Eye-catching arts and crafts in the heart of SeoulThe Third Place is located in the midst of the antique stores, traditional tea shops, souvenir shops and art galleries that Insa-dong is known for. The first word that springs to mind when describing the shop is “pretty.”
The owners, who are sisters, opened the shop in 1994. Kim Gi-an, the older of the two, manages the shop; Kim Jung-hee makes all of the merchandise by hand.
The shop is so small that there is barely room for five customers. The beige walls and glass shelves are packed with picture frames, clocks, tapestries, ornaments, lamps, mobiles, accessories and postcards.
“I constantly work on new crafts not because we are short of stock, but because it is part of my life,” said the younger Kim, who studied metal craft in college.
The bronze items give the shop a rather luxurious feeling, while the light pastels used in other items make it feel inviting and friendly. Ms. Kim said she needs several months to complete some of the pieces.
Prices start at around 15,000 won ($12.80) for a pair of earrings and go up to 850,000 won for a handmade tapestry.
The elder Kim said the earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets made with bronze, silver and artificial gems sell well because customers like the fact that they will never see anyone else wearing the same piece of jewelry. The one-of-a-kind clocks are also in steady demand, she said.
One striking thing about the shop is that the sisters spare customers any intrusions and just let them enjoy looking.
“We don’t need to sell our customers on the products,” Kim Gi-an said. “Why bother? They already know that these are the most unique items of their kind anywhere.”
More in Features
Sculptor Joo Hoo-sik finds inspiration in the Year of the Cow
Nothing's fair in love and Covid
Top culture stories of the year
[ZOOM KOREA] The pipe organ master with plans for a uniquely Korean instrument
ENFJ-LMNOPQ what does the MBTI say about you?