The name came first. Borne out of a my two passions in life, Cycling and Coffee.
The look and feel came next. A designer friend with his own cycling and coffee history and an impressive portfolio offered to help and over a few beers we came up with specification and he offered up some ideas for a logo, a web site, t-shirts, caps and packaging designs.
In the beginning the packaging was brown tin-tie Kraft with with a hand stamp and labels printed on my home bubblejet. At about that time I started selling bags at the local farmers market and quickly realised that in the mostly damp Exeter weather, bubbjet labels weren’t much good.
Next I requisitioned my wife’s hair straighteners and bought some brown kraft heat-seal bags. Ditto with the hand stamp and upgraded ‘inkjet’ labels.
Then it was time for a step-up. My designer friend came up with 4 coloured label patterns and label designs to be used on white bags. No way I could get the clarity of colour on my home printer so it was time to engage my local print company. Luckily Tristan was a regular at the farmers market which made discussing styles and designs easy.
Of course in these early days the thought of committing to a large minimum order quantity (MoQ) for custom bags was out of the question. But eventually that time came and the plethora of Chinese packaging sales emails eventually found me on a receptive day. 10k MoQ from China with a promised delivery for my first stand at the London Coffee Festival (paid in advance of course). With one week to go to LCF and way after the ’guaranteed’ date I received an advance 500 via Air-freight. I suspect part of the delay was the mirroring of the custom side panels (they were reversed) which I spotted as an aside on an email from them stating they had finished printing.
That 10000 seemed to disappear quite quickly but the overall experience with MTPAK didn’t make me want to re-order even though of course the plate cost savings on reprinting are not insignificant.
So, time to consider the next commitment to custom bags, recyclable, decomposable, without a valve etc. Some stop-gap solutions with plain white stock bags until a 25k MoQ custom designed bags though a young Dutch company that everyone who was anyone seemed to be using. With the plate costs it came as a huge financial commitment. I wanted to stay true to the 4 colour label patterns albeit in modified form with my new designer on board. So, a new bag design, new labels and information cards, and a new look and feel. My designer and printer friends worked out a solution to maintain consistency and quality but allow the flexibility of me printing the coffee details as required.
They’re tactile, stylish , recyclable and valveless and seem a long way away from the plain kraft tin-tie bags with hand stamp. The new design led perfectly to create a package for our 'special' coffees too in the form of re-usable tins.
I recently registered the logo and the name with the Trade Marks UKIPO office which seems a little late in the day but better late than never as they say.
What's next ? Who knows, this evolution hasn't been planned in advance but come about organically. Right now the branding and packaging looks good and functions well. Everything can be improved.