Students ware demonstrating their handmade talents and creativity on campus. Their handmade goods such as dog-friendly organic soaps, poetic calligraphy, and jars of jam or syrup, are sold online and promoted by word of mouth of their consumers.
Park Ji-hyun, a senior in the Division of Environmental and Food Science makes organic bathing products for dogs. She manufactures and sells her handmade products to Ewha students under the name Binoo Meong Meong, a combination of the Korean words for “soap” and “woof.” Park started to make homemade organic bathing products once her own dog suffered from a severe skin disease.
“Despite using all sorts of medicine, my dog did not recover,” Park said. “Worried about his health, I did some intensive research on dogs’ skin and medicine for skin disease. I later figured out that commercialized medicine used very strong chemical components, and are toxic to the dogs.”
Park came across dog owners who had cured their dogs’ skin irritations through aroma therapy and natural, organic medication.
“I decided to learn aroma therapy,” Park went on. “Thanks to the massive amount of research, I was able to achieve a degree for aroma therapy specialized for pets. Currently, I am using my degree and passion to manufacture organic, natural bath products for not only my dog, but for other dogs as well.”
Park revealed that the manufacturing process is arduous as she must meticulously select soothing fragrances, exclude elements inedible for dogs, and choose natural aroma oils and powders. She proudly commented how her hard work pays off when receiving notes of appreciation from dog owners whose pets’ skin condition improved with her products.
“I want to work for the happiness of animals,” Park revealed. “That is why I will continue to manufacture these products for them.”
Ahn Dong-hyuk, a senior from Korea University is also a big shot in the university students’ self-manufacturing trend. Commercializing his calligraphic work on Naver under the name Geul-Ibda, Ahn designs various literary content with his calligraphy. Making a wide range of products from phone cases to canvas bags, Ahn uses prominent excerpts from famous Korean poets, such as Yun Dong-ju, in calligraphy to further lyrically emphasize the poem verses. He thus aims to use calligraphy to highlight the beauty of literary work.
Much like Park, Ahn started this one-man industry with a passion for calligraphy. Originally starting off as a calligraphy Instagrammer, he promoted special giveaway for his followers by manufacturing phone cases with his designs. Observing how much his followers enjoyed his writing, and particularly the emotions behind calligraphy, he decided to put his talents in various products to a bigger purpose. Despite Geul-Ibda’s popularity on various SNS outlets, Ahn admitted that it was difficult to run his own goods-selling business.
“Because I did not major in business or design, nor do I have any relatives in the business field, I had no background knowledge on how to sell my products, promote them or even maintain a self-run company,” Ahn confessed. “ However, making unique art that values Korean literature through my calligraphy, while pleasing customers with its beauty drove me with higher passion.”
Jin Da-ye, a senior in the Division of Communication and Media, agreed with both Park and Ahn as the manufacturer of homemade syrup and jam in JinJin’s Black Tea Syrup otherwise known as JinJin. Jin revealed that she felt great joy when her customers complimented her black tea syrup or earl gray jam. With one of the highest re-purchase rates, Jin proposed that the secret to her company was her flexible attitude.
“JinJin has a lot of loyal customers,” Jin shyly revealed. “I think the reason behind JinJin’s popularity is my flexibility in reaching each customer one by one.”
Because Jin understands that each customer is busy, she tries to deliver her products directly without burdening a consumer with extra delivery fees. Her consideration for the convenience for her customers seems to pay off, as she aims to make them as satisfied as possible.
All three entrepreneurs not only had handy skills, but also had great passion in making others happy. Each revealed that seeing the smiles on their customer’s faces paled the pains of the vigorous manufacturing and selling process.