Innovation That Matters

Wise Words with Chiaki Hayashi

Wise Words

Chiaki Hayashi is the founder of FabCafe, a café in Shibuya that offers the use of a laser-cutting machine alongside a range of hot drinks.

Chiaki Hayashi is the founder of FabCafe, a café in Shibuya that offers the use of a laser-cutting machine alongside a range of hot drinks. Having received a BA in Commerce from Waseda University, followed by an MSc in Business Journalism from Boston University, Chiaki started her working life as a business reporter at Japanese news agency Kyodo News. She soon developed a taste for entrepreneurship and founded Loftwork Inc in 2000, a company that shares creative ideas from across the globe through an online platform. She has a particular interest in promoting creativity, and it was this focus that led her to set up FabCafe.

Based on the notion that a relaxing break in a café can prove fruitful for developing ideas, Chiaki fitted her wifi-equipped café with a laser-cutting machine, allowing customers to create 3D objects and engravings from their designs. We got in touch with Chiaki to find out more about FabCafe and what inspires and motivates her.

1. Where did the idea for FabCafe come from?

When I first used digital fabrication tools, such as a 3D printer and a laser cutter — at FabLab in Japan — I felt “This is something!” These instruments seemed like dream tools not only for creative people but for everyone. That’s why I decided to make a place where people can easily come and relax while enjoying making creative items. That is the origin of FabCafe.

2. Can you describe a typical working day?

My life is disciplined by my 11-year-old son. Morning begins at 6 am, and we have breakfast and do exercises. I usually arrive at the office around 9 am. Once I step in the office, the time flies! Countless meetings are usually set up until 8 pm, when I go home and enjoy cooking for my family.

3. How do you unwind or relax when you’re not working on FabCafe?

I’m pretty good at relaxing 🙂 Cooking with my family is a lot of fun. Japanese dumplings are one of my specialities. Also, I love driving. I recently bought a cute cabriolet, and weekend driving into the suburbs is pleasant. Flower arrangement is another pleasure for me in daily life. I visit a cosy flower shop every weekend, and arrange seasonal flowers in my rooms. They charm our eyes.

4. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?

There must be various types of successful entrepreneur. But I believe a “never give up” mind is essential. Making a dream come true is not easy. Especially, entrepreneurs have to face lots of difficulties and denials in the execution stage. But if they continue until the business takes off, they will have become a successful entrepreneur.

5. What motivates you to keep going?

People around me. My friends, my staff, and my family. They are so inspiring and wonderful. They always give me the power to keep motivated and step forward.

6. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I have no idea. I’m kind of an intuitive person and follow my feelings. So I might do totally different things, or I might wish to do the same thing in the same way. We’ll see.

7. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?

I want to grow FabCafe as a global network. It would be great if we could have launched more than ten FabCafes in the world in five years, in Indonesia, San Francisco, Shanghai, London, Seoul and New Delhi. All FabCafes will be networked and visitors can share their creativity.

8. If you weren’t working on FabCafe, what would you be doing?

As I’m a believer of “open innovation,” I might be starting another business that inspires people and enhances sharing culture. But I guess I would be starting my own business again.

9. Tell Springwise a secret…

A secret…this is the most difficult question to answer. Well, people around me believe I love working. I do love working, but I’m secretly planning to escape from my work and travel the world with my darling. Dear Springwise, please keep this dream secret 🙂

10. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?

The world is generous enough to embrace every challenge of ours. So just follow your hearts, and let’s live our lives. Happiness doesn’t exist in the past, nor in the future — I believe it only exists now.

You can read more about FabCafe in our article here or visit the FabCafe website here.