Hello, Coffee. Big Steps for Small Business


The Story of a Persevering Entrepreneur

By: Karina Litvinenko

It’s easy to order design when you’re a marketing expert and when you follow visual trends. However, if you are only opening your first business, creating corporate identity becomes a true challenge. Our friend and client, Vyacheslav, the owner of Hello!Coffee coffee shop shares his experience in making this step.

My business is a single coffee point in the “to go” format. When I bought the shop, it looked as if it consisted of many layers from different times. It was obvious that many trademarks had owned it before, both coffee and tea brands. I realized at once that we needed new design. What should it look like was the question.

At first, I worked at the coffee shop myself. I wanted to know what people wanted. It turned out that we dragged behind in everything: not only in visual décor, but also in the quality of drinks and equipment. We had to become tastier and more substantial.

We began with developing design and buying new equipment that was important not only to make better drinks, but also to improve the visual aspect of our shop. When I looked at other coffee shops, I noticed that many of them used obsolete equipment, which, in fact, is the face of an establishment. We chose modern Italian coffee machines and coffee mills for our shop. And when it came to design, SSN Design helped us a lot.

Working with SSN I realized that choosing design was like choosing clothes in a store. When you see “your” thing, you notice it at once. I picked my style from several options suggested by the guys. After we agreed upon the concept, the agency designed the listed elements of the coffee shop, including packages and baristas’ uniforms. We worked quickly, yet not in a rush: we had enough time to argue about the right place for the logo on a coffee cup.

We’ve been working with the new corporate identity since November. Straight after its implementation, it started to pay off. There is a tendency for a shift in our audience: we have an inflow of new clients, they buy drinks that are more expensive. The number of sold cups grows as well.

After the update, we extended our menu. Now we have genuine Georgian lemonade. In Kharkiv you can only buy it from us and in a single other restaurant. But the main thing my partner, Gennadiy, and I are working on is to have every client leave Hello!Coffee stand in a good mood.

SSN Design Afterword

By: Evgeny Sokolenko

Vyacheslav did a great job, first of all, because he went through with it till the end. This our first advice to all rookie businessmen is: branding projects require a logical ending. If you stop after designing a logo, you’ve done nothing.

And here are some more pieces of advice:

1. A rookie businessman is no different from a huge company in terms of creating design for a project or a product. Rather, beginners need to do it even more: a solid start gives a new business a chance to succeed.

2. Choosing an agency is an intimate process. One needs to choose intuitively. However, if you don’t have a lot of experience in choosing contractors, you’d better browse the web thoroughly. Trustworthy agencies always demonstrate their works openly.

3. It may sound predictable, but it isn’t the best idea for a new business to try and mix in the crowd of competitors. Ask your agency to find three to five projects from your domain, and try to make something more interesting than that. The agency will most probably support your wish to “get away” from them.

4. Branding requires constant work. Still, when turning for design, make a list of objects for branding. Discuss it with the agency. They will probably suggest more options to you. Prepare your requirement specifications based on this information. It will make your work more controllable and open.

5. Don’t procrastinate. It may seem unexpected, but the agency is interested in quick realization of your project. So, if you prepare for the fast lane, you will receive your product swiftly.

And, yes: paying in advance has been a norm for ages now.


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