The inspiration for Bluestone Lane came from growing up and living in Melbourne, Australia. That really underpinned the necessity to create this company. When I moved to the States in 2010, I couldn’t believe how different the coffee culture was. In Australia, it’s a very independent, driven model, where chains traditionally in the coffee space haven’t done well. And there’s been a real revolution in coffee, where it moved away from being a functional beverage solving a need for caffeine towards an artisan pursuit, creating spaces in a very individual, personalized way, and leveraging the high quality produce you can find in Australia, a country the size of the United States but with the population of Texas, 25 million people.
We wanted to showcase high quality, clean, sophisticated breakfast and lunch fare. And moving to the States, I thought Starbucks has been so incredibly successful introducing coffee, serving people efficiently and quickly, but it was missing the personalization that was at the forefront in Australia, so that’s what inspired the idea - bringing something I was used to at home to New York. That underpinned the whole concept. I’d never worked a day in hospitality, but I thought I’d do my best, having worked at that stage in Financial Services, and having a place where I could go, where I felt like a local, not a customer, where they knew my name, face, and order, being recognized, having everything personalized, there seemed to be a need where there were a lot of other people like me. I observed this in other sectors like manicure and pedicure places, or wash and fold - people had their local places, but they didn’t have that for coffee, and I thought that was strange!
In Australia, we’re incredibly loyal to our hair cut places, our coffee places, our pubs. So I thought there was a great opportunity to bring something more elevated. And the name is synonymous for the intricate laneways you find in the Melbourne business district. They are laden with cobblestone, blue stones. It wasn’t a reference to my surname. Melbourne is known for its laneways, particularly the street art, coffee shops, and oftentimes only locals know about them. So a few years later, here we are!