Welcome to SACHI.LA, a coffee shop that truly transcends the limits of what we thought a coffee shop could be, and the first feature of our “Friends of Inboard” series. Beyond a great cup with a price tag to make Angelenos gasp and phone a friend, sisters Sachi and Chiyo have cultivated a warm, plant-laden space for community togetherness above all else. With a shared passion for great espresso and more connected cities, we were beyond excited to sit down with Sachi herself!
Q: Hey Sachi, thanks for having us! Can you give the Inboard community a little intro to your world?
A: I’ll start with a few fun facts about myself; I’m left handed, I have over 100 plants, I speak Japanese, and I’m definitely a crazy cat lady. My mom only moved to the States in her 30s, so Japanese culture has been very prominent throughout my life. I grew up in the South Bay Area of Northern California, but after going to college in San Diego, I’ve been fully converted to a Southern Californian. It has always been a dream of mine to own my own business, maybe a little shop selling random knick knacks. I never thought I’d own a coffee shop exactly, but I’m glad I do now.
Q: Walk us through the birth of SACHI.LA.
A: It all started in April 2017 when my mom, sister, and I were all together drinking a glass of wine at home. Different life events had us all reassessing our next chapter. We decided to make the shop happen, we cheers-ed to it, then started to draw a picture of the shop and wrote down every detail of our ideal storefront. My sister and I had previously manifested our perfect apartment by doing the same exercise of drawing and writing. We reached out to a realtor friend of ours (who had been working on opening his own coffee/breakfast burrito shop) in hopes that he would help us find our own location. A few days after we made the decision to open up shop, we met with our friend, only to find out that their restaurant concept wouldn’t work in the location they had already found. Now they were looking for a subleaser, and here we are!
From there it was go time, not much time for planning, but we simply made decisions along the way. The space was completely gutted with just a toilet so we had a pretty big project on our hands. We reached out to everyone we knew, asked all the questions, went to many coffee shops, researched endless hours online, and started to make moves. Chiyo and I designed the coffee shop with the help of architects, engineers, and coffee experts. We navigated carefully through city planning and inspections. We hired amazing contractors that made our beautiful shop come to life and helped us overcome unexpected construction hurdles. It took us a year and a few months to get our coffee shop open to the public. Just last week we passed our final health inspection and received our A!
From the beginning, the whole reason we wanted to open SACHI.LA was to bring people together. SACHI means happiness in Japanese, and happiness is best when shared with others. We wanted to create a space for people to exchange a simple smile, to make new friends, to exchange ideas, and to encourage positivity. To finally see it happening is the most gratifying feeling ever.
Q: You mention that a source of inspiration is your Japanese heritage - can you elaborate on that a little?
A: There are both aesthetic and social aspects of our Japanse heritage which have inspired our space. For starters, Japan is very clean, organized, considerate, respectful, and I guess you could say zen. We hope that you can sense all of these in our space. In addition, we have Japanese artwork, souvenirs, fabrics, and several decoration pieces from our grandparents house! We currently serve Matcha and in the future hope to serve Onigiris (Japanese rice balls) as well.
Q: Inboard and SACHI.LA are united by a desire to see our cities become more connected. For us, that means getting people out of cars, and back into the open air, witnessing the sights, sounds, smells of their neighborhoods. What does “connection” mean to your shop and your community?
A: In a time when we are so technologically connected, it’s true that we feel very disconnected in spite of it. It’s been very important to us that each person that walks through our door is acknowledged, even if it’s just a simple smile or hello. We ask customers their names and make conversation. We introduce customers to other customers. Our neighborhood has great evening restaurants, but lacks a day time spot. Most of our regulars are also our neighbors and tell us how excited they are that they can walk to our shop in the mornings. It’s a wonderful meeting spot for everyone! In addition, we try to keep everything local- our coffee, our art gallery, retail items, etc. We also host events such as comedy nights, live music, and even a day for voter registration! The best part is that all of these events have been initiated and driven by our community members.
Q: What makes Los Angeles the perfect place for a shop like yours? Or is it not?
A: Often times in LA, I feel that everyone is closed and in their own little worlds, not always very kind or aware of their surroundings. I can feel the lack of connection and I think that feeling of connection is what everyone craves. I decided with my sister to create SACHI.LA, to lead by example and. “Be the change you wish to see in the world” is kind of my motto here. Don’t get me wrong- I absolutely love LA and think that these feelings of interpersonal isolation are likely not limited to this city. LA is brilliant in its own right for diversity and energy. Something is always going on, in all industries, in all areas, for all kinds of people. Getting to know each customer and their “LA story” is totally awesome and unpredictable.
We can all be the change together.