~ Everyday Luxuries from Asia
A Little History
Old Shanghai Online is one of the sister stores owned and operated by the Tam family. Since 1980, the family and their stores have been serving San Francisco Bay Area. What started out as a traditional family business has flourished into an Asian-inspired lifestyle brand and retail destination.
In 1980, Andrew and Aileen Tam first opened his first store in San Francisco Chinatown. They worked hard to manage the small business that supported their family, working day-in and day-out together. It is no secret that their stores open 365 days of the year from morning to night. As a result of their diligence, the company gradually grew larger, expanding into multiple stores along Grant Avenue.
Several years ago, Renee and Tiffany, their daughters, officially joined the company, having helped out at the stores while growing up. Since then, the company has taken a more contemporary turn and begun to develop its own distinct personality.
The Tam sisters are the trendsetting entrepreneurs and designers behind the Old Shanghai and Red Blossom private labels. Renee and Tiffany know how to blend modern style sensibility with traditional Asian designs into their designs. Drawing on their Chinese family heritage as well as their fantastic fashion sense, they have been creating a line of unique home decor and fashion accessories that is beautiful, yet demonstrates an understanding of the needs of the 21st century consumer.
"My parents, who started the business, were first generation immigrants from China. When they first arrived in San Francisco, they started their business to service the local immigrants. They offered things that fit the daily lifestyles of the immigrants at the time. Today, we take a lot of things for granted like chopsticks, rice bowls, tea pots, stir fry woks… these things were not always regular household, staple products like they are now. Over time, my father's business changed with the landscape of Chinatown...
Now that we think about it, the stores have actually changed a lot over the years. It was only in the last 20 years have we seen such a strong interest in Asian culture. More and more people from all parts of the world come to Chinatown to find something Asian.
With this idea in mind, my father, Tiffany and I want Old Shanghai to be the ultimate showroom in San Francisco for something new, something old, and of course, something 'Asian.' You see some of the home furnishings in our store and it really takes you back in time.
When I got married a few years back, my father picked out a few traditional items for me to have in my wedding, such as the antique rosewood baskets for Chris (my nervous husband) and his family packed with gifts and blessings and brought over to my house to start the wedding day courtship. For my wedding ceremony, I wore the traditional qipao (long dress) and around us, we had much of the antique furniture that you can find in our showroom. We kept the wedding very traditional.
Fast forward to the present and you can see that our concepts and designs are very much inspired by our traditional values and rich Asian heritage as well as today's contemporary fashions. With every design, we want to keep the fashion chic but at the same time keep a sense of Asian heritage within it. Tiffany and I are avid shoppers so designing comes very naturally for us. We have a lot of traditional housewares, clothing and accessories, but where we really let the creative juices flow is when we design our style of home decor, clothing, and accessories. We design it with today's style trends in mind.
Tiffany and I started working in our father's stores at a very young age and today, we add the something 'new' to Old Shanghai." -- Renee Tam