Family stories are as unique as the rings on a majestic oak tree: every layer builds upon the one that came before it. Whether your family is small or large, close together or far apart, taking the time to reconnect to your family story can be a rewarding experience. This can be as simple as tracing your family’s origin back a few generations. It can also be as detailed as researching each and every family member’s journey. No two family stories are quite the same. And whether your family is biological or chosen, reconnecting to your family story is bound to reveal insight into how your personal path in life has played out the way it has so far.
Today in the journal, we’re going to dive into the family story of our co-founders, sisters Renee and Tiffany Tam. At KIM+ONO, heritage is at the center of everything we do. Family has been at the center of our business since the very beginning: for three decades, the business has remained family owned and operated. Keep reading to learn more about Renee and Tiffany’s family story, as well as how their story manifests itself in the design and craftsmanship of our luxury silk robes.
As young girls, sisters Renee and Tiffany were fascinated by the beauty of kimonos. Their interest was sparked at an early age. 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. Love for the beauty and symbolism of traditional Japanese kimono became an integral part of Renee and Tiffany’s childhood.
These foundational experiences made quite the impression on the Tam sisters. In fact, these experiences became the backdrop for the transformation of what started as their family’s small boutique in Chinatown called Old Shanghai. Later in life, Renee and Tiffany would have a clear vision for how they wanted to grow and evolve the family business into the KIM+ONO brand today.
The sisters’ vision for the family business has always been rooted in a deep appreciation for the art of kimonos. As they grew older, they became more involved in the family business, eventually taking it over in 2004. At this point, Renee and Tiffany knew they wanted to create beautiful, everyday kimonos that married timeless techniques with a modern aesthetic. We do not “replicate” traditional kimono; instead, KIM+ONO kimono robes are inspired and influenced by the rich Japanese kimono history behind these traditional garments.
The sisters’ vision, combined with family heritage and lived experience with authentic kimono, makes KIM+ONO what it is today. Our mission is to bring more beauty into the world in each and every design, and to breathe more beauty into your everyday. Renee and Tiffany built onto their family story by writing the next chapter and making it one of empowerment. The dream is that our kimono robes make you feel like the most confident, versatile, and empowered version of you.
Let’s dive into how each of our three silk collections call upon facets of Renee and Tiffany’s family story, both past and present.
Our Handpainted Silk Collection is quite special amongst all of our kimono robes because of how intricate and intensive the process is to create them. Like every kimono pattern of ours, these are designed in house in San Francisco by Tiffany and Renee. Family heritage and vintage Asian art serve as the inspiration. Once the original pattern is created, the kimono robes are then handcrafted in China’s Silk Village by the same family of artisans we’ve been partnering with for decades. First, the designs are sketched by hand. Next, the sketch is finalized and the kimono is saturated in rich watercolors using a traditional paintbrush.
Tiffany and Renee’s family story is beautifully intertwined with that of the Silk Village artisans they’ve worked with for many years. And it’s not just the handpainted silk kimono robes that are thoughtfully crafted. Keep reading to learn about our Printed Silk Collection too.
Our Printed Silk Collection offers the luxury of silk without the care necessary to preserve our beautiful handpainted designs. The kimono craftsmanship observed by Renee and Tiffany as young girls comes into play again with our collection of printed silk kimono robes. The designs are all created in house, sketched by hand and then finalized into a print that is then seamlessly applied to lightweight silk. Soft and breathable with a fluid drape, this collection is made of 100% silk fabric. In fact, both the handpainted and printed silks are dreamily lightweight at 16mm.
In this collection—as in all of our collections—the beauty of botanicals take center stage. And in a nod to Renee and Tiffany’s Chinese and Japanese culture roots, the botanic symbolism behind every silk floral robe is thoughtfully and intentionally chosen. For example, the lotus flower symbolizes good luck and fortune, a sentiment we wish to share with our customers. This is one way that we keep you in mind while designing KIM+ONO kimono robes, but it’s not the only way.
We also keep in mind that some folks yearn for the luxury and softness of silk, but need pieces that are practical and easy to care for. Enter: the Washable Silk Collection. You can gently wash these at home, and we suggest you place it in a delicates laundry bag and using cold water on the gentle cycle. In our opinion, the best silk robe is the one that you’ll personally get the most use out of!
One question we get a lot is, what’s the difference between the material of your washable silk and your other silk kimono robes? Here’s the answer: the difference is the weave of the silk. The Washable Silk Collection is made of luxurious 22mm silk fabric that’s soft and breathable. It’s just a bit heavier than our handpainted and printed silks, which weigh in at 16mm. Some of our most popular designs are offered in our Washable Silk Collection. And with families of their own, Renee and Tiffany understand that ease and practicality are things we can all use!
We hope that we’ve illustrated how our family story is stitched into every one of our kimono robes. Our wish for you is that each time you wear a piece from us, you feel inspired to reconnect with your unique family story too.