First of all, I’m so glad you’re here. Thank you for stopping by and supporting my small business. You might not know who I am, so let me formally introduce myself. I’m Kim Kogane, the dreamer and creator of Fresh Tangerine.
I grew up in Alaska making all kinds of things, but jewelry is what seemed to stay with me. My first job was in a bead store where I worked for store credit so I could buy materials. I spent my days there packaging stones and absorbing as much information as I could. Working with raw materials and creating something I could wear was an outlet for me and a much needed break from school where I felt I had to hide my creativity. After high school, I left Alaska to go to college in Oregon where I majored in Mathematics and French. I was able to study abroad in Paris, and fell in love with the city and traveling. I went back to France to teach English once I graduated and had amazing experience working in the schools and meeting other teaching assistants from around the world. I learned that teaching wasn’t for me, and that ultimately I needed to feel passionate about my career and to have purpose. I came back to the U.S. and moved to Portland, Oregon. I got a job at a call center which was the best and worst thing to happen to me. I hated the work and the environment was toxic and abusive. I cried most days during and felt worthless and afraid all of the time. I felt like I had hit a low point and decided I had nothing to lose by try selling my jewelry. I was young and didn’t know what I was doing, but I didn’t care. Isn’t that what Google is for, anyway? (Kidding….kind of.) I spent my days working at the call center and pouring everything I could into Fresh Tangerine at night. A year later, I quit my job and decided to commit to Fresh Tangerine full time. I didn't feel ready, but sometimes you just have to jump in head first. Once I got the hang of self-employment, I decided it was time to take another risk to grow my business. So in 2014, I packed everything up and moved to Seattle to start the next phase for both Fresh Tangerine and me. Over the next few years, I started to build a community in Seattle by hosting workshops, hiring employees and attending events. At the end of 2017, Fresh Tangerine opened its brick and mortar shop, giving me the opportunity to create a unique space to build community through meaningful customer interactions and the curation of other independent brands. Moving to Seattle not only helped Fresh Tangerine grow, it changed the trajectory of the business and my own life path. I'm amazed by how many people continue to engage with Fresh Tangerine. I truly feel grateful for everyone who is a part of this community and offers their support, and I'm excited to see what comes next.
Fresh Tangerine is rooted in a scrappy DIY attitude, which is something I love most about it. It has given me the opportunity to learn so much about business, making jewelry and about myself. I’ve picked up many skills along the way and made many more mistakes. The biggest lesson that has been a continual theme in the growth of the company is that that people remember how you make them feel more than anything else. Connection and community is extremely important to me, and I’m dedicated to creating a good experience for everyone. I want this space to feel welcoming and inclusive. Most of all, I want you to feel like you’re a part of this space, because you are. Fresh Tangerine is no longer just mine. It belongs to you, our customers, the team of incredible people who show up and do the work to keep it going and anyone else who wants to participate. What we sell is jewelry, but what we offer is so much more.
My ultimate goal is that you leave this space feeling excited and inspired. I want you to know that your dreams are possible and to thank you for helping me realize mine. If you’re feeling alone or isolated, or like there’s too much stuff keeping you from realizing your dreams, I want you to know that’s not true. I’m a human who also has struggles, and if I can do it, you can do it. You just have to believe that the impossible is actually possible, and work your butt off to make it happen.