Nana: Fashion has infinite possibilities, and new power is born from it. As a carrier of culture and times, fashion encompasses everything. From trendy to traditional culture, from celebrities, idols to everyone’s daily life, and from West to East, it is our discourse, our power, our time. Through Asian Voice, we hope to spread the local Asian fashion culture to the world by moving cross languages and borders.
In this issue of ASIAN VOICE, we are pleased to welcome Jennie Yoon, the founder of Kinn, an accessory brand based in LA. After experiencing an accident, Jennie Yoon had the opportunity to learn about the jewelry world and subsequently started her brand Kinn. The brand celebrates genuine and authentic relationships, which are treasures in everyone’s life. With these amazing relationships, we are never alone. This spirit of togetherness brings longevity and fortitude that will empower and inspire us for a lifetime. Celebrating tradition and creating modern heirlooms that will last a lifetime is at the heart of the Kinn brand.
Nana: What make you decide to build the brand and named it “Kinn”?Jennie Yoon: My family home was robbed and with it, my parent’s heirloom jewelry that had been passed down from my grandparents and great grandparents. In an effort to try and replace some of these pieces based off of old pictures, I journeyed to Downtown LA to recreate them on my own. Through this process, I ended up learning about the jewelry industry and the many ways it was outdated and not serving today’s consumer. The idea for Kinn was born and in 2017, we launched with our first pieces. Kinn was named after my mom’s maiden name, Kim, but got playful with the way that “m” was written. Then it all made sense with being ‘next of Kin’, and lastly ‘khum’ means gold in Korean. So this just stuck with me.
Nana: What does the brand value the most?Jennie Yoon: Real and authentic relationships and the integrity that comes with that. This plays in both our materials and our stories. We’re inspired by people and their stories and celebrating those moments. When you’re playing in a competitive industry, it’s easy to get carried away chasing numbers and lose sight of why you’ve started and the people that you’re building with. So without those relationships, it would just be such a lonely mountain that you’re climbing.
Nana: How do you come up with each collections? Is there a special way to get inspired?Jennie Yoon: Inspiration comes from everywhere and everyone. When I’m traveling, I get inspired by shapes, things at an antique store, or sometimes even architecture. But most importantly, I’m usually one of those people who likes to talk to strangers to learn about their life stories (usually over a really good wine or two). Along the way, some people talk about their vintage pieces and where they’re from and I’m inspired by their stories. Most of our pieces are named after a person, and it’s most likely that I’ve named it after the person I met.
Nana: Kinn’s unique hashtag #BeginyourTradition #CelebrateYourGeneration Kinn explains Kinn‘s unique beliefs, such as celebrating the uniqueness, the past, hoping to pass on the spirit as a family heirloom etc., How does Kinn incorporate those ideas into jewelry design?Jennie Yoon: Celebrating tradition and creating a modern heirloom that will last a lifetime is at the core of each one of our pieces. Our source of inspiration is vast however, we try to incorporate some of these beliefs and stories into various designs. For example, we launched our Dear Kaia III necklace to honor individual stories and heritage. This came from my own experience of changing my given name to something more westernized and the complicated repercussions that came along with that. The necklace, which comes in Korean, Chinese, or Japanese script, is a celebration of the many individuals who have had to do the same by honoring their roots. As we talked, I always get some inspirations from my work or trip. I will share the newest trending topics with my design team, then we will get together to brainstorm.
Nana: Kinn‘s accessories uncover women’s unique charm. What do you imagine a woman wearing Kinn to be like in your mind?Jennie Yoon: We imagine the woman wearing Kinn to be fearless. She is sure of who she is and is ambitious in the life she lives. She exudes confidence yet has an element of mystery to her. She’s had enough life experiences that allow her to honor her past but build a future reflective of her desires. She is modern and has her own sense of style, however believes in quality pieces to become the building blocks of her collection for years to come.
Nana: Can you give us the most memorable collaboration experience that Kinn has donebefore?Jennie Yoon: One of the most special collaborations we’ve done is our collection with Rachel Nosco. Rachel was a fan of the brand and has supported us since the very early days. When she got engaged, we were honored that she thought of Kinn and brought us into the design process. Our relationship had so much synergy that we decided to create a collection together. It was such a natural evolution and something that is so special to us.
Nana: Can you tell us about some of the most challenging experiences you have had in the process of building your brand?Jennie Yoon: Navigating through the uncertain economic landscape. Since launch, there have been many external factors that played a role. Building from the ground up is challenging as is, but when you’re trying to build on a new frontier, there aren’t always existing benchmarks there to guide you or use as a point of reference. You essentially have to be your own north star as you continue to grow and evolve.
Nana: Do you have any advice for our readers who are seeking to find a way to start their own business just like you?Jennie Yoon: Start somewhere. No one knows everything going into business but if you keep an open mind and an observant eye, you can pave your own way.
You can pave your own way.