Doughnuts: Next on the Swarbrick agenda

Friday Oct 21, 2016

Ex-mayoral candidate and self made entrepreneur Chlöe Swarbrick is opening a doughnut cafe and art gallery.

Swarbrick and partner Alex Bartley Catt have been working with associate  Bryan Anderson on the renovation and development  of the space they have coined Olly. The cafe is due to open in about a month, and will be located inside suburban cinema The Crystal Palace.

img_9306
Outside Olly – Photo/Sean Stapleton

The idea for a doughnut cafe was concieved out of Swarbrick and Catt’s passion for the pastries, and disappointment in the lack of a doughnut scene in Auckland. “No one really does the sort of doughnuts that people want here,” claims Swarbrick.

Olly will have a range of doughnuts that will include both yeast and cake based recipes with a focus on the traditional circular shape. The aim is to create a brand that draws on both the American ideals and Melbourne doughnut trends.

img_9308
The Crystal Palace – Photo/Sean Stapleton

Though Swarbrick concedes that “doughnuts aren’t extremely healthy”,  they will be using high quality and natural ingredients.

The trio acquired the space following a change in management of the suburban cinema.

Swarbrick would walk past the empty store front daily and had designs on it for a while, as she has a infatuation with project spaces. Her initial plans for the space were solely for an art gallery.

Art has always been a great love of Swarbrick’s and she has been involved in a number of artistic projects over the last three years. She even founded The Goods last year, a “united front for local artists, photographers, and rag traders”.

Through that front Swarbrick set up a space similar to her current project, in St Kevin’s arcade last December. There they hosted a week long retail space with a revolving gallery.

“I love talented artists. It kind of hurts me when I see people not feeling confident in their passions”

Swarbrick aims to give artists a leg up to share their talent with a broader audience, potentially sell their works and gain more faith in their talent.

With this mentality towards the arts, the trio behind Olly have brought in artists from their networks to contribute to a mural covering the back wall of their cafe. Bryson Naik, Toni Gill and Jed Richardson are the collaborators on the art piece (pictured below).

Back at it

A post shared by Chlöe Swarbrick (@chloe.swarbrick) on

The art displayed in the gallery will be on a monthly rotation with gallery openings to accompany the arrival of the new exhibitions.

The space is intended to be a permanent fixture, so locals can expect a bright future with plenty  of fresh art in the village.

Some may be concerned by how far the space is from the centre of Mt Eden Village, however Swarbrick has no qualms. “Passerbys have been showing a lot of interest and we have a wide network,” she claims.

The sentiment is shared by nearby cafes, Oaeill Liang, a local cafe worker says “Some people think that we are very far away from the centre of the village, but a lot of people like that.” He believes that if businesses on the edge of the village work together they can increase their customer traffic.

The trio’s venture is a sign of what becomes of modern tertiary students as they enter the work force. A social media poll conducted shows that it’s a widely held view that after graduation students are likely to end up with diverse careers that stray from their qualification title.

 

Swarbrick is a prime example of this modern trend, as she graduated from Auckland University with a Law degree, and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in philosophy. Qualifications that seem odd considering her work history.

As a young woman involved in multiple projects and working a number of jobs, Chlöe Swarbrick holds a personal philosophy that fuels her drive. “Life is Suffering,” she says, a buddhist moral, and idea that she believes pushes her to make life meaningful.

–  Sean Stapleton

Advertisements

Persistence

It is all well and good to have a fantastic idea for a story, but when the key subject is unreachable, you will be left out in the cold. Despite emailing Chlöe through her official public email last Thursday, I heard nothing till yesterday. During that time I made efforts to establish contact through four different methods.

Using wealth of information available online about Swarbrick from various interviews and profiles surrounding her campaign for mayor of Auckland and a variety of artistic and marketing projects she has developed I can cobble together a fairly comprehensive profile of who she is. There is very little information out there however on her current doughnut project.

Thankfully Swarbrick came back to me yesterday and we arranged to meet at The Crystal Palace today for an interview. So with my background research complete I set about preparing my questions.

 

In accordance with my interview with Swarbrick this morning, I visited a few nearby cafes for their comments on their thoughts on competition opening up nearby and what business was like on the outer edge of the Mount Eden Village.

Finding the Sweet Spot

Unsurprisingly, burglary stories are a dime a dozen, especially amongst the students taking this paper. In a fast paced news cycle where articles are competing for mass appeal, it pays to stand apart from the crowd. With this in mind I hit the streets and scoured social media and local forums for a more original scoop.

As it turns out, I have found my new story in the very first place I looked when I began my hunt. At the top of my road sits the suburban cinema, The Crystal Palace. Once derelict and left empty and unused by its owners, it is now host to a number of concerts since new management took over.

Under this new management, the store space adjacent to the cinema entrance and part of the building is under development by none other than ex-mayoral-candidate Chlöe Swarbrick.

I found this after reading through a recent Reddit AMA Swarbrick took part in following the results of the Auckland City Council election.

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-9-34-12-am

To confirm this information and establish initial contact, I tweeted Swarbrick, as she is known for her social media engagement. I received a reply within the day and have set about to contact her through more formal methods in the hope of securing an interview.

Blooming Arborists and Empty Nests

As much as someone can wax lyrical all they like about how much they know about interviews, at the end of the day none of that really matters when you can’t track someone down to interview.

Last week I called up the Auckland City Council in an attempt to contact the Auckland City Council Arborist. As it turns out, there is more than one of them. This would be fantastic as I needed to talk to someone about the origin and nature of the cherry blossom trees that line my road, however both were unreachable by phone so I was given their email addresses and names by the council worker. I sent out polite, professional and inquisitive emails to the arborists, and received a reply from one within the day, the other is still yet to reply. The one who did knew nothing about the trees lining my road but referred me to a heritage arborist who would. I sent out another email, and am still awaiting a reply.

Though we were given a lecture on tracking people down online last week, my sleuthing skills could only dig up old reports on consents to cut trees down, and not any phone numbers that could lead me to my absent arborists.

As it stands, my current story lacks key information and vital media from when the trees were in full bloom and eco-tourists were out and about making a nuisance of themselves all over the street. It may be time to jump this leaky ship of a story before the deadline sinks my chances at a decent mark for this assignment.

Thankfully, I have just made contact with a local bird enthusiast who lives one road down from me. She has gotten ahold of an egg incubator and is on a mission to save local bird nests from cold and lonely deaths in addition to her care of sick birds she finds and is given. This human interest community hero may just be my saving grace.