Hawthorne Coffee Roasters in Havelock North is a Hawke’s Bay institution, established in 1999 and still going strong 17 years later. After travelling Europe and running an accommodation business in Scotland, Tom Ormond along with his wife Benita came home and took ownership of Hawthorne in 2006. Tom – roaster, barista, coffee machine technician, packaging expert, and delivery boy – talks about rebranding, what the name means to him and Benita, and their #famous takeaway coffee cups.
Where does the name Hawthorne come from? The name Hawthorne originated from Hawthorne House which is a grand old Edwardian villa on the outskirts of Havelock North. The first Hawthorne beans were roasted there back in 1999 before the roastery moved to its current premises on Napier road in 2001.
What do you think of when you hear the name Hawthorne and what do you hope your clientele/customers think? Well, I was chatting to my wife Benita about this and and she came up with this stream-of-consciousness type response . I think she nailed it:
“Warm and inviting, creative and social, steadfast and authentic. Hawthorne is family. She is local, national and humble. Hawthorne cares first for the people – putting the shine into your rise. A glow in your eyes and a warmth in your belly. Uniting the village and coffee community with the world via 1st class beans and blends. Hawthorne is like the roaster, a toasty warm oven. Hawthorne is social, awake, energetic and professional. She eases through her day in her most relaxed and approachable style. Being helpful. Hawthorne likes to be flexible and relevant. She is creative and loves art, design and technology. Hawthorne works hard to stay authentic and remain steadfast. To be as good as she can be. She is strong, she grows and thrives organically.”
Your coffee cups have been featured on the Coffee Cups Of The World Instagram twice! Can you elaborate on what made you choose to feature artwork on your cups instead of just your own branding, and talk a little bit about your current cup design? Benita and I love art and design and we just saw an opportunity to use the cups as a blank canvas and put something a little different and eye-catching on them. For the first run of ‘art cups’ we used a couple of images from a friend of ours John Brown.
For the latest series we swapped our cup supplier to Ecoware, whose cups are compostable. We took the whole eco-friendly theme and (without wanting to be too cheesy) have tried to celebrate our planet by having beautiful images that incorporate the sun, sea, flora and fauna, landscape etc. The ‘moon cup’ image is the view from the moon looking back at our planet and ourselves. We had to buy that image from National Geographic and it’s a famous photo by Charles Bittinger. I guess by making a habit of not fully covering our cups with our own brand, that in itself has become our branding. We like to be a bit playful with Hawthorne and takeaway cups are a neat way to do that.
Do you get much customer response about the cups? The reaction to our cups has been really positive. People like that we have done something a little different. “Beautiful” is a common response. We wanted them to look beautiful and timeless so hopefully they do!
You did a rebrand sometime within the last four years, what was the reason for it? When we took over the reigns of Hawthorne back in 2006, the brand, although working successfully, didn’t necessarily reflect who we were and where we saw the business going in the future.
What is the story behind the classical style of illustration that is part of your branding? We really wanted to portray a sort of timelessness. Something that you could look at and keep looking at that was interesting as opposed to just a logo. The illustration perhaps looks a bit like Hawthorne sounds and it something you can dive into and see that there is also something quite futuristic about it as well as old. It was done by a friend and ex-employee Zoe Chisholm. She got to know us well and what the company was all about and she did a fantastic job of turning our vision of the brand into what we see now.
How did you come to choose the font and colours for your logo and branding? How do you feel these details represent your brand? The only thing that we haven’t messed with is the font for ‘Hawthorne’. This is really the logo I suppose and has become pretty iconic. We like it and want that to stay consistent all the while having free reign to play with all the other artwork we use in our branding.
How important are fonts to you and how do you feel about comic sans? Fonts are very important. I love how a terrible font can cause such a strong negative reaction in some people or awe in others if it’s done really well. Comic sans should only be used in preschools.