Nicholas Christowitz is one of Johannesburg’s brightest creatives. Graphic designer, illustrator, entrepreneur, creative consultant, co-founder of FATHER Coffee and co-founder of The Bread, he is still recognised for his style and great taste. We caught up with Nicholas to understand his world.
How did you come up with the concept of Father Coffee?
Basically Angie and I were thinking of starting a little side business. After some discussion we decided to start a coffee brand. We pulled in our friends Barry and Chad and 9 months later we had opened what we think is the finest coffee shop in Johannesburg.
Father Coffee has now become a massive fixture in the street culture of Johannesburg. Did you anticipate it becoming this popular?
Not at all. We always knew that creating such a beautiful shop would make it easy to get popular on instagram and other platforms, but we never anticipated the hoards of extremely cool kids visiting from all over Jozi. It’s something we pride ourselves in now – the fact that we have every type of person coming through and enjoying their time in the shop. Not just other bearded people and coffee fanatics.
There are a lot of coffee spots in Johannesburg. What makes Father Coffee so different?
We put a huge amount of effort into what we do. Everything is considered – from the small tables that don’t allow people to hang around for too long, to the milk we use. We’re also just super friendly and passionate. We want to share our space and the coffee culture with everyone. We have no time for the attitude and pretentiousness that usually comes with a “cool” coffee shop.
What and who inspires your style?
My friends. They all dress ten times better than I do and I just feed off them. Obviously the internet plays a massive role. I like to be comfortable and feel confident. I used to try dress dapper and fancy but got sick of it. I’m running around all day. Constantly jumping between making people coffee, running The Bread and cruising to meetings… so no time to feel uncomfortable.
What are the 5 key items you can’t live without?
My swiss army knife. A good pair of sneakers. My iPhone. My Macbook. And finally, really good coffee.
What’s the most expensive item of clothing you own?
My sneaker collection has an embarrasingly high value, but other than that I’d have to say my Ben Sherman jacket that I got when I was a Ben Sherman ambassador. Think it was around R3800. I’m not really into buying super expensive stuff though. I see the value in high quality, expensive clothing, but I’d rather use the money to travel more.
Who do you think are the most stylish gents in Jozi?
The Sartists win. All day every day. Wanda and Kabelo have their own thing going on and I’m so glad people are noticing in a big way.
Tell us about your work and co-founding The Bread?
I came up with the idea and structure for The Bread last year when I was in Berlin. I got back and decided to pull two of the most talented people I know to partner with. They also happen to be two of my best friends. We all complement each other perfectly and that makes what we do so much more fun. I still do graphic design and a little bit of illustration after hours, but my days are filled with making coffee and working at The Bread.
How do the business partners bring unique qualities to the company?
I’m definitely the impatient, anxious and hot-headed one. My partners (in both businesses) are brilliant to be around. I’m learn so much from them and our work is just getting better and better.
Why the name The Bread?
As I mentioned I came up with the idea in Berlin and I wanted to call it Das Brot (German for The Bread). The reason for this has to do with the way our consultancy is structured. To put it simply, we’re like two slices of bread, our clients and our creative partners are the ingredients, and together we make an amazing tasty sandwich.
What does the future hold for The Bread?
To be honest we just want to try create more work that actually helps people. It’s great when big brands come along and are keen to do something that means something to people – not just really well designed fluff that leaves people’s minds after they’ve seen it. In 5 years time I’d like us to have gone global. At least an office in NYC and one in Berlin.