Tell us about the ideas and inspiration that went into creating this new boutique concept for Nespresso.
We call our boutiques a brand embassy, representing everything Nespresso stands for. With this new concept, there are a couple of things that we want to emphasise. The first is to tell the story of the coffee because we are about coffee, specifically in its quality, innovation and sustainability. The whole idea is to connect people in an environment that is conducive to narrate the Nespresso coffee tale. We’ve also changed the way we interact with customers and there’s no point of sales anymore – it’s less transactional and more engaging. Coffee specialists discuss with customers and they place their orders through iPads. There’s also a discovery bar, that’s like an l’atelier, where customers get to explore our coffee range and discover the world of coffee through Nespresso.
How are Nespresso’s pillars of quality, innovation and sustainability represented in this new boutique?
Almost everything in this boutique reflects that! We have table tops made from used coffee grounds from the Nespresso factory in Switzerland. The wood used in this boutique is also entirely sourced from reforestation programmes. Even the LED lights that are designed to remind us of coffee farms have lower electricity consumption. Finally, on the way out or in, the recycling pods for used capsules encourage customers to recycle them.
You mentioned that the boutique is the brand embassy. Why do you think it’s important to have it stand as more of an experience of the brand rather than a point of sales?
People respond to experience. They also want brands to be like citizens who are responsible and sustainable. At Nespresso, we have a strong idea on what the ultimate coffee experience should be and we’re very much an experiential brand. That’s why we model our boutiques to be a brand embassy. Hence, the boutique not only offers coffee drinking accoutrements, but is also a place that takes the time to tell the story behind each coffee.
Why did Nespresso choose Malaysia as the first South- East Asian location for this new boutique concept?
We’re actually quite pleased with the reception from Malaysian coffee aficionados in discovering Nespresso. It’s encouraging to see how fast we’re growing here and people are responding positively to the Nespresso experience of coffee. Kuala Lumpur’s coffee scene itself is becoming very international, picking up on new trends and keen on experience-driven brands, especially premium international brands. The key fundamental trends across almost all of Asia are a growing interest in coffee and in what we call ‘coffee premium-sation’. People want a more sophisticated coffee experience alongside an interest in sustainability. And these are trends that we see reflected in Malaysia and it’s quite pronounced. Based on these factors, we thought Malaysia would be a great place to debut our new concept boutique in Sout-East Asia.
With this new boutique concept, Nespresso is clearly elevating the experience of coffee. What’s the motivation in this luxury approach towards coffee?
I think coffee is a wonderful medium for people to connect with each other, and it creates a moment of indulgence. Life is often mired with complications and stress, and sometimes we need to – I need to – take a moment to enjoy something a little bit special. With that in mind, Nespresso always had this vision that it would always do its best to be that special moment, the ultimate coffee experience. This can mean different things to different people, but we always believed that the ultimate coffee experience should have an element of – of course – quality. For that, we need to source the best coffee beans in the world, directly from coffee farms. Through the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Programme launched in 2013, we bring back proximity to the coffee farmers. In this programme, we build a direct relationship with coffee farmers and improve their quality, environmental conservation, social equity and economic viability. This ensures origin as well – which is why some of our Grand Crus are called the single or pure origin.
How does sustainability add to Nespresso’s ultimate coffee experience?
The ultimate coffee experience should include the element of sustainability and you can see that’s what Nespresso has been doing. For me, I cannot have this experience unless I know that I am making a responsible choice. Nespresso wants to make sure that, while we are enjoying a great cup of coffee, we are also doing something right for the whole coffee industry, especially for those aiming at the highest quality coffee. By making that choice, you are rewarding quality and, when you recycle the capsules, it creates a circular economy and that’s consequently a waste-free experience. Nespresso has the goal of achieving a network of 100 per cent environmentally friendly boutiques by 2020 and I believe we’re well on our way.
TEXT KIRAT KAUR
ART DIRECTION MON KAI-SIONG
PHOTOGRAPHY ROBIN LIEW