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.
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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.