drinks and bites including coffee, tea, kombucha and speciality items. It also includes a fully equipped Pilates studio, where customers can sign up for a class and get to work.
A long time fan of coffee shop culture, Marcus strived to one day start a cafe of his own.
“I loved the atmosphere and the environment,” said Marcus. “I loved that everyone had a story. So for me, that’s kind of where this passion for coffee shops grew.”
Of course, Marcus and Karman had quite a compelling story of their own.
“In 2018, we had our second child and a few months later, I realized that I felt a lump in my breast, and it happened to be breast cancer,” said Karman.
Karman began her battle with cancer and underwent chemotherapy. After beating the disease, Marcus and Karman celebrated by taking a wellness trip to Costa Rica where they reassessed their lives together.
“Going through something like cancer just puts everything into perspective,” said Karman. “We got home and we were like, ‘Let’s do something that really means something to both of us and that we can actually put our passion behind…Something that we can be proud of.”
From there, DUO Coffee & Pilates was born. After overcoming cancer together, the two bravely pushed through all the trials of starting a business, especially one as unique as DUO.
“If you have an idea, it’s never too dumb to try,” said Marcus. “Some of the best businesses have come from people saying, ‘I’m going to try it.’ No one is guaranteed success. You can fail the next day, but if you don’t try, you’re going to live the rest of your life with that regret.”
Marcus shared the recipe to their specialty drink for April, “The DUO Blue.”
5 grams Butterfly Pea Blossom
12 oz. water
Fresh strawberries and blueberries
Lemon slice (optional)
Bring water to boil
Steep Butterfly Pea Blossom and lemongrass in boiling water for 4 min.
Strain tea into heat safe mug
Allow to cool to room temperature or colder
Serve over ice
Garnish with fresh berries
(Optional) serve with lemon; squeeze juice into tea to change color
To connect with Karman and Marcus, visit the DUO Coffee & Pilates website.
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