Melbourne coffee caravan’s rebrand is winning local fans


Founder of Messin with Jim, Kayne Allan, is living proof that necessity can be the mother of invention – or at the very least, drive a Melbourne local to start up his own coffee truck.

“I’d lost work due to COVID and was looking for a way to maintain some kind of contact with the beverage industry. I couldn’t really afford to open a café, so I decided to start by building a coffee van,” Kayne tells Kochie’s Business Builders.

The customised retro-cool ’70s caravan that is now something of a fixture around Carrum Downs in Victoria started life as a far humbler trailer which rolled off its chassis onto Kayne as he stood in his parents’ driveway, purchased for the princely sum of $250.

While Kayne’s work experience to date did little to prepare him for the monster renovation job ahead in terms of building skills, his hard work, clear vision and the support of friends and family all helped see his dream take shape.

Seven months of planning and grafting later, the striking orange, cream and brown caravan was ready to serve not only carefully crafted coffees to the locals, but a cracking chai which spawned a second enterprise; Caravan Chai.

Watch: Meet Melbourne’s Messin with Jim

“The way I went about creating my brand’s look and feel was really to just stay authentic to myself”

If you’ve checked out Messin with Jim’s socials, issa vibe as the kids say. Friendly and laid back with an obvious passion for their offering is apparent in every post, the consistency of tone and message highlights their business’s identity and authenticity.

It’s also deeply embedded in their brand’s appearance.

“I’ve always been a huge fan of the old ’70s cream, brown and orange, so when I decided to build the van, there was really only one colour choice for me,” says Kayne.

In early 2021, Messin with Jim was one of six small businesses that won Vistaprint’s 99 Days of Design competition, netting them a $15,000 grant and communications makeover package, an experience Kayne says was a great opportunity to really cement their image and branding.

He says the 99designs by Vista platform’s marketing and design tools were not only super easy to use, they helped him see options for logos that he may not have considered to begin with.

“The logo design that we ended up choosing was actually entirely different to what I thought it would be; it kind of just grew on us as we realised that it was quite versatile. We were very grateful to have seen so many different designs,” Kayne tells Kochie’s Business Builders.

messin with jim logo

Polished and professional meets cute and classic

As well as creating a memorable look, Kayne says the rebrand helped them market to new audiences with a polished range of merchandise printed by Vista.

“We’ve had people come to the van just to buy t-shirts because they thought the design was cool, so it kind of gives us the whole package,” he says.

Along with the collectable-worthy merch, Messin with Jim has printed marketing materials to help build loyalty and recognition, including a giant flag to let people know what’s brewing.

“We had business cards printed through Vista which have helped our brand through creating cohesion as a business. It’s quite a delight to be able to give people a business card and hear them say, ‘Oh, you’ve even got business cards and stickers’ – people love that sort of stuff, and it really makes them feel a little bit more comfortable with us and presents us as a whole package.”

They also have loyalty cards which people can carry around with them, which Kayne says is a great little addition to inspiring repeat business and keeping people engaged with their branding.

messin with jim

Messin with Jim Melbourne

Messin with Jim’s t-shirts and flag were printed with Vista. Image: Kochie’s Business Builders

“What I love most is the social aspect”

While the impact of COVID on the hospitality landscape is moving into a new normal with more stable employment opportunities, Kayne won’t be looking back.

Getting to make coffee or chai for different kinds of people every day is a big part of what he loves about his daily… well, grind, Kayne telling Kochie’s Business Builders nobody’s unhappy when they’re getting coffee, so it’s usually a pleasant environment to work in. His success branching out into wholesaling is also helping the company coffers.

“We started making our own chai when we started the coffee van, and since then we’ve actually launched a chai brand, which is now a separate company to Messin with Jim. So what’s next for us is expanding this – we already wholesale to a bunch of different cafes, and we actually utilised Tony who we met through 99designs by Vista to do our branding and packaging for our chai as well.”

And if their socials are anything to go by, this will all be jammed in around a busy community market and festive period, where the van will be clocking some serious kilometres getting their brew into many new hands – when they aren’t making a dash to their home turf to serve their beloved, loyal locals.

Find out more about Messin with Jim and Vista.

This article is brought to you by Kochie’s Business Builders in partnership with Vista.

Feature image: Supplied.


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Melbourne coffee caravan’s rebrand is winning local fans
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