Interior designer, florist, and world traveler Jonathan Rachman founded J. Rachman in 2015 as an extension of his luxury design business. This unique shop is located in a historic building with 20 foot ceilings, original beams and flooring, custom full-height built ins, and repurposed drug store counters. Purveyor of “old school” goods and a fan of traditional craftsmanship Jonathan’s trademark style is evident throughout the space in the wonderful mix of antiques, artifacts, vintage, leather goods, glassware, and flowers. One of a kind items have been collected by Jonathan on trips to destinations such as Bali, Java, Paris, London and Italy. There is J. Rachman brand leather goods which are handcrafted in Padua, Italy; and hand-painted glassware, by his dear friend Margot Lar, is from Florida. J.Rachman has established a wide range of clientele, from celebrities to local personalities as well as passers by and those who discover his work in publications and social media.
Who inspires you? I am very much inspired by the old school world of fashion icons and other iconic individuals: Hubert de Givenchy, Dior, YSL, Audrey Hepburn, Princess Diana, Jacquie Kennedy, Diana Vreeland as well as Isak Dinesen, the author of “Out of Africa”.
What inspires you? I have lived in three different continents: Asia, Europe and America. The places I have lived and traveled inspire my design and store, especially their architecture and history. I am very much inspired by the old world of Paris, London, the Strait of Malacca. My love of my home country of Indonesia and my obsession of Bali and Java are reflected in my collection.
Besides my travel I am absolutely enamored with the book and movie “Out of Africa” and the story of Baroness Karen Von Blixen aka Isak Dinesen.
On top of that I am a neurotic traveler and love commercial airlines and airplanes, which also inspire me.
Before I was a shopkeeper.. I was a florist and interior designer (and I am still a florist and interior designer).
The hardest lesson learned in starting a business? Expense control or expense edit!
What task do you like to delegate? The ones that can be done without my direct involvement while I still oversee the final result. The ones I know that my staff can do well, or that I know someone else can do it better and more efficiently a effectible that I am able to.
The best lesson you have learned opening a shop? To give my best, to be as passionate as I can be, because it is my labor of love.
Your advice for anyone wanting to open a shop? Do it!! And be realistic about it, yet be passionate about it!
Which famous person would you like to visit your shop? Ines de la Fressange, Cate Blanchett, Eddie Redmayne, Matthew Modine and the Obamas and Hillary Clinton!!!
If you weren’t a shopkeeper you would be..? An author and retired in Bali with my husband!
What is your perfect day off? To be with my husband, cuddling anywhere but preferably on an island.
Five favorite shops in San Francisco J. Rachman (my own, ha ha), Assouline at Claridge’s London, Berry Brothers Wine Merchants London, Lock & Co. Hatters St. James Steet London, J. Lobb on Jermyn St., London, Maggs Bros. Ltd. – Rare Books, London.
Favorite neighborhood restaurant Zuni Café – of course…it’s our best neighbor!
I wish I could…be with my loved ones more often.
On the Future of Retail
“I am old school and a self proclaimed romantic as well as an optimist– the same with books, retail will always be there for the “oldschoolers” and romantics. We are not a dying breed, on the contrary, we are survivors and tastemakers.”
1632c Market Street, San Francisco, CA
Photographs courtesy of Drew Altizer, Aubrie Pick, Jeffrey Fulgencio & Jonathan Rachman