Portland-based jewelry designer and creator of Fresh Tangerine, Kim Kogane, recently migrated north and now calls Seattle home. Her work is delicate, feminine and youthful. I visited her studio/shop in Pioneer Square to check out her designs and chat with the designer herself.
I stopped in during her open house – I always love to see what local artists and designers are up to – and it out her studio is just as cute as her jewelry! Light and airy, it sits above Yesler Way in Pioneer Square, filled with whimsical accents like Tillandsia hanging in golden wire shapes, a Moroccan shag rug and eclectic vintage items.
Welcome to Seattle! Tell me a little bit about your story and how you landed here.
I’ve always loved Seattle. I grew up in Alaska, so Seattle was the closest place to visit and we would often make weekend trips down to enjoy the city. I had been living in Portland for the past few years, and was ready to make the step to a larger city. I found myself coming to Seattle to visit at least once a month, and it just felt right for myself and my business.
I hear you spent some time living in France – did this influence your style? If so, how?
Definitely! I love how effortlessly chic French women look. I try to make pieces that can be worn everyday and will last a long time.
Who or what inspires you the most?
I’m most inspired by other women who have taken the leap and started their own business. Taking the step from hobby to business takes courage, determination, and so much hard work. I really admire Diane Von Furstenberg. Her clothes are beautiful, and it’s obvious that she thinks about the women who wear her pieces. She is fearless, caring, and has given so much back to the fashion industry.
Tell me a little about your pieces & your favorite materials to work with?
I love to work with natural stones and draw inspiration from their unique shapes and forms. I work mostly with 14K gold fill and sterling silver. They are both affordable, long lasting, and still work for people with sensitive skin.
Do you have any favorite pieces at the moment?
Your studio is absolutely adorable with so much fun and eclectic décor; you obviously have a great eye outside of making jewelry! Tell me about your vision for the space.
I definitely lucked out with the space. I found a listing on Craigslist for another space that my landlord manages, but he was smart and brought me here first. I’ve always dreamed of working in an old building that had character and a history to it. I immediately fell in love with this space as soon as I saw it, and I knew that it would be the perfect place for Fresh Tangerine.
When it came time to decorate the space, I wanted to make sure the space was inspiring, but not too busy. I used a lot of pieces that I’ve collected over the years from traveling and pieces I’ve found at antique stores or flea markets. Most of the furniture came from Ikea or Target.
What are some of your favorite places to shop (for things besides jewelry!)?
I love going to thrift stores and I try to shop at local boutiques as much as possible. So far, my favorite shops in Seattle are the Moorea Seal store in Belltown, Trove in Ballard, and E. Smith Mercantile in Pioneer Square.
What is the best way for people in Seattle to connect with you?
I love having visitors at the studio! I’m hoping to open up the studio for more Art Walks in Pioneer Square, and set up showroom hours for people who want to stop by. In the meantime, people can always send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if they want to come to the studio.
And folks who live outside of the Seattle area, where is the best place to check out your jewelry?