Review of Sancha – Japanese inspired sweet bakes made in Bournemouth
Sancha is a business born out of the Pandemic when owner Sam had to leave his much loved Japan to come home during Lockdown and his passion for the country and its cuisine and culture spilled over into this new business with Japanese inspired sweet bakes.
I asked Sam some questions to find out a little more about Sancha.
Question: How did Sancha start?
Answer: The idea for SANCHA came to me in February after a year of being unemployed and trying to find work in a new field that I had self-trained in (Graphic Design).
After countless rejections from design agencies and hitting rock-bottom (both emotionally and financially) the idea for a Japanese themed business came to me while I was fast asleep. I sprung awake and instantly knew that this was something worth pursuing and so I jotted it down on a piece of paper, as not to forget, and got to work developing recipes the very next day.
Initially I wanted to open a Japanese themed cafe or restaurant but with the pandemic making the future so uncertain and with very little money to my name it just didn’t seem feasible, so I decided to start SANCHA; ‘Western confectionery with a Japanese twist’ from my own home in the hope that I could gain a following and see if there were people just as passionate about Japanese culture and flavours.
I learned a lot about Japanese cuisine and culture from my time living in Tokyo, where I lived for almost 7 years and often hosted dinner parties for my close friends. Food has always been an integral part of my life both as a creative outlet and as a way to bring people together and celebrate. I treasure the memories that I have with my friends bonding over good food and drink and I hope I can instil that essence within SANCHA too. I have already brought a lot of joy to my customers in such a short space of time and that is the most fulfilling feeling of all for me when making premium quality products.
I’ve always been very creative and have a history in Fashion Design, Illustration and Product Design too and surprisingly making delicious cookies and cakes has been the easiest of all of these. I was quite the amateur baker and it had been a while since I had produced things to such a scale but I know that I can do anything I put my mind to and after hearing ‘no’ from so many directions over the past year, I really wanted to prove myself. Baking restored my confidence and was a way to cheer up myself and those around me.
Q: What do you currently sell and how can people buy your delicious products?
A: I am currently working on increasing my product range but it’s difficult to get in the kitchen and experiment when I have many orders to fulfil and with all the admin involved with starting a business. Currently though I offer cookies in four fantastic flavours: Matcha and Belgian White Chocolate, Strawberry and Belgian White Chocolate, ‘Kinako’ and Belgian Milk Chocolate and lastly, Black Sesame and Pink Himalayan Salt. I am dying to get in the kitchen to trial some other flavours that I have in mind too!
I also produce an item of my own invention called a ‘cookie-roon’ which is a half-cookie-half-macaron creation. These are basically cookie sandwiches with a macaron type chew that are filled with a deliciously soft and creamy, Italian Swiss Meringue Buttercream. These have proved to be very popular and are available at Saffron in the Westbourne Arcade.
Lately, I am also experimenting with miniature loaf cakes. I’m a huge fan of incorporating Japanese ingredients and flavours however I can so I look forward to getting into the kitchen and coming up with some great recipes for these soon.
I currently have 2 regular stockists: Almond&Co and Saffron both located in Westbourne. I have also done a pop-up in The Pot Shop too and am in talks with some potential stockists in Wimborne that have tried my samples and are keen to stock SANCHA.
I hope to extend my reach and network with other stockists that would be interested in stocking such a unique and luxury item so if anyone has places in mind that they feel would be a great fit then I would love to hear from them.
I also sell on Etsy and will increase my product range on there soon but this has been a fantastic way of me being able to connect with customers all over the UK as I offer nation-wide delivery too through this platform.
Q: I spotted that you have done a popup or two… What do you hope to build Sancha into?
A: Whenever I do something, I put my entire heart and soul into it and will always give it 150%. I have many aspirations with SANCHA and people say that I’m an ambitious dreamer but I am not afraid to admit that I am reaching for the stars with this.
First of all, I am very interested in working on collaborations with other passionate artisans through SANCHA. I’m currently working on an exciting collaboration with a soap maker (Dorset Corner) where we plan to release a range of soaps inspired by Japanese scents and ingredients that already seem to be a hit with my following.
Working with other people on similar projects keeps the creative juices flowing for me and making unique and one-of-a-kind products is what I live for. I hope to infuse SANCHA into any product that I put my mind to, if you’re interested in new and exciting projects then my brand will definitely be one to keep an eye on.
With regards to where I would like to take my brand, I hope that SANCHA will be a prominent and thriving business that can extend its’ reach to other cities on the South coast and eventually make its’ way to London. If there is a way that I can get SANCHA across to Japan and have fans and customers there then that would be the achievement of a lifetime.
I would love to open a cafe or even a restaurant some day, I have plenty of ideas but resources are few and far between so I will just take things step by step for now and hope that people are just as excited about this journey as I am. I certainly am not able to do this without the support of my wonderful customers.
Most of all though, I hope I can touch people with my creations, bring a bit of joy through something bold and unique and hopefully educate and inform people about Japanese culture and customs. Japan has brought a lot of happiness to me throughout my life and I would similarly love to share that joy through my craft.
I was kindly gifted a mixed box of cookies from Sancha to try for myself and these little treats are delicious! My personal favourite is the black sesame and pink Himalayan salt cookies. I loved the extra crunch of the sesame seeds and the flavour added to the sweetness of the cookies.
If you would like to get your hands on these tasty Japanese inspired sweet treats than you can find Sam on Instagram
or via his website – www.sancha.co.uk
Sancha features on our searchable Directory
of over 550 Dorset based food and drink businesses.
Photos by Heather Brown
. Heather was gifted one mixed box of cookies.