Koreana Co. CEO Honored with Industrial Service Medal
Small business owner-cum-pioneer in the development of wig production technology
Koreana Co. President & CEO Chun Byung-jik was bestowed the Industrial Service Medal for exporting wigs and contributing to the domestic hair-making industry.
The Korean wig industry was a key exporting industry during the 1980s. Koreana Co. President Chun has been in the Korean hair making industry for the past 43 years. He is a small business owner-cum-pioneer in the development of wig production technology and the exporting of wigs to foreign countries.
In 1992, he established Koreana Co. and set up an incorporated body in Tianjin, China, in 1993 to accelerate its production. The company has so far shipped a combined $289 million worth of wigs to seven countries, including the United States, the UK, France, Canada, Japan, China, and Hong Kong.
In particular, he has gained recognition in developing creative and innovate styles of wigs in Korea and abroad. The Tape Curl wig he developed on his own was a sensation in the industry, and he took the lead in the hair-making industry with the development of the hairpiece called Yaky Pony. Chun was noted for his contributions to the development of the Korean wig industry by holding academic sessions to spread the latest hair-making technologies while serving as the chairman of the Korean Consultative Council for Exporting Hair Products since 2002.
In 1968, he began his hair-making career as an employee of the now-defunct Jinee Industry Co, and received a monthly salary three times the average government official's salary, but his working conditions were very poor. He often worked overnight three times per week without shift changes, and sometimes spent three nights and four days at the worksite to meet customers'deadlines. One year, he had to stay at work on the morning on Parents'Day, May 8, in order to get to his own wedding in the afternoon.
Chun was noted for having developed numerous innovative wig styles while climbing up the corporate hierarchy until he was promoted to managing director of Misung. Wigs imported from China in mid-1980s failed to find customers due to too strong curls. He employed a steamed iron to create a new type of wig, which was put on the market under the brand Yaki Weaving and was a major success and still enjoys popularity.
In 1981, he created the wet look style of wig, taking a cue from the idea he got when he encountered a local woman coming out of a public bath with her hair not quite dry. Chun's creative and innovative wig styles allowed Misung to leap from 26th place to the number one hair maker in Korea. nw
(clockwise, from left) Koreana Co. President Chun Byung-jik speaks during the Trade Day anniversary event,; and Chun, the winner of the Industrial Service Medal (top, right),; and Workers at Koreana Co. make wigs, most of which are to be exported abroad.
Photos on courtesy of KITA, Koreana Co.