From University to
Running her Happiness Center

Emily Hazell is a Swinburne grad and the sole founder of Serotonin Eatery – a cafe nearly every brunch-loving Melbournian would have heard of, or lined up for on a Sunday morning.

Thanks to Emily’s double degree in interior architecture and communication design, she was able to bring her dream of creating a ‘happiness café’ to life without having to enlist the help of interior and graphic designers.

“I did all my own fit-out here, my own branding, my first website, the menus –basically any marketing material I make myself. I knew that studying design would be the perfect way to allow me to do anything. I’ll be able to use these skills in any business, and even in my own personal life, for the rest of my life.”

Why Serotonin is unique

Talking to Emily, it’s clear that the elements which make the Serotonin experience so delightful have not come together by chance.

“I worked with a colour psychologist to design the colour scheme. The outside is dark to reflect the crazy outside world and the inside is very calming and soothing, using mood-stabilising colours in a pearlescent paint.”

While designing the venue, she was also conscious of strengthening the brand by making the logo visible and consistent throughout the space.

“The logo for Serotonin Eatery is the molecular structure for the chemical serotonin. I’ve tried to place that hexagonal form throughout the cafe as much as possible to bring the whole concept together – from the tiles on the walls, to the pot plants, stools, and even on the plates and bowls.”

As you walk through the venue doors, you are greeted by a sensory experience far more intense than the buzz of a typical café.

The colours have an instantly calming effect and the beat of minimal house music harmonises with the hum of happy customers.

The gentle rocking motion of the swings is strangely therapeutic and delicious smells fill you with hopes of tasting every dish on the menu.

The foundation of the whole concept is undoubtedly the plant-based menu, which has been designed to include mood-boosting ingredients that are high in tryptophan and could increase your serotonin levels.


Why Emily loved design at Swinburne

Emily believes that the fundamental principles of design are universal and can be applied to so many aspects of life.

“If you want to go to uni but you don’t know what to study, design is the ideal course because it can lead to so many interesting paths and you really do use it everywhere.”

She even convinced a friend to transfer to Swinburne after enthusiastically sharing how much she loved it!

Emily’s passion for spreading the message of healthy living combined with her entrepreneurial outlook on life allows her to dream big when it comes to the future of her brand.

“I love trend forecasting and looking in Melbourne at what’s coming up and I think that’s how I was able to develop Serotonin. My long-term goal is to turn every closing down McDonald’s into a Serotonin.”

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