A Sister Duo’s Kimono Business Thrives In San Francisco’s Chinatown

Chinese-American sisters Tiffany and Renee Tam launched Kim+Ono, a company that sells exclusively silky kimonos of Japanese origin with a modern aesthetic to time-honored traditions, and create our own contemporary design.

Their parents had been selling traditional handcrafted pieces in their own shops but the sisters wanted to rebrand for Old Shanghai and bring the kimono that they loved from childhood to the forefront of the brand. 

It was perfect timing when a different space down the block from their parents’ shop in Chinatown was becoming available when they were planning the rebranding. They’ve launched their store on Grant Avenue in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the spring of 2018 and the community has been so welcoming. About 80% of their clients are tourists and 20% are locals. 

The business also faced some hardships during the pandemic that the store was forced to close down due to restrictions, so they switched to selling online to keep the business afloat.

The Chinatown Merchants Association was a huge help in driving traffic back to the neighborhood through their Walkway Weekends program when the Covid restrictions were lifted. They closed down a few blocks on Grant Avenue and held different festivities and performances to invite the community back.

According to the sisters, it’s refreshing to see younger generations of AAPI entrepreneurs and small businesses increasing, and bringing freshness and vitality to Chinatown SF while still keeping its traditions.