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What happens when the heart just stops? March 13, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in branding, philosophy, work/life.
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On my way to the office this morning I stopped by my favourite coffee emporium in all of Melbourne, a shop at the edge of the Prahran Market called Passionut. I stepped inside to see the place flooded with chocolate bunnies, Easter eggs, the layout of the store in disarray. “Where are Tim and Carol?” I asked the eager guy behind the counter. “Oh, they’ve moved on,” he said, and that was that.

Tim and his wife Carol stocked a range of fantastic coffee, wonderful fresh nuts and dried fruit, and some great chocolate. Chocolate and coffee are two of my real passions in life, I can take either in until the cows come home with little loss in desire to consume more. More than that, buying it from Tim and Carol, a couple who I’ve shared lots of music and more laughs with became an experience in itself. I’d share with them my hopes for meetings I was having to get the music I make into a wider sphere, we’d swap mix-tapes of Eric Bibb and B.B. King among others, time in their shop was refuge. To quote Hugh Mcleod, coffee was the social object but the conversation around it was much more important, and that was never so apparent until today when I wandered in to find they weren’t there anymore.

I’m sure the new owner is a lovely guy and I hope he does well. But I didn’t go back to the shop because of the coffee, I went back because of the relationship I had with the Tim and Carol. I can’t count the number of places I can get coffee from Costa Rica in Melbourne, so I’m off to one of those. I’ve no interest in buying from the new guy, they were all out of the one I like anyway. That experience with one of my favourite things in the world gets tucked away now, forever and ever, amen.

When a brand becomes an experience and takes on a life of its own, neither the creator nor the consumer is in control anymore. That’s a really exciting space to be in, the rules are entirely unwritten. But it also means there’s no way that experience can be transferred, because it is so personal. It’s the final destination for the brand that has achieved everything else, the only place left to go is complete reinvention. That’s where Tim and Carol have gone to, and I guess I’m on my way as well. Good luck guys.

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Comments»

1. Oolong - June 6, 2008

Having worked in both BTL/online as a “firefighter” as you put it, and in Prahran Market itself, I can definitely see where you’re coming from.

However, you might just want to give the new guy a chance given that you didn’t even try the Costa Rican available – I just tried some and it was pretty good.

He’s also a great guy and a huge fan of music too.

2. David Gillespie - June 11, 2008

Hey Oolong, thanks for stopping by. You know, you’re probably right. I suppose something I missed above was the fact that Tim and Carol passing their good work onto someone probably meant at least giving that legacy a chance to evolve was worth a bag of coffee or two. So I’ll make good on their promise the next time I run out.

Might even take him in some music too…=]

3. Oolong - June 11, 2008

Hey David, no worries! Give him some of your music. there’s also a tall new red-headed guy who works there now. His name is Hamish and he’s a DJ who’s done gigs at places like Miss Libs and Workshop. Not exactly BB King but he’ll definitely be a great one to chat to as well.

Good luck on the coffee. Trust me on that one. I’ll probably bump into you at the next AFA meeting or something.


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