Jenny and David Kim are the reason why shoe shopping on Queen West is better than ever. Meet the power couple behind Young and Tae…
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
Jenny: I was born and raised in Seoul and pretty much grew up in my parents’ shoe factory, which they happened to start in the same year that I was born. I came to Canada as a 17-year-old international student and found myself in the food industry years later owning and operating a number of cafes and deli shops.
David: Born and raised in Toronto, I have a computer science background and up to this point have had a career path in post-secondary settings. I taught at the college level for a few years and prior to relocating to Seoul was part of the senior management team at the University Of Ontario Institute Of Technology. We’ve been married for six years, and just recently returned to Toronto from having lived in Seoul since 2011. We founded the Young and Tae brand during our time in Korea, and also conceptualized bringing a retail presence back with us when we returned.
What are the biggest challenges and best rewards about what you do?
We’re both fairly new to the world of retail, so pretty much everything we encountered these past few months during our start-up phase has been a challenge. We knew going into retail would definitely push us to our limits. We spent a lot of sleepless nights in worry and in frustration, but we couldn’t be happier with how our first storefront turned out.
The biggest rewards have been meeting and getting to work with so many great people as we started on this journey. The support and feedback from our customers has really made all of this so worthwhile. We’re very much staying true to our original goals of bringing fashion forward shoes that are made with quality and care while maintaining a very accessible price point, and to see such a positive reaction to our shoes is an amazing feeling.
What are three things you can’t live without?
Jenny: Ballet flats, lip balm and a body pillow.
David: Coffee – I think I can survive anything if I have a steady supply of great coffee.
Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
…of its diversity and also because there truly is no place like home.
What’s your favourite restaurant and why?
With our hours we have been eating out quite a bit. Our go-to restaurant is definitely Jung SooNae in North York. It’s a small, unassuming restaurant on the ground floor of an apartment building that you wouldn’t know is there unless you already knew it was there. They don’t try to dumb down the flavours in any way so they are very bold and authentic, and the presentation is in true Korean fashion that really needs to be eaten family style to be truly enjoyed. We love going there with our close friends so that we can order a lot of dishes and share everything. It’s always a great dining experience that makes you forget everything else that is going on in the world and just enjoy the moment.
What’s one of your favourite go-to designers/brands or accessories lines and why do you sport their fashions?
Jenny: Currently in love with anything from Miss Gee, a Seoul label that has fairly simple pieces that can stand on their own without a lot of accessories. Also, I love Dwell – another Seoul label that is more fun and unique when I’m in a more colourful mood.
David: Anything that Jenny approves of really. I typically get a nod or frown and I know if I’m good or not.
What products are always your in beauty/grooming bag?
Jenny: Burt’s Bees lip balm, Lancome mascara and Alexander Kimsco BB Cream.
David: Jenny has turned me on to Sulwhasoo cleansing and moisturizing products. Prior to that I was pretty much a Dove bar soap type of guy, which at the time I thought was all that was needed.
What’s your favourite spa or service?
Jenny: What I miss most about living in Seoul are the spa houses which you can literally spend the entire day at. It’s a very common thing in Seoul to go to a spa house with either your family or group of friends and spend the day going in between the various saunas, jacuzzis, and my absolute fave: having a full body scrub with warm milk.
David: I absolutely hated going to the spa house with Jenny – one of the worst experiences of my life. Most of the areas were segregated, so I spent most of the time looking puzzled trying to figure out what to do there and generally showing some really bad spa etiquette all while being quite naked… definitely not a good look.
Let’s get social for a mo’. How can people stay up-to-date with your busy life?
We’re complete noobs when it comes to social media, and still haven’t really figured out all the dos and don’ts when it comes to posting stuff online. You can see all of our attempts at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our website, YoungandTae.com.