Daniel Yoshimi and Jennifer Yannella, Brasil Arts Café

Thanks to Women’s Economic Ventures for this story!

danielyoshimiandjenniferyannellabrasilartscafeBrasil Arts Café
Bringing Brazilian culture to Santa Barbara through authentic food, dance fitness, and live music.
Location: 1230 State St Suite C, Santa Barbara 93101
Established: May 2013

What prompted you to start your business?

In 2008 we returned from Brazil and realized there was no Brazilian restaurant in town. At the time we lived with our great friend who is a Brazilian chef and we thought that since we already had the Capoeira studio we could add a small juice bar with Brazilian appetizers and sandwiches. Unfortunately, the Tea Fire happened causing us to lose everything and rebuild from the ground up, but our idea was turning into a dream. In 2010 Jennifer’s father was diagnosed with kidney disease and couldn’t work anymore. On a car ride home one day Jennifer and her dad were talking about this old idea and then the “bing” went off, as he decided he wanted to invest. We decided to go for it, took WEV’s Self-Employment Training Course, and completed our business plan! Staying motivated, we gathered investments, saved money, and turned our dream into a reality.

What aspect of your business are you most passionate about?

That we feed people healthy and organic food, and introduce their palate to something they haven’t had here in Santa Barbara. We’ve always wanted a restaurant in town that has many healthy options especially for our kids.

We also love that the studio in the back offers a true cultural experience as soon as you walk in the door. We like to be different and we are excited about the fact that we pump up the diverse and cultural centers here in town.

What role did WEV play in the opening of your business?

WEV helped us to create goals that were attainable, with a plan to accomplish them. Without WEV I think we could have drifted off to many paths, so it helped keep us focused and organized. We made many connections and every day find out about more people who are part of the WEV community.

What specific goals have you set and achieved as a business owner? What goals will you conquer next?

The fact that we opened this business is a huge achievement. It was a long and rocky road to start but it prepared us for the challenges we face throughout the months.

We of course want to keep this business running smoothly, but would also like to open more just like this!

What has been your most surprising lesson in business?

Cash flow in the business and personally. We have learned how to prepare for the slow months.

Please describe if/how YOU have helped WEV, as well as list other WEV clients you’ve worked with.

We are always spreading the word about the program and how it helped us to acheive our goals. We work with Ethnic breads and Axxess–it seems like every successful small business we work with has been connected to WEV at some point.

Do you have any upcoming events?

Yes. Every Friday we have live music, and the first Thursday of the month we are part of the 1st Thursday art walk and feature Brazilian artists, perform Capoeira, and hand out samples.

Click here to see the special events we host each month.

What advice do you offer others who might want to start their own business?

Make sure you have a good idea! Always have a plan B, C, D… Always remember why you are doing it and let that be your motivation!