We had the good fortune of connecting with Annie Choi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Annie, what’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make?
The most difficult decision I’ve had to make was to leave a lucrative, pretty stable career to pave my own way as a young entrepreneur. I had originally entered the entertainment industry with high aspirations of wanting to change an antiquated industry. I desired to be a prominent Asian American female film or television editor so that I would create waves in a majority white male industry. Even though I was on a climbing ladder of success in post production, I ultimately made the very difficult decision to leave a career that wasn’t congruent to who I was and am. The departure was fraught with anxiety and A LOT of self-doubt. I knew that starting my own small business would come with its own challenges, but I am overall happier and healthier. I wanted to be a storyteller, and thankfully I still am — just in different ways with my little coffee shop. Coffee is also a male dominated industry, and I hope that my story as a Asian American female small business owner encourages others like me.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I opened the doors of Found Coffee in February 2015. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and thus it’s been my vision and mission from the very beginning to support and carry California roasters. Fast forward to today: the majority of our small business partners and vendors (specialty coffee roasters, teas, merch, chocolate bars, artists-in-residency, etc) are all local or from California, and 100% of our vendors are from the west coast. We just celebrated our 5th Anniversary during a global pandemic. We are a bright, airy specialty coffee shop located in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles. Pre-COVID, we prided ourselves as an anchor of the community. We’re a place where people have gathered and where they are known.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Proof Bakery for the best croissants and financiers in LA. The Getty for its architecture and history. Koreatown for Korean fried chicken and other delicious food. Perch for views of DTLA at night while drinking cocktails. Wax Paper for amazing sandwiches named after NPR journalists.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Frank Kim of Highlight Coffee for curating fantastic roasters; Highlight is the best coffee shop in Glendale and Altadena. Bobby Roshan of Demitasse Coffee for training me in specialty coffee and for roasting some of the best beans in LA. Leif An of Stereoscope Coffee for roasting some of the best beans in the OC.
Wonho Frank Lee; Joyce Evelyn Photography