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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