.Life by Design: Tiburon’s Yema Khalif

Yema Khalif has his hands in a lot of things, but they all center around YEMA. Inspired by a mix of his East African lineage and the Bay Area’s urban style, YEMA is his high-end, Tiburon-based clothing brand co-founded with partner Hawi Awash. I am wearing some pants from the store as I write this.

What do you do?

I work with kids in Kibera, Kenya and Ethiopia when not putting in hard hours at YEMA.

music in the park san jose
music in the park san jose

Where do you live?

I live in Tiburon.

How long have you lived in Marin?

About 11 years now.

Where can we find you when you’re not at work?

I love dancing, and I live for family. When not at work or in Tiburon, I am hanging out with the kids in Kenya and Ethiopia. Sometimes, I hang out with the lions in my backyard in Kenya!

If you had to convince someone how awesome Marin was, where would you take them?

I’d take them to munch the burgers at Sam’s Anchor Cafe in Tiburon. Afterwards, sit by the water and enjoy some sea salt caramel ice cream, from Lappert’s in Sausalito. But downtown Tiburon, where the store is located, has a bit of everything.

What is one thing Marin is missing?

Well Nish, you mentioned your love of Ethiopian cuisine. Just like you, I’d kill for a good Ethiopian restaurant in Marin. I could save a ton of gas and toll fees.

What’s one bit of advice you’d share with your fellow Marinites?

Love thy neighbor like you love thyself. Be kind and spread hope, not hate.

If you could invite anyone to a special dinner, who would they be?

I have special dinners everyday with my wife. She’s pretty special!

What is some advice you wish you knew 20 years ago?

How money works. Some financial literacy would’ve been hugely beneficial.

What is something that in 20 years from now will seem cringeworthy?

The war in Ukraine. The war in Yemen. The war in Syria. Just like the wars in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan proved.

Big question. What is one thing you’d do to change the world?

Gather all the corrupt souls and all hate mongers in one basket and dump them in Siberia for 333 years.

Tap in. Yema Khalif is always doing awesome things at yemacalif.com, or find him at @yemacalif on Instagram.

Nish Nadaraja was on the founding team at Yelp, serves on the San Anselmo Arts Commission and attempts to play pickleball at Fairfax’s Cañon Club.


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