Sukone Hong is the 17-year old South Korean entrepreneur making headlines galore. He created a fashion brand whose sales have topped $1 million so far this year, and debuted a braille smartwatch for the visually impaired with thousands of advance orders.
Walter Schloss isn’t a name many investors will have heard today. Schloss was one of the great value investors who trained under Benjamin Graham and specialized in finding cheap stocks. His track record was outstanding. In Warren Buffett’s 1984 essay, the Super Investors of Graham-and-Doddsville, he noted that between 1956 and 1984, Schloss’s firm returned Read More
Sukone Hong’s Story
The successful teenager had a rough start. Four years ago, he began reselling branded clothes on Naver –a search engine in his natal South Korea. The initial $150 in revenue did not last long, so Hong changed his tactic.
His parents helped him with $5,000, and with “ the assistance of a printing business, he set to work creating his own clothing site offering unisex casual wear with simple, playful designs,” CNBC Make It reports.
The outcome was the Olaga brand, a word in Korean that means “going up” –which certainly exemplifies his now-thriving business.
Upon release –he says– “Nothing happened for like a week. Then, on Monday morning, there was like 15 orders. 50at lunch. E80 by evening. That week, I sold 300 shirts.”
In the last three years, Olaga has established itself in the Asian market, ranking at the top of the Style Share’s t-shirt category with sales of $1.2 million in one year.
As the business grew, he recruited 12 people who comprise a solid team which he manages from the American international school in Seoul.
Sukone Hong asserts, “I thought business was just about making lots of money. But after moving school, I had some good education …. My teacher said that my experience could be used to create a business to help others.”
Those words made an impact on the young Sukone Hong, who decided to also launch a braille watch, which allows the visually impaired to get real-time information, such as texts and messages from their Smartphones.
His proposition is a much lower price –as these watches are available at $300 minimum– to which he asserts: “I found that this is so unfair …. And, at the same time, it’s a good opportunity for business.”
For the project, Sukone Hong got in touch with visually impaired people to see what is lacking in terms of these types of items, and offer a much more tailored product.
“Six months on, Paradox Computers’ $80 braille smartwatch has sold in the hundreds, with a 3,000 pre-order from China currently in the works,” CNBC Make It reports.