Meet the Neighbors: Grace Kang, SoMa
Founder & Chief Buyer, Pink Olive
Originally from: Seoul, Korea | Neighborhood: SoMa
Grace Kang was born in Seoul, Korea, and moved to the United States at the age of 7. She spent most of her life in California and New Jersey before finally settling down in New York City, where she established Pink Olive, a thriving gift shop tailored for the vibrant city.
Five years ago, Kang crossed paths with her now-husband Matt Owen on Bumble while he was on a work trip in Manhattan. Their shared passion for breakfast food sparked a connection, leading Kang to visit Matt in Little Rock. Their inaugural date in the SoMa neighborhood solidified her decision to invest in their future together.
“During my first visit to Little Rock, I immediately sensed a comfort and ease that made the decision to start a new chapter of our lives here a no-brainer,” Kang said. “The unique charm of up-and-coming SoMa was the key factor for me. It felt like home, providing the sense of community and walkability that I was looking for. Once we found the perfect house in SoMa, everything fell into place seamlessly. In a single week, we closed on our new home, and I also purchased my very first car.”
Kang established her second Pink Olive storefront in her new neighborhood, purposefully choosing where she and Matt had their first date. She quickly embraced the vibrant small business community in the area.
“There’s something truly magical about being a part of a small town on Main Street,” Kang said. “Being situated across from incredible businesses like the ESSE Purse Museum, Love Spell, South Main Creative and The Root Cafe adds an extra layer of charm. The sense of community here is remarkable, and there’s a unique energy in being a part of this up-and-coming area. It’s still evolving and there’s enough love and support to go around.”
As the chief buyer of Pink Olive, Kang thrives on discovering and nurturing talent, bringing new and unique products to life. She curates locally sourced goods and stays abreast of trends, ensuring her customers can rely on Pink Olive for the latest products, including witty stationery, mouthwatering cookbooks, embroidered keychains, and more.
“The part of my job that I love the most is the opportunity to connect with so many incredible people,” she said. “Building meaningful relationships with both customers and team members is something I genuinely cherish. The ability to create a positive and engaging environment is incredibly rewarding, and I wouldn’t trade those connections for anything.”
In addition to managing two Pink Olive stores, Kang also oversees two Airbnbs, indulging her hospitality skills and penchant for meeting individuals from across the country.
Beloved Local Businesses: Raduno | Brick Oven & Barroom (SoMa); Esse Purse Museum & Store (SoMa)
Leaving a Lasting Impression: “Fall. I love the way the temperature starts to drop, and the leaves begin to change color,” Grace said. “It creates a picturesque and vibrant atmosphere throughout the city. What makes it even more special for me is the community’s enthusiasm for Halloween, pumpkins, and the upcoming holidays.”
Free Time in the Metro: “Matt and I love exploring the different neighborhoods, trying out a new restaurant every weekend and strolling down Main Street with our adorable puppy Olive,” she said. “We also like to hop over to Loblolly for a nightcap (aka ice cream). We feel blessed to live within walking distance of everything.”