Memory Bears

13 images Created 8 May 2024

A once-successful Wall Street restaurateur whose business was 86ed by the pandemic is cashing in on an unlikely second career — sewing one-of-a-kind memory bears for families across the country.

Jin Kim, 64, spent her first 30 years in New York City catering her raw fish and rice delights to power brokers at Niko Niko sushi deli.

But after seeing her beloved eatery twice shutter — first by Superstorm Sandy at 80 Wall Street, then by COVID after relocating to nearby John Street — the mom of two turned to her sewing machine and got back to work.

She now creates roughly 150 memory bears a week through her booming Etsy shop, turning fabrics such as blood-soaked clothing and baby blankets into beautiful custom bears, quilts and pillows, mostly for grieving clients.
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