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.
I perpetually have a hard time classifying my personal aesthetic, since I am drawn to all kinds of clothes, accessories, shoes, and looks. Color is always an important factor; I usually stick to shades of blue, red/pink, and neutrals. But one month I’ll find a certain pair of shoes, or even a whole style, distasteful, and the next month I’m dying for those shoes or a product that embodies that style. Maybe it’s the influence of a friend, a celebrity, a store, a blog, or just oodles of plain ol’ media coverage; each particular case is different. What my yo-yoing has taught me is to never dismiss a trend so readily. There is almost always a way to adapt it to your personal style, a way to make it your own.
In my recent Internet browsing, I’ve come across a few pieces that challenged my own tastes and made me contemplate if they would ever have a place in my closet. For example, I never thought I would like the look of snakeskin (and on any day, I’d opt for faux), but some distinct sea foam green Zara heels made me do a double take. And when I happened upon a minimal metal collar that probably would not fit around my neck, I stopped and realized that it was actually quite chic.
(Clockwise, from top left)
Slide Close Collar ($20), Need Supply Co.
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Roman Holiday ($24), NARS Cosmetics
Oasis Green Bracelet Watch ($36.59), ASOS
LOVE Magazine ($17.99), Need Supply Co.
Madewell Cableknit Crewneck Sweater in Heather Cloud ($98), Madewell
ASOS Square Shank Detail Ring with Fuschia Sphere ($14.64), ASOS
Deborah Lippman Nail Polish in Happy Birthday ($18), Beauty.com
Zara Snake Skin Court Shoe in Sea Green ($129), Zara
Topshop Eyes in Good as Gold ($14), Topshop
Betsey Johnson Snake Bangle Bracelet in Taupe ($75), Betsey Johnson
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencil in Morphine ($20), Beauty.com
American Apparel Egypt Tote ($16), American Apparel
(Photos, via respective store sites)