Escape from the Norm with Customized Design
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Escape from the Norm with Customized Design
  • 김태연 기자
  • 승인 2006.10.04 00:00
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▲ [Photo provided by Park Hyeok-joon]http://haandi.co.kr

   Customized items such as textbooks and shoes have been considered trendy items in Korea for quite a while, as teenagers like to personalize their belongings to express themselves. However, only recently have some people begun using that concept into a business targeting all ages. Lee Kyung-il (29) and Park Hyeok-joon (29) are two friends who decided to launch a business designing mobile phone cases.
   Lee and Park never intended to start a business of their own. Up until last year, they were busy applying for jobs at other companies. However, after attending many interviews they started to dislike the fact that the companies put unreasonable amount of pressure on applicants. Then one day, Lee saw Park? sister painting designs on mobile phone cases and giving them to her friends as birthday presents. That was the trigger for his business.
   ? had a feeling that this would be a good business item as people want to personalize their belongings, making them unique and special. Therefore, I stopped applying to companies and started to plan out my business with Park,?says Lee, reminiscing about that moment.
   Since then, Lee and Park started a small, six-month project with the members of a study group they belonged to. They tried selling the items through the Internet. Although the sales level wasn? high, they saw signs of a demand. After careful planning, two men started to run their own website in February, selling customized phone cases. Lee is in charge of production while Park is in charge of marketing and design.
Right now, Lee and Park employ four designers who paint designs on phone cases and there are around 50 different designs divided into five types: animals, cartoon characters, flowers, fantasia, and patterns.
   ? believe people purchase our products because their taste can be reflected on the design of the cases. Customers can choose colors and messages. Also, if they have their own design, our designers can paint it if given a copy. To reflect the  desires of our buyers, we are always inventing new designs,?says Park.
   Attracting customers was the most difficult challenge the two businessmen had to face in the beginning. They started with online overture advertisements and offline posters in university areas. Slowly, customers started to visit their homepage and the number of orders increased. Now, they are running out of hands since the demand is constantly rising but the working crew isn?. They are so busy that they ?ork night and day often skipping dinner, without realizing,?says Park with a big laugh.
   Although Lee and Park are free from the restraints that normal employees of big companies often experience, they are not free from the complaints of customers. ?here was one customer who asked for eight corrections on his mobile phone case design. It was tough because he was very picky and hard to satisfy,?Lee says shivering as he delivers the story. On the other hand, there are other customers that they cannot thank more. ?e really appreciate customers who leave lots of praise on our website. Also there was this customer who had to wait for over two weeks due to design and delivery delay. However, she did not complain at all,?says Park.
   Lee and Park? aim is to see their personalized phone case become a representative part of self-expression in our culture. They hope to run a company that can express all the desires of its customers. To accomplish this, they want to seize both online and offline markets with their designs as they expand their business from just phone cases to phone accessories, lip pallets, name card cases, pendants, picture frames and more. They have already begun to sell their products offline in front of Ewha.
?1st century is a world of design. We wish that our designs will match the sentiments of all Koreans and our business expands,?says Lee.


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