Will You Coffee Me, Puno? | The Pie Hole, Los Angeles, CA

She said, “Yes.”

She’s ephemeral. In a social climate where screens are faces, perhaps one shouldn’t be surprised that a true connection can be made through a glass that’s as fragile as, well…glass.

The old fashioned way of meeting, face to face, has new playing terms but the intention remains as aged as ever: human connection.

Sounding out at just two syllables, Pu-No gives reality a nice surprise; she is real as she shares. A wife, co-founder of the communal place MAP, founder of ilovecreatives and a lover of the over-sized – in clothes and emotion – we have a lot in common. So when I asked, ‘Will You Coffee Me?’ I was happy that the question followed with an affirmative.

We meet on a sunny afternoon in Downtown L.A. Why. Because its near her home, its a cultural hotbed of creativity and home to The Pie Hole, a coffee and pie establishment that is about as sweet as she.

Our interview occurs over pie and horchata lattes just about an hour after noon. And the conversation begins as if we’ve been speaking on three subjects to start and all at once.

c.: When do you like to have your first coffee of the day? That’s if you drink a coffee every day.

p.: 11 AM or right after lunch.

c.: Do you have a default coffee drink? I promise I won’t be mad if you tell me it’s the horchata latte?

p.: Dirty Chai Tea Latte with Almond Milk, French Press Black or Ice Coffee Black. She laughs.  But I sure do love an Horchata from Pie Hole. It’s so good!

c.: I know that you’re a home coffee drinker, I’ve seen the insides of your living space before. Can you share your current home coffee set up.

p.: At home, we have a Kone Brewing System, hand grinder, and an electric kettle. Daniel always makes sure we have some fresh beans from Stumptown available.

c.: Daniel [ her husband and Map co-founder] is a good guy.

p.: Yea he is. You have to try so many things to be fulfilled. Our generation is slashies and I think it’s because of the internet.

c.: What do you mean?

p.: The internet allows you to pick up new skills in a second. Everyone can try new jobs so there’s a period where you’re experimenting and you’re juggling all these things at the same time.

c.: How do you manage it all; you’re a slashie yourself?

p.: It’s all about time and the investment. I was reading a book recently and it said there’s three jobs everyone has, the first is 100 percent a job and not fulfilling and it pays the bills; the second is fifty percent fulfilling and doesn’t pay any money; job three is one hundred percent fulfilling and doesn’t pay any money.  but eventually job two become the first job and the last job will become the first. The goal is not to worry, worrying is a waste of time. You can never worry less.

c.: How do you not worry less, when there’s so much to think about?

p.: You can’t plan. Don’t spend time planning. Its now about what can I do tomorrow, it’s not about next week.

c.: You’re so direct Puno! Do you think you have this inherent knowing when it comes what will work?

p.: I haven’t done enough. There is not enough experience knowing if I like it or not. I don’t know what I’m going to do in five years because I need to keep doing.

c.: Now, I do love that. Just keep doing! Since there’s so much unknown, what has been your biggest surprise in your journey of being a creative.

p.: All of the past two years. We had savings and we were comfortable. I didn’t have to worry about making money from the things I created – the business part of it. We told ourselves to think about it later. I can’t say what would have been a better choice. Everything we do, we’re like is it going to make money. Either that or I’d have to freelance more.  So, everything we do, we’re asking can we make money; we’re now thinking about value and sustainability and worth.

c.: Those are two very, very important ideas for an entrepreneur.

p.: The best part about being a boss is you make the decision. The worst thing is you have to figure out how to be sustaining.

c.: Are you beginning to figure that out?

p.: Seven months ago, ilovecreatives was started with Eva Goicochea of The Boffin Society. ilovecreatives shows me I’m a connector. The interesting part about that is I have a platform – its for the slashies, for the people that need tools and marketing and community and events.

I hacked Squarespace and put together the site. People can buy ads and advertise.  Daniel and I are also working on another tool – one to help Instagrammers build community and be more purposeful in their engagement.

c.: How does your mind work to do it all?

p.: I know what I don’t’ want to do. I don’t want a box. I don’t want it; I’ll do whatever I can so that I’m not in a box.

c.: Was MAP part of that ‘whatever I can’ mentality.

p.: Daniel and I love online tools. We went on our honeymoon to Thailand. She smiles.  When we came back we searched the Internet– before being on Instagram  – for a way to save photos on a map. I’m a very visual person and tried a lot of online tools. They didn’t have the style of photography that I liked or the workflow. And, it wasn’t social. So, we said, lets make exactly what we want to do.

c.: And Octoplace – the name prior to MAP – was born.

p.: Yes. I had two options when I got on Instagram. Do we make a product that fits Instagram or do we find a new market? We decided to make it on Instagram and to make it about any place so that it can be about anything that has a place or location.

c.: Map being about more than the people, but a community is a beautiful thing to catalog.

p.: Our community is the soul of the project. I remember the day when I changed from being Octoplace to Map. I told my friends, ‘we’re MAP, we’re about any place and that’s how I’m going to market it.’ I had clarity, I had direction, but it was a whole year of not that before.

c.: You set out to make something and did. Then you needed to almost make it again. How hard was that?

p.: You’re mainly battling yourself all the time, your own expectations for yourself, especially on taste and high standards – your worries and your fears. Its hard to teach taste, but we made a mood board and a don’t mood board and held ourselves to some standards.

c.: Once you did, what about ‘MAP’ then inspired you?

p.: I just got the goosies. The community. We hadn’t thought about that part, that Map would become a community.

c.: Coffee plays a big role in the community of MAP. People love mapping coffee shops and coffee culture? Why do you think that that is?

p.: That’s a great question! Coffee is a daily ritual for most people. With the 3rd wave of coffee, there’s now an appreciation to the cup and culture surrounding it, from the bean to the barista to the cup to the cafe. It’s a simple pleasure that many like-minded people seek and love to share.

c.: How important has coffee been to building a creative community for yourself and your brand?

p.: I meet up for coffee with a new person almost once a week. Coffee is a big part of that! It’s amazing how many of these conversations have led to some kind of collaboration or pivot in my own journey.

c.: Where is one place that coffee isn’t. that you would like to be able to find it?

She laughs.

p.: In my empty container where the coffee is supposed to be.

c.: Is there one coffee shop on your map list that you haven’t visited yet that you want to go to like stat?

p.: Oh yes.  So many, but currently Cafe Auto in Copenhagen or Pate Pate.

Lets go. And map it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *