Throwback to when you crossed paths in college: what was your first impression of each other?
Syun Hattori: Since it was almost 10 years ago, I honestly don’t remember, but we got along because we were in the same rock band which lasted four years. I played guitar and he was on drums.
Izzat Iskandar: I do remember thinking Syun stood out due to his sense of style; he did not really look like a college student, more like a rock star.
Having known each other for a while, how do your working styles complement each other?
Izzat: It is my style to prioritise practicality, workflow, logic, numbers, and facts. Syun tackles aesthetics, intuition, and the creative side of things. We are like the left brain working in tandem with the right brain for a body (our business) to function properly.
How long has Niko Neko Matcha been operating, both as a B2C and a B2B?
Hattori: We've always been a B2C brand since 2014, and explored B2B not long after due to the demand and inquiries about matcha powder from other businesses. We saw the untapped potential of Japanese green tea in Malaysia's F&B scene. With so much specialty coffee around, why not an artisanal matcha brand?
What was the driving force for Niko Neko Matcha to open its own café in Bangsar?
Izzat: The café side of our concept store allows us to set a whole new standard for matcha experiences.
Opening a physical concept store was crucial; customers can now have the full experience of what Niko Neko Matcha has to offer as the finest matcha provider in Malaysia.
The space serves as an educational platform for our customers and a training ground for our B2B clients; it also helps to spark both parties' interest in matcha culture and heritage.