We had the good fortune of connecting with Naoko Shiode and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Naoko, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
We have spent quite a normal life as most Japanese people do until around 40’s; getting married, having children, husband working for one same compnay unitl retirement, wife focusing on household and children. However, in 2013, our life has changed. Ryuji was transferred to NY from Tokyo when he worked for a Japanese company. Since we lived in rural area in New York, there were no good bakeries. Naoko started baking using the natural yeast she created herself. Only one year after living in NY, the company again transferred Ryuji to Orange County with a 4-year limited period. All of our family fell in love with OC environment soon. Ryuji started thiking he wanted to work his onw way with a high level of autonomy like many Americans do, while Naoko wanted to make use of her cooking skill on her own business. At that time, our son was 7 years old and daughter was 5 years old. In Japan, children are supposed to study very hard to survive examination ordeal from very young age until entering unitversity. We wanted them to experience as many things as possible and enjoy their life not like just focusing on studying hard while they are young. On the other hand, we always thought why there were no good bakeries in OC even though there are a lot of high quality ingredients. That way, we made a dicision that we would move to OC permanently, and start our own business, a bakery cafe.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Ryuji quit his job in March 2019 to get ready for starting a bakery cafe. Since then, we did everything necessary, looking for a restaurant space, lease agreement, layout, interior design, kitchen equipment, obtaining permit, construction, applying for visa and everything else from scratch though we had no experience in food industry and English is a second language for us. In order to make the premises ideal and to apply for the visa, we needed to invest at least half million dollars. To secure the fund, we had to use all of our money we saved for 20 years, and sell our condominium in Tokyo. Our original plan was opening our cafe by the end of 2019, but it was delayed because it took much more time obtaining the permit and construction than we expected. Finally, when the premises were ready to open, and then we sold the condo and shipped out all the belongings to the US, all of a sudden, the crisis came. A few days before the visa interview with US embassy, it was cancelled due to Covid19. It looked like we lost everything, and we had no place to go and get back. We spent a few months at a AirBnB apartment and a hotel in rural area in Japan run by our friend. During the time, we supervised opening a bakery in the rural area. After that, we applied an emergency visa interview with the embassy, and finally got the visa to go to the US. After coming to the US, we prepared everything to open our bakery cafe for a month. We worked from 5am to 10pm 7 days for the first 3 months, and we kept losing money for half a year under the crisis. Now, we are about to make a profit sometime soon. We learnd the lesson, never give up, and just do what you can do. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Yes, it is her husband for Naoko while it is his wife for Ryuji. We would never have started our business without either of us. Naoko focuses on baking, cooking and creating menus while Ryuji works on everything else such as construction, investment, accounting, applying for visa etc. We always discuss when we make big dicissions, and complement each other.

Website: https://www.briobriocafe.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brio_brio_cafe/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/briobriobakerycafe

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/brio-brio-bakery-and-café-lake-forest

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.