We had the good fortune of connecting with Lynn Chang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lynn, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
At Uniqlay, we aim to bring diversity to the table.
Though the food we eat is a big part of our identity, culture and heritage, dinnerware options available are falling behind. As a woman of color and immigrant, my curiosity and exploration about food and identity have led to the research of understanding the different choices of dinnerware. How we eat and what we eat are deeply intimate and extremely personal. I took a long, hard look at reputable home goods brands as well as successful independent ceramicists …. there are many stunningly beautiful options, but they all seem so “monocultured.” I knew we could add more diversity to the table.
Even though so many brands have made loud statements on diversity, there isn’t a whole lot of action. Celebrating cultures and representing minority female artists underpins everything we do at Uniqlay Ceramics. I am a firm believer that your culture and how you eat should be a source of comfort and pride.
The items at Uniqlay have been designed to fit a broader range of eating styles than the typical Western dinnerware set. It represents a new generation of BIPOC — We no longer need to conform; we can break the limitations; doing what fits our lifestyles and thrive!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I make ceramic dinnerware at Uniqlay Ceramics by throwing clay on a potter’s wheel. I am the most proud of the customers and the community we’ve built via Uniqlay because it’s a diverse group with respect and curiosity for each other’s cultures. I am excited to design and create more dinnerware pieces that show off our mission of “bringing diversity to the table”, including fish plates, claypots/donabes, fermentation jars, chopstick holders, etc. We are also very excited to more collaborations with BIPOC-owned brands that share our mission!
Uniqlay is bringing diversity to the table by creating dinnerware that fits a wide range of dining styles, showcasing a variety of home foods, and collaborating with other BIPOC-owned businesses. We believe different (or even conflicting) cultures can embrace their differences and appreciate how much those differences enrich our world — through the process of understanding each other, your knowledge of the world expands. I believe this is a dialogue worth having. The more we celebrate diversity, the more we can understand without prejudice and come together. If you are unfamiliar with handmade ceramics or the cultures we share, we hope you enjoy the excitement of new exposures. If you are familiar with the cultures, we hope you find comfort and pride with us.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Friday night, arrival — We will start with dinner from Lion Dance Cafe and kick off the fun weekend with some delicious Singapore hawker & Chinese diaspora cooking that accommodates nearly everyone’s dietary needs with it’s spectacular all vegan and mostly gluten-free menu!
Saturaday during the day — we will head north to Sonoma for some wine tasting. Our current favorite is Bricoleur Vineyards – the staff is always friendly, the wine is delicious, and the property is beautiful. It’s the perfect getaway from SF when it’s only about 45min away. Once we are done with wine tasting, we will head over to ocean to The Marshall store for some fresh oysters – both raw and grilled. This is also a great time to pop open some bottles from the earlier tastings!
Saturday afternoon — to help you digest all the amazing wine and oysters, there are many hiking trails around Marshall and Tomales Bay for all experience levels.
Saturday night — Take-home dinner set from Hunnybee SF which is a donation-based popup with Filipino heritage inspired menu — what’s better than amazing food while giving back?
Sunday Day — Kick off with brunch at Brenda’s French Soul Food then head over to the oldest Chinatown in North America packed with fun shops and history of the city. Then we can head to fort mason for some outdoor exploring or to the Asian Art Museum of SF.
Sunday afternoon cocktail — Pacific Cocktail Haven
For Sunday dinner — definitely hit up both San Tung (for its famous Dry fried chicken wings) and Thanh Long (for its roasted crab and garlic noodles). These are all very special SF signatures one must try!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
All my customers – especially the ones who believed in me from very early on!
Clay by the Bay Studio in San Francisco — the CBTB family will always be my spiritual clay family. What I learnt at CBTB is the foundation of all my clay work. The support I’ve received from the CBTB community continues to be a strong force that keeps me going.
My life partner, Brian — who’s been so supportive of this unconventional path that I am on.
I am thankful for everyone who follows me on Instagram — your follow, comment, like and share make me business possible.