“lumi” boutique charms post street
Though the TenderNob is commonly known as being a static residential area, I find that the quaint cafés and specialized shops around are constantly reshaping its image. One evening a few weeks ago I spotted a promising new boutique near my apartment; though at the time I was unable to examine its sparkling treasures, I popped by last Wednesday to discover the bling within Lumi.
Located at 688 Post, the store’s proximity to Union Square is perfect for wandering tourists and residents alike, so it’s bound to be a local favorite in no time. With a modern Victorian vibe evoked by elaborate mirrors and graphic displays, Lumi offers assorted jewelry, home décor, and fun furniture minis. After graduating with a master’s degree in PR and Marketing, recent Kansas transplant Ruochen Qiu (who also goes by Rachel) decided to take a break from the academic life and set up shop in San Francisco. Though the 24-year-old originally called China home, she’s adjusted well to the city life.
Considering the nearby shop a valuable addition to the neighborhood’s changing atmosphere, I sat down with Ruochen to find out how the prime location, trendy bijoux, and elegant touches all came together.
Why did you decide to open this boutique?
I was living in Egypt for a year when I studied Arabic there. I got some connections with people who do some very cool stuff. [I was] just thinking about how I [could] help them out a little bit. [Their jewelry is] quite different from current styles here in the United States. I just wanted to see how people would like that.
So is this your dream job, having a jewelry boutique?
Something like that. My previous study was very academic, and I just figured I needed to stop. My family expected me to continue studying for a Ph.D. But I just wanted to stop that for awhile and I was thinking about what I really want and trying something really different. Cause my major previously was PR and Marketing and was more focused on the communication part. It’s not really business, something like this.
And why did you choose San Francisco?
I quite like the weather here, and also the whole city. It’s almost like a family city. People are really friendly. It’s kind of better than New York City.
Really? Better than New York City?
Yeah! That’s what I think.
Any reason why you chose the TenderNob for your shop location?
First thing is, it’s quite close to universities cause my stuff is very good for students. I’m not really doing something high-end. I just wanted to do something very cute and funny and interesting, but the price is reasonable. My target is for young people, college students, young girls, so that’s why I chose this area.
Where did the name “Lumi” come from?
Actually “Lumi” is [Finnish] and it means snowflake. I think snowflakes are really quite pretty, and because my birthday’s in winter, and I love snowflakes… and it’s kind of another decoration right?
And where do you find the merchandise that you sell in Lumi?
I purchase most of [the jewelry] overseas and I do help students who sell their products here. But most of my products are imported from different countries like from Egypt, Vietnam, and some mini-furniture from Europe.
What advice would you give to someone starting their own business?
I think the first thing they have to figure out is if they really want to start a new business. First they should figure out what areas [they] want to do, what they have a passion for. It’s better to make sure [you know some of the] detailed stuff that you’d never know before you really start a business. I think mostly important is passion. x
(Photo top left: Ruochen Qiu; top right, a display from Lumi; bottom photo, the shop’s sign)
(Photos, taken by and property of Mode and the Like)