At NAEMO, we decided to create an eco-friendly everyday tote bag to celebrate kimchi, specifically Mother-in-Law's house napa cabbage. Kimchi is a national pastime, but in the early aughts, growing up as a Korean American made it incredibly difficult for me to come to grips with bringing this deliciously but often strong smelling cabbage to the school cafeteria. Many times, I had to enjoy kimchi in the safety of my home and would beg my parents to prepare a fast food-inspired American lunch: chicken nuggets, sandwiches, burgers. If I could go back and do it all over again, I'd proudly bring a jar of kimchi with me and a tote bag to boot. KYCC is our nonprofit of choice as it works with at-risk youth and namely immigrant families. My immigrant story is no less different and it is with this in mind that I wanted to preserve the napa cabbage in bag form.
NAEMO is a creative project by Arnold Byun, a Korean American restaurant veteran with roots in Michelin-starred dining rooms such as Atomix, Bouley, and Eleven Madison Park. Arnold also founded With Warm Welcome, a community organization that amplifies Asian American faces and voices in hospitality.