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I honestly never planned on having a boutique. But I began to envision a space where I could not only offer a retail experience, but also showcase the design process—a place for creating, a place to inspire myself and, in turn, others.

What really pushed this vision into reality was finding the right space. I was drawn to historic Jackson Square in San Francisco—an area with layers of history and an old-world feel. I found an 1860s brick and cast-iron building that was the original home, shop, and factory for Ghirardelli Chocolate.

It was important to restore the site to its original feel, to let the soul of the building be felt. So we exposed the brick walls and put down a raw white-oak floor, left the wood rafters and copper plumbing exposed, and filled the space with antiques—objects that exude history: a library table, a painted bar from Lyon, 1920s French lanterns, aged mirrors…

As a Libra, I’ve always been attracted to scales. I came across this tall, iron market scale, which intuitively felt like an extremely necessary object. 

I’ve placed a few other scales throughout the atelier in supporting roles. Only after they were placed in the shop did I realize that the little alley running perpendicularly to my storefront is called Balance Street (where miners would weigh their gold during SF’s formative Gold Rush days).

Atelier Lan Jaenicke is a space with its craftsmanship on display. The conceptualization, design and construction of our garments happens within these brick walls. The creative process shares the room with the finished pieces. Our raw materials - cashmere, silk - are on hand in a range of colors for creating our evolving collection. Custom tailoring and draping allow us to achieve that perfect fit, becoming an extension of yourself.

The view from the window somehow reminds me of small streets in New York or London, both places I’ve lived, and makes me feel at home.

Rather than dedicate the front windows entirely to clothing display, there is a small cafe table and chairs—a place for having a coffee and gazing outward. My father is a writer; he’ll be visiting me this summer and I can already picture him sitting in the window, observing.

Serendipitously, my very first collection appeared a decade ago just a block away, at Eden & Eden, a tastefully curated shop that is still a mainstay. I’ve come full circle, drawn back to the wonderful feel of this special neighborhood.