Taking Care of Our Elders in Chinatown, San Francisco

As we come up to Thanksgiving and the end of the year, we are once again taking stock of all the things we’re grateful for — but perhaps highest and most important on our gratitude list is you, lovely, our community. We have seen many ups and downs in the past two years. As a small family business, operating both online and through our brick and mortar kimono store in Chinatown, the impact of the pandemic has been felt on our whole ten person team. From managing childcare to isolation to re-entering society and pivoting (several times over!) as a business, our team has relied on each other, and on you, to get through the challenging times we’ve all faced. That’s why community is so important. In the midst of everything, the folks in your community are the ones you can depend on for support. 


The love and support we’ve received this past year has touched us deeply. We are moved by you, lovely. And your continued support of our small business has allowed us to turn our attention outwards, beyond ourselves and the business of kimono fashion, and into our beautiful community here in San Francisco. In so many communities across the country, senior citizens can be easily forgotten or devalued. While it’s a larger problem that our team wouldn’t be able to fix at the highest level, it is something we can address in our own backyard. So with the support we’ve received from our customers, we have sent that love back out into the community with an initiative that takes care of our elders. Today on the journal, we’re sharing a little more about it: 

KIM+ONO Kimono Store
Photo by Andrea Posadas
 
Chinatown, SF: The Home of our Kimono Store

Co-founders and sisters Renee and Tiffany Tam grew up in SF Chinatown. During their years growing up here, family was always important as they were also raised by their dear grandmothers. Their life in this neighborhood was informed by the intergenerational bonds forged in their everyday lives. Chinatown has always been like a second home to the Tam sisters. When asked why they chose to open a kimono store in Chinatown, they said, “Honestly we couldn’t imagine opening it anywhere else. This is the community that we grew up in and love, it has supported our family for generations, so we wanted to bring something new to this community.” While KIM+ONO is a brand of modern kimono fashion that brings silk robes to folks in SF and beyond, the kimono store was always envisioned as a wellness hub for the sisters’ second home in Chinatown. While the store had to close during the pandemic, it was with the support from our community that allowed us to re-open the store seven days a week and reconnect with the neighbors (and visitors!) we so love. 

KIM+ONO Kimono Store
Photo by Andrea Posadas
 
Meeting the Chinatown Footbeat

As soon as the sisters opened the storefront in 2018 and began to welcome visitors into their kimono store to shop for women’s robes, they were encouraged and supported by a handful of officers from the SFPD. They noted, “Throughout all of these years in Chinatown, we’ve never seen such a passionate group of footbeat officers who are present, put in 110%, and care so much about our community in making it a safer and better place.” The sisters took notice of how the Chinatown Footbeat — Officers William Ma, Loren Chiu, Philip Leung, Dexter Tsang — were taking care of the elders in the neighborhood, and knew they wanted to be a part of this important work.

 
SFPD Chinatown Footbeat
 
An Initiative to Support Elders in Our Chinatown Community

As our neighbors and families age, taking care of each other becomes more and more important. That’s why when we found out about an initiative to help seniors in our community, we jumped at the chance to join in. Four members of the SFPD Chinatown Footbeat — Officers William Ma, Loren Chiu, Philip Leung, Dexter Tsang — saw elderly folks with memory-related illnesses in our community getting lost and not being able to find their way home. These elders would often become disconnected from their homes and loved ones and not know how to get back. The officers would run into them and do their best to help get them home, and that’s when they took it upon themselves to create an initiative that gifts custom name tag necklaces or bracelets containing home addresses and information to local elderly folks with memory-related illnesses. In the event folks get lost, with these custom tags, the community can get them home.

KIM+ONO Kimono Store
 
Our Gift to Help Our Elders

We were so moved by this initiative, so we were grateful to gift $5000, supplying custom tags to our eldery community in Chinatown. This gift was only made possible because we were able to keep our online kimono fashion shop open throughout the pandemic. While silk robes are beautiful pieces of luxury everyone deserves to wear, they do more than wrap up you in a little luxury — they allow us to give back to our community in ways that truly make a difference. We are truly grateful for these officers of the Chinatown Footbeat who have made a positive impact in our community, and it’s an honor to partner with them to make this initiative that is so near and dear to us happen.

The end of the year is always a beautiful time for us. We love to take stock of all the ways, big and small, that these modern women’s robes that we create bring our community together. Whether it’s stopping into our kimono store to say hello, gifting a beautiful silk robe to a friend, or knowing your purchases will always give back, we are so grateful for all the ways you help us build a beautiful community based on kindness, respect, and compassion. That is truly priceless. Thank you, lovely, for supporting our small family business all year long, so we can continue to support these important causes right in our own neighborhood. 

We know we’re always stronger when we stand together, and we are so grateful to stand with this initiative started by the Chinatown Footbeat, and you.

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