CC Doan: Two Two

On building a space for artists and creatives


Brand: Two Two, CC Doan @ccdoan

Photos: Jeremy Chiu @umamiboy

In Oakland, California, Two Two stands out from the ordinary retail experience. Created by CC Doan, it defies easy definition. It is a gallery, shop, and workshop all at once, a space to showcase creativity, tell stories, and inspire the maker in all of us. The heart of Two Two beats with a purpose: to empower underrepresented artists and designers by connecting their visions with art and fashion enthusiasts throughout the Bay Area and beyond.

When it comes to the space, Two Two feels less like a store and more like a curated art exhibit. Doan partnered and designed with Partial Practice, run by Filipino architectural designer Juke Jose alongside Kadia Bah. Behind beautiful silk curtain dividers crafted by 440 Brannan Studio in San Francisco—visitors are able to walk through different sections of the store and browse different items from various brands, 70% of them owned by people of color. Each piece comes with a description of the story behind it, inviting viewers to be a part of the makers’ creative journey. In this space, a shared passion for handcrafted beauty binds customers together. The creative energy and the in-store experience, contagious and inspiring, makes what would have been a room full of strangers feel more like a gathering of friends.

The idea behind Two Two stemmed from Doan’s vision of a physical space that celebrated both artistry and the human touch. “I wanted to create a community space that’s experimental, something that's not fixed.” Doan explains. “It’s not just about selling objects but sharing ideas and designers’ stories.” Given her background in creative strategy and marketing, she found herself yearning for a platform that highlighted the stories behind the products. After all, in a world that mass-produces everything, the beauty of personally handmade objects lies not just in their aesthetics but in the stories told by the hands that created them. The pandemic, which became a time of introspection for many, became the catalyst for Doan’s vision, and Two Two was born.

The name "Two Two" itself holds a special significance, as it represents Doan’s numerology life path number, 22: the Master Architect. While some dream, Master Architects like Doan possess the tools—the foundation and the blueprint—to turn those dreams into reality. “That resonates with me really deeply,” she says, “having someone’s ideas and putting them through the right filters and channels to help bring them to life.” This concept is beautifully embodied in the space itself, which encourages collaboration and empowers both artists and visitors to bring their creative visions to life.

Doan’s approach to selection steers clear of the typical retail aesthetic, embracing a "designer-craft" philosophy. The designers and artists themselves are a crucial part of the Two Two story as each piece is presented with a thoughtful description, allowing customers to connect with the vision and the heart that went into its creation. “We present everything as if it's a mini gallery. We have descriptions of the designers and artists and what their practice involves, so as a shopper, you can understand their story,” Doan explains.

In its first full year, Two Two hosted over 40 events facilitated by different artists. Some of the workshops held include incense making, bookbinding, and collaging. These classes were opportunities to connect with the creative community, to learn new skills, and to tap into your own inner artist. Doan’s vision for the future of Two Two is to expand it into a haven for young creative entrepreneurs, imagining a space that blends fashion, hospitality, food, and art, a place where creativity thrives and a community flourishes. Inspired by the Asian strip malls of her youth, Doan envisions a central gathering space where artists and makers can support and inspire each other. “We’d be self-sustaining in a way, and we could rely on each other whether you’re selling cassettes and DVDs or selling produce,” she says. “And there’d be a central courtyard for us to gather in—I love that idea of community.”

Two Two fosters a space to celebrate a diverse community and encourages artists to learn, support one another's endeavors, and share their unique perspectives. Doan reminds us that there's magic in human connection, and in the stories told through objects made with love and care.