There are so many stories, experiences, and lessons that add up to create a small business. From inception to execution, running a small business is no easy feat. Like most things in life, it’s rarely straightforward, often circuitous, and especially during challenging times like these, not without its risks. But KIM+ONO was founded on family and built to bring a little luxury to your every day, and as we’ve grown over the years, the stories and lessons have added up into an enduring spirit and devotion to our family behind the scenes and our family of customers.
So today in the journal, we’re pulling back the curtain on some of the most important numbers in our business and how they’ve added up to the small family-run operation you see today. Transparency is one of our guiding principles, and highlighting these behind the scenes looks into where we’ve come from and where we’ve going is part of that. We hope by digging a little deeper into our story, you’ll see how beautiful and integral you’ve been to it. We love our community and are so grateful for how it has grown around the common ideals of sisterhood, self care, and tradition. Here’s our business by the numbers:
The Tam family has been sourcing traditional products from Asia for four decades. Tiffany and Renee’s parents started their business when their mother was pregnant with Tiffany. That means the two sisters were there right from the beginning and were first allured by kimonos as little girls. Together with their parents, they spent weeks visiting silk villages, meeting with vendors, artisans, and other craftsmen who have been preserving the art of kimonos for generations. Launching first as a small boutique in Chinatown under the name Old Shanghai, to its recent transformation into KIM+ONO, the business has evolved and grown to craft luxury modern kimono robes. No matter how the business has changed, family tradition has been the common thread.
As little girls, Tiffany and Renee went almost every day to help their parents at their store. Chinatown was like their second home. A generation later, family is still at the heart of this business and it’s their sisterhood that fuels their vision for what KIM+ONO is today. Renee Tam serves as CEO of KIM+ONO, as well as running online operations & overseas production management. When thinking back to her childhood and what image sticks with her the most, Renee says this, “Our parents working 12 hours a day to support the family. When my parents first opened their business in 1980, my mom was pregnant with Tiffany and she worked everyday until labor.” She saw the qualities that brought a successful business to fruition in her mother’s action and her father’s advice. He told her that when owning your own business, you need “dedication, persistence, hard work.” Tiffany Tam serves as CCO of KIM+ONO, as well as handling retail operations, overseeing social marketing and taking on the creative lead when building this brand for the modern woman. From every detail of their kimono shop to the way we communicate our message, Tiffany is the engine of creativity at the company. That said, when thinking about the company they’ve built, Tiffany says, “[I think about] the partnership that I have with Renee - how grateful I am for this opportunity to run a business with my sister and best friend.”
We know that the modern woman needs a women’s kimono robe that moves with her throughout her day. And we also know that women aren’t a monolith! You need different materials for different days and different periods of your life. It’s that experience from our own lives that have driven the diversification of our materials. We offer 100% Silk, Washable Silk, and Charmeuse. Our 100% silk kimono robes, whether a maxi kimono robe or shorter length, are soft, luxurious, and meant to delight your senses. The lightweight material has a gentle and fluid drape. Our Washable Silk collection is that same softness with a stronger silk fiber that can stand up to gentle washing. And our Charmeuse women’s kimono robes are a lightweight, soft charmeuse-polyester blend that can also be washed gently. Our hope is that each one can bring a little luxury in their own way to your day.
While it started in the family, our business has extended to ten employees, each adding in their own special ways to our story. From order processing, customer service, operations, to attending our kimono shop, and more, our team is the engine behind the work we do. We believe in hard work and play, strive to stay balanced, and always learn from each other (and our customers!) to keep our evolution going.
We have sold to over 15 countries worldwide and continue to grow. Across the globe, these modern kimono robes are bringing a little bit of self care and comfort to our customers and we love to see them from coast to coast and around the world.
Our flagship kimono shop on Grant Avenue in Chinatown, San Francisco, is a place to take a deep breath, find something special that speaks to you, and get re-grounded. From incense to essential oils, from tea to bath bombs, and from maxi kimono robes to crystals, there’s a little something for everyone at our store. Our kimono shop is our second home. And we hope it becomes yours, too!
When Tiffany found lumps in both sides of her breasts, it became such a scary and stressful time. She says, “I felt my whole world spiraling out of control. As I sat in the hospital room awaiting my test results, stress and fear consumed me. I was wearing a crusty cotton gown over my body, and the thought that I could lose both of my breasts, made me feel alone and stripped of my identity. I wanted so badly to feel like myself again… it wouldn’t eliminate my pain but wrapping myself in a kimono robe would have at least brought me a sense of comfort and femininity.” Tiffany goes on to say, “The depth of sadness felt by women going through this experience is so real, so raw. If I can help uplift you during this process, even just a little bit, then that is my mission. This has strengthened our vision of being more than just a kimono company. Our mission is to help make more women like you feel how you truly are — strong and beautiful.” Because of Tiffany’s very personal experience, she was inspired to give back in a way she hoped would be impactful in women’s lives at the moment when they need the most tenderness and care: during their treatments. So KIM+ONO teamed up with the American Cancer Society to donate over 500 kimono robes and bring a little kimono fashion to women going through treatment for breast cancer. The hope is to bring some ease, femininity, and comfort to a time that can feel overwhelming.
Our modern kimono robes are such special pieces that can really transform the way you feel in your own skin. When you wear one of these kimonos it feels like the ultimate act of self love. Renee says, “I love that a kimono can evolve with your life… from a luxurious daily wrap to a bridal robe, to a nursing robe and ultimately to a timeless statement piece.” Over time they become family heirlooms that you’ve stitched your own story into. Our mission at KIM+ONO is to help people feel good about themselves, no matter who you are. When you slip into a kimono robe, the confidence you feel is almost immediate. You feel beautiful. We’re excited to share that feeling with others. If we can make you feel empowered with what we do, well then that hits us right in the heart.