How a Small LA Coffee Shop’s Cup Sleeves Became the Go-To Marketing Vehicle for Billion-Dollar Brands

The story of Alfred Coffee and its trendy rings of cardboard

Though Alfred Coffee is a chain that's largely confined to Los Angeles, huge brands such as Netflix have signed on to promote themselves on its coffee sleeves. Images by Audrey Ma / Claire Haycox; courtesy of Alfred Coffee

Six years ago, a staffer from Kelly Wearstler’s studio stopped by Alfred Coffee in West Hollywood to fetch a bunch of cappuccinos and vanilla lattes for the office. This was nothing especially out of the ordinary, since the indie coffee shop and the headquarters of the acclaimed furniture and interior designer were just a few blocks apart. Besides, even on a bad day, L.A. has no shortage of trendy people walking around.

@UpperEastRob Robert Klara is a senior editor, brands at Adweek, where he specializes in covering the evolution and impact of brands.