Until 1995, there was no concept of shopping host in Korea. Nobody knew what she did. People were afraid to take challenges in a new type of job. However, Yoo Nanhee (Yoo) is not afraid of being the first to take the challenge to be a shopping host. She became the first Korean shopping host, and she continuously made many firsts in her life.
SMT You are now a first and best shopping host. What was your dream when you were a university student?
YOO When I was university student, my dream was to be an announcer. Therefore when I was a freshman, I applied to the Sookmyung Broadcasting Station, but because of a severe cold and flu, I didn’t even attend for the test. After two years, I entered an outside announcing academy for 6 months. And I minored in English Language and Literature because I thought my major, Family and Resource Management, was not really helpful for my dream. In expectation of those efforts, I applied to KBS and MBC announcer employment exams when I went up to the senior class, but I failed all of them. After that I continuously tried hard to be an announcer but I just produced 22 times of failure over a period of 8 years.
SMT You are the first shopping host in Korea. Weren’t you afraid of being the first person in a newly created job, shopping host?
YOO Instead of fear, I had expectation and curiosity of being a first shopping host. I first knew the concept of the shopping host from the small advertisement in a newspaper in 1995. Home Shopping Program advertised its in Korea and they were employing people in some parts. And among them, I thought that shopping host, the professional MC of selling products, is what I can do because it seemed similar with being an announcer. A shopping host was not a person who read news manuscript, but it was a person who talked in front of cameras. Because being a shopping host is similar with being an announcer, what I wanted to be, I really enjoyed working toward that goal.
SMT When selling products, it is fatal to tell weaknesses, so actually others just tell merits of the products. However, you tell both merits and weaknesses in the Home Shopping program. Do you have any special reason for telling about weaknesses?
YOO I wanted to tell to consumers all the truth and information of the products. It is not to tell weaknesses, but to tell the truth, including both good and bad things. The first time I started to tell accurate data was when I introduced a jewel. In those days, nobody told diameter of the jewels, so, when the camera was snapped a close-up of the jewel, it seemed bigger than it was in reality. Consumers have no choice but to believe what the camera shows. Therefore, I decided to tell the accurate size, and the first time I introduced the jewel, I told the diameter of it. I brought a ruler into the Home Shopping program and I measured the diameter in front of cameras. It was effective. When I told the exact information, I could get credibility of consumers. And the MD (Merchandiser) started to believe my way of hosting.
SMT Home shopping has no script and it is a live broadcast so there can be many mistakes. What was your most memorable embarrassing episode?
YOO I remember when I broadcast the Corelle dishes. It’s catch phrase was ”infrangible beauty. ” Other hosts focused on the ‘beauty’ but I thought the most important point was the “infrangible,” so I threw a dish on the floor during the live broadcasting. The first time, it didn’t break, so I continuously threw it down every day. However one day, when I and another host together threw Corelle dishes, they were bumped and shattered. Telephone orders stopped. Three seconds in the live broadcast felt longer than three hours in normal life. But when I saw the jewel on my ring, I remembered what I studied about diamonds. What I remembered was that diamonds are the strongest jewels, and can only be cut by other diamonds. I said, “Like diamond, this strong dish can be shattered only when bumped with the same strong dish. Be careful not to bump Corelle dishes together. ” This made us sell out.
SMT The first hundreds of millions of won a year shopping host, the first freelancer shopping host, the first brandname product host, etc. You have many ‘firsts’ in your shopping host life. Do you have any pressure of ‘the first?’
YOO I don’t have any pressure of the first. Instead I’m very glad because I am the first. I prefer the first than the best. Because the best can be changed by others but the first is only for one and is remembered forever. If I be the first of something, what I do can become a rule, law and the truth. Also I love that I can be a person who gives hope to other shopping hosts. When there was no freelancer shopping host, I firstly started to become it and I had more success than before. My first step in becoming a freelancer gave other hosts the message that they can also do it. After my case, many other hosts became freelancers. Therefore, I feel pride and great joy in being the first.
SMT You ended up getting a job which is similar with what you wanted to get, so you seem to enjoy your work. Nowadays, lots of university students worry about their future life. Please give advice to students.
YOO I think today’s youth just find comfort. They try hard to get well-paid and stable jobs. However, there is no job which is both well-paid and comfortable. Doctors who get high salary always need to study hard and their work is really busy. And entrepreneurs who seemed work comfortably have lots of stress in managing their companies and treating employees well. I want to tell to my juniors that in your twenties, find what you like and what you can do well. 20s is the process of finding out your interests and merits. Throw away your thoughts that you need to achieve something in your 20s. Now is the time when you experience and fail a lot. It is not too late for getting a job in your thirties. Find what you really like and what you can do really well. When you enjoy your work and do well in your work, you are a success.
SMT What does the shopping host mean to you?
YOO For me, being shopping host is my life. For others, after they get off work, the remaining time is their rest time. But for me, all 24 hours are connected with the work of being a shopping host. After I finish live broadcasting, everything I see can be my next product what I need to introduce, so when I see things, I always think, ’how can I effectively sell it?’ Because I am connected with my work for 24 hours, I can think of being a shopping host as my life.
Yoo Nanhee (YOO)
• Graduated from the Department of
Family& Resource Management at
Sookmyung Women’s University
• The First Shopping Host in Korea