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Just in case you've fully procrastinated a sparkly gift for your sweetheart, have no fear because Jenny Chung and her jewelry shop, No.3, are here (open from 2pm-7pm today and tomorrow). The third addition to her empire afterAcrimony and Acre/SF (check out the insides of all three in our gallery), No.3 opened last April and is Chung's most focused store. With an impressive lineup of three of the city's best boutiques, it's surprising to learn that Chung's journey to store owner wasn't a direct one. She graduated with an economics degree from Berkeley and went directly into Mervyn's wholesale finance department. She then moved on to BCBG in L.A. before landing a gig as the West Coast sales rep with an Italian shoe company. It was her collective experiences in these back-end, fashion retail positions that made her realize her true passion as store owner.
But Chung didn't want to open in LA. Instead, her SF roots were calling. "Six years ago [when I opened Acrimony], SF had fewer stores whereas L.A. was already saturated with great shops." So she moved back home and opened her first location on Gough (it has since moved to Hayes Street). She chose the name Acrimony to show her "bitter distaste for the lack of fashion" in the city at the time. And even then, she never set out to sell to the mass market. "Even if only 10 new people walked into one of my stores and fell in love [with one of my obscure brands], I did the job I set out to do from the start," Chung explains. So if you hit No.3 for tomorrow's jewelry gift, know that Chung doesn't stock styles to suit every woman. But if your Valentine is into design (of any kind), then this is her store and Chung is your guide (really, she'll be there today and tomorrow).
So a clueless guy walks in to No.3. Where do you start?
"A lot of clueless guys walk in. My strategy is to have him find a piece that he immediately gravitates toward then I work from there, pulling other pieces that are within his budget. For me, it's about price point and overall style. I ask him about her—like, what does she typically wear? He wants to see her in what he chooses all the time so it's important to be a piece she can wear everyday."
Speaking about budget, what's the price range here?
"Price point here runs the gamut from $60-$6,000. And I can really work with someone's budget because I carry a good mix of both fine and costume jewelry. I don't have something in here for every woman because the jewelry is distinctive. But customers can feel comfortable here and they can touch and interact with everything, even the most expensive rings."
Okay, so what if said clueless guy wants a ring for his design-savvy girl but doesn't know her ring size?
"The Gillian Steinhardt Prima knuckle ring (in gold and in silver) because it comes in one size and really will fit the majority of fingers."
What should guys remember when they're paying a little more for this type of jewelry and as opposed to buying at a department store?
"Here, he's paying for the design, the thoughtfulness, the sourcing, the quality of the material. I know every designer the store carries and I know how they make jewelry without ripping off designs. For example, I know that the Kyyote Moonrise Beaded earrings use porcupine quills that are collected (porcupines shed these naturally) and hand painted."
So what do you think your husband will be giving you for Valentine's Day?
"Funny enough, he actually loves to buy me jewelry. I thought for this past Christmas that he wouldn't, now that I opened No.3, but he bought me a piece from Marisa Haskell—he happens to like her designs. And like most men, he likes to see the look on my face when I open the box and when I'm wearing it everyday. So I honestly think he's going to buy me jewelry."
Okay, time for the lightning round: Japan or Australia?
Jeans or a dress?
Leather or lace?
Cardio or yoga?
Brunch or late dinner?