Nestled away in the heart of Tamaki Makaurau, is the beautiful community at coffee shop Pink Neon Sign. Keep reading to hear our chat with Rosie about their space, ethos, and top tips for getting through these weird times.
Q : What inspired you to open your space and who do you look to for inspiration?
A : My good friend Hayley (who now resides in sunny northland) and I took over the space formerly occupied by eighthirty coffee roasters on High Street, whom we had both previously worked at (at this site mostly, but also their roastery, the Karangahape Road store before OPEN coffee was born and the Ponsonby Central kiosk). I had a conversation with my brother from another mother Glenn of eighthirty, as I found myself out of a job after the second lockdown of 2020. He was always aware I wanted to run my own operation, and he made a suggestion to take over the spot, which was an absolute dream.. I mean the space (designed by Dominic Glammuzina) is so dreamy, I loved working here for the 4 or 5ish years that I was employed by eighthirty, loved the local community as well as the history of Rakinos (which was my favourite bar/venue) being in the building. Of course I said yes.
I am hugely inspired by eighthirty, and although Pink Neon Sign is independently owned and operated, I still think of us as eighthirty whanau, and an extension of them and I hope we make them proud with what we've done with the spot. Damaris from The Realness has also been an insanely huge inspiration to me, and a Las Vegas ice cream company called Paradise Creamery born of the genius of Valerie Stunning.
Q : What is the story behind the name of your business?
A : So this was all Glenn and Sam of eighthirty - it was one of the original ideas for what eighthirty High Street was going to be called, but for some reason it didn't happen. I was always super obsessed with the name, and asked for their blessing to adopt it when I took over the space.
Q : What lies at the heart of your business?
A : Good coffee, our community, sustainability, supporting other small businesses, doing what you think is right (it's super important to me to listen to feedback, but without losing your vision of what you want to be, I'm quite stubborn), good chats and being a decent human being. No SWERFs, no TERFs, and no dickheads.
Q : Tell us something unique about the people behind your brand.
A : We are wahine Maori owned and operated, our employees (Brooke and Abbey) are loveable misfits who have been in this industry for years, have worked at amazing places and also have incredible creative endeavours. Brooke is an actress and Abbey is a visual artist. I just make coffee!
Q : How long have you been in business?
A : We opened as Pink Neon Sign in September 2020.
Q : What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome as a business?
A : Lockdown after lockdown. The Auckland CBD being a bit of a ghost town as so many people are working from home since the first lockdown. Although our location is beautiful, we are down a long hallway, not the street front. A little bit of an If You Know You Know spot which is both a blessing and a curse.
Q : Do you have a specialty product?
A : Coffee and Mariah Carey.
Q : Do you have anything exciting going on that you’d like to share?
A : We're just super excited to open again and see our friends.
Q : Why did you choose to partner with Forage and Bloom?
A : First things first, it's super delicious! I also love the way I feel after drinking F&B tea. The fact that Hannah is both a herbalist and naturopath, and the different tea blends have been made with the intention of being good for you as well as tasting great is my idea of perfection.
Q : Do you have a favourite Forage and Bloom tea?
A : I love Salvation for post red wine mornings, Clarify when my brain feels foggy and Nourish for when I need some TLC. I love that Hannah uses a lot of dandelion root! When I was having intense skin issues a few years ago, she recommended drinking tea's with dandelion and I swear it helped so much.
Q : Have you found any special uses for our tea?
A : At the moment, we are just serving tea hot however would love to experiment more with ice teas in summer. At home I love making a cold gin and bloom cocktail with soda water and cucumber.
Q : What is one important piece of advice that you can give those in your industry?
A : You can't be everything to everyone, so instead of trying to be really focus on building up your community and making connections with those who appreciate what you do.
Q : Do you have any words of encouragement for other businesses dealing with the impacts of lockdown?
A : Hang in there - and if things really turn to crap, it's not a failure. It's a pandemic that is completely out of our control. Society isn't normal. The sun is going to explode one day. You can only try your best and be a good person.
Q : Is there a particular book or magazine that your team is loving at the moment?
A : I love Interview magazine, it's cool that artists interview other artists. Also it's big and beautiful! I just finished A Little Life, which everyone should read, however maybe not in lockdown as it's super heavy. Unity Books is just down the road from us, so we are constantly talking about books with customers and each other.
Q : One inspiring or interesting account that you love to follow on Instagram.
A : @therealnessworld is amazing, it highlights, profiles and supports owner operated businesses. I especially love the recognition of Tangata Whenua businesses. @storyo.co - sharing cool as stories from women and gender diverse folk in Aotearoa. @pinkandfurryous - photos of pink cars and babes. So good.
Q : Words to live by?
A : Don't be a dick!
Thanks Pink Neon Sign ~ we love your down to earth community ☆