There’s no better feeling than finding products you love and knowing you can feel good about how they are being produced. Not only are we living in an increasingly complicated world in terms of climate change and the human impact on our environment, but we’re also living through a reawakening of our own humanity through social justice movements from anti-racism to feminism and more. So as our team at KIM+ONO continues to contribute to this ever evolving world, we wanted to give you a peek behind the curtain to understand our values and how they show up in the sustainability and ethics of our products. We want you to feel good every time you slip into one of our silk kimono robes, and knowing a bit about the intention behind the business can make it even more luxurious.
As a company founded by two sisters who happen to be women of color, the transparency of everything we do is integral. Our values guide us to share how we make business decisions, including pricing and material selection. They guide us to think intentionally about how our business impacts the environment as well as our immediate neighborhood and community. We hope that this breakdown of our sustainability and ethics practices makes you feel even more taken care of each and every time you slip into your favorite kimono fashion.
Our values guide us in…
If you’ve been following along for any amount of time, you have already met our makers. These artisans are incredible folks who employ timeless techniques to handcraft each and every kimono style we offer. As the global environment shifts (especially with international shipping during the pandemic), we have worked hard to keep providing the same level of quality in every product we make. As the needs and demands of the handcrafted production process changes due to increased demand, new styles, and international shipping challenges, we will always accept our producers’ price increases in order to support a spacious, non-smoking, healthy work environment for our artisans. As business grows, often so do the obstacles, but one thing we will never forego is our artisans' health and safety. We are a people-centered family business and we know that our artisans and employees are the most important part of what we do. We will always accept price increases so that our team is taken care of and can do their work in environmentally safe and healthy spaces.
We know that it’s important for everyone to do their part to reduce the amount of plastic we use. According to the journal of Science, between 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year. And that data was shared in 2015, with an expected increase of great magnitude by 2025. While we need big business to get on board with the reduction of plastic, our small business is committed to doing our part as well. We have used plastic frosted bags in the past for our online shop to pack up everything from men’s kimono robes to plus size kimono robes, but we are reducing our plastic usage and moving to cotton bags instead to reduce our footprint. Our brick and mortar store already uses paper, and we are committed to finding new ways we can reduce the use of plastic from our warehouse to our storefront.
If Covid taught us anything, it’s that we’re always stronger when we stand together. Whether it’s standing up for racial justice, showing up for our neighbors in our greatest time of need, or celebrating our customers, we are committed to putting our money where our hearts are. We have given back to a variety of organizations — NAACP, Project Nia, and SF New Deal — just to name a few. We have designed our kimono styles to add a little bit of luxury to your everyday life, and there are fundamentals that need to be in place for you to truly be able to slow down, take a deep breath, and relax. So whenever and wherever we can, we’re contributing to organizations large and small that offer support to marginalized groups and communities who need our love and support now more than ever.
You may not be aware of the team behind the brand, but our family run business is a small team of ten! What started out as an idea has grown into a business we can be proud of, and that’s because of our small but mighty team who rolls up their sleeves and gives their best every day. We couldn’t do it without each other, and a positive, safe, anti-racist, and collaborative work environment is the engine that drives us. We value collaboration, integrity, and kindness. We hope every interaction you have with our team, whether it’s a Customer Experience team member or a Sales Associate at our brick and mortar kimono store, is a kind and thoughtful one. And that’s the precedent set by our internal work environment as well.
Some customers would like to learn more about our silk products as they decide whether to purchase 100% Silk or our silk-alternative Charmeuse instead. While silk may or may not be for you, here’s more background on the process: All of our silk kimono robes use Mulberry silk. Silkworm moths do not eat or drink in the final stage of their life cycle, they mate; the female lays her eggs and the adult moths die. The silk we use gets harvested right before they hatch into moths. While there is certainly a lot of information both for and against silk products, weighing whether our silk is more or less ethically made ultimately comes down to your personal beliefs. Some research has shown there is no pain or suffering for invertebrates because they don't have structures equivalent to vertebrate pain receptors. Additionally, we believe in ethical products, not just in terms of how it is produced, but also how it impacts the workers who produce it. Sericulture is a positive pathway for economic mobility and autonomy for workers in India and China, and most especially, for women. And as a female-owned and run business, that kind of opportunity for mobility is important to us as well.
As we undergo a communal awakening on many fronts, we hope this insight to our sustainability and ethics practices help you to better understand our business and feel even more amazing each time you slip into one of our kimono styles.