> INTERVIEW > ALUMNAE
Brand Hotel, the Combination of Patience and Great Staffs
Oh Lee Sumin  |  smt_ohsumin@sm.ac.kr
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승인 2016.03.06  14:31:23
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 네이버 구글 msn
   
ALL PHOTOS FROM BRAND HOTEL

As the recession continues, more and more people are realizing the fact that the idea of a lifelong workplace has disappeared.  In fact, university graduates suffering from the severe unemployment crisis have turned their eyes to start-up businesses, despite the challenges they bring.  Several Sookmyung Women’s University alumni who suffered that fate started their own design corporation named Brand Hotel.  It is now a thriving success, and in March, the Sookmyung Times met three of the corepresentatives of Brand Hotel to learn about their start-up business beginnings.

 

   
 

What kind of work does you company centre on?  Also, would you tell me us a bit about your company name, especially, why is it dubbed a hotel?

Brand Hotel is a branding design corporation that was founded by Sookmyung Women’s University alumni and undergraduate students from the Department of Visual and Media Design.  Branding design aims at creating unique images of specific value for a company.  The name was specially chosen to show our pursuit of diversity like an omnibus place hotel and our astonishing design aspects.  Because of the company’s bizarre name, interestingly, we regularly receive phone calls from people trying to reserve accommodation.

 

What promoted the decision to found the corporation?

In 2009, while enrolled at Sookmyung Women’s University, all founding members were part of an industrial-educational club.  At that time, we acquired practical business skills through hands-on experiences.  We were subcontracted by various companies while working alongside Professor Kim Kiyoung from the Department of Visual and Media Design.  It was then that we realized major company designers complete their work only after making compromises both externally and internally.  Therefore, to avoid this red tape and to ensure a more congenial work environment with colleagues, we recognized the importance of working on our own, not with a major company.  Thus, after graduation, establishment of the company got under way.  In 2012, we finally succeeded in the conversion of club to corporation.  Surely, it was not as easy as that.

 

Would you please tell us about some of the challenges you faced?

At the beginning, we were just young designers, averaged age of less than 25 years old.  Therefore, people in executive positions saw us as amateurs or students rather than professions.  They judged us harshly.  That was likely our most difficulty barrier, but we also had to suffer financial issues because of our unstable income structure.  At the start, we earned less than 30-40 million won per month.  However, time passed and we got better as did our portfolio.

   
 
   
 

You still operate on campus out of the Career Development Center.  What type of help do you receive or did you receive from the school?  Also, do you have any plan to leave the school and achieve independence?

Before setting out on our own, we worked with clients introduced to us through the school’s co-op program.  Therefore, after establishing ourselves as a formal corporation, we were lucky to have a stable footing unlike some other start-ups, which is the best aspect of starting up a business in school.  Furthermore, we are able to hire students from the school as interns.  These students are able to offer and present their fresh ideas, which is another benefit.  When we first started, the Career Development Center did not exist, so we did not receive any financial support from the school.  However, we are able to lease office space from the school at reasonable cost.  Though we’d like to continue operating out of Sookmyung, the regulation states that after 3 years start-up companies must vacate the campus grounds.  For this reason, we are now in the process of seeking a new location.

 

Your most recognized project was the Honey Butter Chip design.  What inspired that?  Also, how do you feel about all the feedback you received?

At that time, the potato chip market domestically had reached its saturation point, but Haitai wished to introduce a sweet tasting potato chip, something that had not existed before.  The company came to us, and we were in charge of the chip’s branding design.  Looking at competitors, we noticed that everyone focused on the use of real potatoes and placed images of potatoes on the packaging designs.  Hence, we decided to use hand illustrations to create a more emotional and lyrical outcome that differed greatly from those in existence.  We firmly believed it fit well with the stream of emotional capitalism and customers’ unmet needs.  As expected, we are still in awe of the huge response it received.  We are grateful to everyone in our product team and to all those who praised us.

   
 


What are your goals for the future?

Because our corporation was established at Sookmyung Women's University by alumni, our designs could appear womanly or girly.  Indeed, this has its strengths, but it also has its weaknesses.  As the size of our company gradually increases, we need to consider today’s need for more common and extended design.  Accordingly, we recently hired one male designer.  We are entering a period of transition and growth.  If spent creatively, the independent company culture we pursued will lead us to the top of our competitors.

 

Would you please give some advice to Sookmyung students dreaming of starting up their own business?

Before founding a start-up business, you need to consider not only your ability but your patience, and then once you are satisfied with each individually, you need to consider their combined capacity.  In addition, you need to seek out good coworkers because these are the people you will be spending most of your time with outside of the home.  Our members often tread troubled waters, but we strive to overcome the problems, and so far due to our respect for one another, we work well together.  In just a few years, some of you will start your own company and some of you will join a company, but regardless, the most important thing is rather how much effort the person puts in than what kind of work the individual does.  Therefore, it is our wish that every Sookmyungians strive towards success regardless of the type of work they do.

   
Order from the left Kim Heejin, Kim Sumin, and Kim Yuna

Kim Heejin
• Graduated from the Department of Visual & Media Design ‘12
• Director of Brand hotel from 2012
• Received Sookmyung CEO award in 2016

Kim Sumin
• Graduated from the Department of Environmental Design ‘11
• Director of VMS brand, from 2009 to 2011
• Representative Director of Brand hotel from 2012
• Received Sookmyung CEO award in 2016

Kim Yuna
• Graduated from the Department of Visual & Media Design ‘12
• Director of Brand hotel from 2012
• Received Sookmyung CEO award in 2016

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