Yunomi Tea Merchant
Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Ian made his first solo trip off the island when he set off to Brown University determined to become an astronomer. Sleeping through his first year courses in quantum mechanics and linear algebra, he discovered Japanese authors Haruki Murakami and Yasunari Kawabata.
Much to the chagrin of his parents (who had hopes he would become an engineer), Ian set off on the Philosopher’s Path in 1999, immersing himself in the culture and society of Japan. His in-depth knowledge and appreciation for the culture of Japan (as well as his Hawaiian background) has opened many doors in the Japanese tea world—one of Japan’s most traditionally closed industries—forming the foundation of Yunomi.
Ian began consulting for Japanese tea companies in 2010 beginning Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms, and eventually establishing Matcha Latte Media KK as a e-commerce consultancy, and Yunomi.life as a service aggregating tea-related clients under one umbrella brand. In 2014, Ian took the company through Open Network Lab, Tokyo’s most established accelerator program taking on venture capital investment to explore Yunomi as a marketplace platform.