We had the good fortune of connecting with Taka Iida and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Taka, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
The journey began when I opened a fast casual restaurant in the heart of Downtown LA. I quickly realized that my life passion was to share my story and perspective of the Japanese culture to the world. My thought process started with surveying the Japanese landscape here in Los Angeles. I felt that in many ways, there were aspects of my culture missing or overlooked. So in creating Takasan, my process was really about bringing authenticity and a fuller picture of Japanese culture to Los Angeles, and ultimately to America. My mission is highlighting and giving voice to the many makers and masters of Japan.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Takasan is an e-commerce platform that has curated the best sake, wine and crafted goods from Japan. As a platform and brand, we’re really centered around usability and education. I think building an inclusive market for a growing market starts at accessibility. We designed the website to be easy to navigate and educational at the same time. We aren’t just a sake shop, but a growing destination for premium Japanese goods. We believe traditional Japanese goods belong in the modern world, and our goal is to give them a platform. Of course, starting a business in the middle of a pandemic comes with its own set of unique challenges, but believing in the main goal of our vision kept us going. It was an emotional roller coaster starting a new venture. I’ve learned to always listen to your gut. I was born in Tokyo, Japan and growing up in America, my multi-cultural background shaped and molded me and my aspirations. I strive to bring the sensitive, meticulous, and warm service that is Japanese hospitality combined with the hardworking and ambitious American mindset to my daily endeavors and future aspirations.
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?
Beach Day -Start the day at Maru Coffee in the Arts District. -Pickup subs at Bay Cities before going to the beach for lunch. -Go to the SM Pier and then hop around the beaches to relax and soak in the sun. -Dinner in Venice at one of my favorite spots, Felix Trattoria. Hiking Day -Start the day at Verve Coffee -Hiking in the Malibu Area -Lunch at Nobu Malibu -Dinner in Ktown for Korean BBQ! (Either Parks or Gwang Yang) Museum Day -Start the day at Kumquat Coffee -Go to Barrys Bootcamp class and then to Remedy Place for a quick infrared sauna -Check out LACMA, The Broad and the Getty Museum. -Hangout at Salazar in Silverlake for some tacos and mezcal -Dinner in Arcadia at Din Tai Fung Shopping Day -Start the day at La Colombe Coffee -Brunch at Republique -Shopping and visiting the SM promenade, Westfield Century City Mall and the Grove. -Pre-dinner snack at Father’s Office in Culver City for their iconic burger and beer selection -Dinner and drinks at Scopa Restaurant in Venice. Sunday Farmers Market -Start the day with a Soul Cycle class -Then go to Strings of Life on Melrose for their breakfast sandwich (pro tip, get the crispy potato and house made hot sauce) -Head to the Melrose Farmers Market and SM Farmers Market to pick up local produce -Dinner party at home with friends with the farmers market products we got earlier! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I know this is probably super cliche, but it’s my mom, Angela. She deserves a lot of credit and recognition to my career and story. She has supported all of my crazy ideas, decisions and career paths from day 1. She has given me the honest truth, encouragement and lots of love throughout my life. I have had a lot of ups and downs and she has stood by my side and was in the trenches with me every step of the way. Cheers to Angela!
Instagram: Personal IG @explorewithtaka – Business IG @takasan.co