clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Where This Jewelry Designer Finds Stationary in Little Tokyo

New, 1 comment

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Los Angeles has more stores than anyone could physically tackle, but somehow we always keep returning to the usual suspects. To break out of the rut, we've asked some local shopping and fashion gurus to provide their hidden retail gems—those unique stores around LA that we might not all know about. Cue the Beatles: We're about to get a little help from our friends.

Image via Yelp

As a formerly trained architect, Elena Howell launched her jewelry line in 2009, incorporating a modern and graphical sensibility to each of her collections. TomTom Jewelry, now in its third year, is carried around the word and has been featured inside magazines like Vogue, The New York Times, Marie Claire and InStyle. In 2010, Elena collaborated with Walt Disney Signature to design a capsule collection of gems inspired by the film Tron: Legacy. Here, Howell fills us in on her favorite bookstore for questionably translated notebooks and more.

"I can spend hours wandering through the Little Tokyo bookstore Kinokuniya. My browsing always starts off normal enough, thumbing through their incredible assortment of architecture/design books and Japanese fashion magazines. But all of a sudden I'll find myself deeply immersed in, for example, a cookbook on how to make your bento box cuisine look like Hello Kitty and puppy dogs.

I buy all of my pens and notebooks at Kinokuniya. They have a great selection of fine tipped gel inks and perforated graph paper notebooks. But probably the best notebooks are the ones with the questionably translated English messages on the cover. My latest notebook says 'Bright color brings comfortable time. Choose me! And you will be happy. Designed for sensuous people.' And in fine print at the bottom it says 'All our products are convenient for personal life' which pretty much sums up the Kinokuniya experience."

· Kinokuniya Bookstores [Official Site]
· TomTom Jewelry [Official Site]
· All Shopping Confidential Posts [Racked LA]

Kinokuniya Bookstores

123 Astronaut E Onizuka St, Los Angeles, CA 90012