Monday, 7:50 a.m., a man hurries into a conference room and has a directors' meeting. There is another meeting a waiting him when the directors' meeting is over. At 12:00 noon, he takes an airplane to Busan to scrutinize the location of new branch office. Once he sets foot in the city, his head is in a flurry because there are lots of tasks to be done. Now it's 5:30 p.m., he opens the door of his office and finds newly designed bags for the upcoming season on his table. He needs some time to make a decision, but his cellular phone keeps ringing. By 9:00 p.m. he exhausted and finally leaves his office.
Who is this busy man?
He is Kim Joung-un, a Dongguk University (DU) graduate class of 1987, and now a director of TOMBOY Company. He also manages four other fashion brands. Usually, he goes to the office on Sundays, too.
When I first met Mr. Kim, his smile relived my tensions. "I'm sorry to be late, young reporter," said a man wearing light-green glasses. He was not what I expected. I imagined him to be an old man in a black suit, but he looked like so young.
Since his major was Accounting, I wondered how he entered the fashion industry. "It was fortuity! After graduation, I had applied to the accounting section of a foreign company. But I didn't fit the part." Then he moved to Jindo, a company that treats and sells fur. Occasionally, he worked in Jindo's product planning department. His interest in fashion started to grow, and he wanted to learn more about the fashion industry.
After that, he experienced some companies concern with the field. Five years ago, TOMBOY hired him as a manager. Over the years, he made three fashion brands: SPOON, OMSK, TOMSTORY. "These brands are my children. During the economic crisis, I was forced to sell SPOON to another corporation. Then I went to the Han river and cried," he said, brushing his face. He was deeply attached to the brand.
"My campus life? Well... During my freshman days, I used to demonstrated with my friends the socio-political movement. After the disorder, one of my seniors had passed the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) test. At that time, all I wanted was a good-paying job. I was a silly. Anyway, the accountant guaranteed a high salary. I decided to be a accountant and devoted myself to preparing for the CPA test. But the exam was not as easy as I thought. I failed the test and was frustrated because I only studied to pass the test; so I gave up without any hesitation.“ he said. "My parents wanted me to enter a commerce college because of the social trend during that period. Without deep consideration I followed my parents' expectations and prepared for the CPA test. Even though I gave up on being an accountant, I am more than satisfied with my fashion job. The amount of money you make is not as important enjoyment that comes with the job," said Kim Jong-un.
Because of his cheerful character, he had many friends. But, nowadays he has no time to meet his friends. "That I am too busy to meet my friends is not a good excuse." He blames upon himself. The modesty is his best quality. When I asked to him about his family, he answered, "My score is low as a husband and a father." He expressed his love for his wife: "As I get older, I am getting more of her affection. I deeply thank my wife."
He said that the most difficult thing is not being changed by the many allurements of social life. Also, he is trying to keep a youngmind. The fashion industry always needs something new; so he is always concerned with youth culture. He likes watching television dramas and listening to music which is popular among the young. He especially likes the lyrics of pop songs.
He is a visionary. “In my twenties, I dreamed that my brand would be seen around the world. My dream is becoming reality because one of my brands is selling in a French department store and in China, too." Now he is dreaming of establishing the ideal workplace in a rural area. "I want to create an atmosphere where all employees fulfil their potential." Thus, working would not be a job but a pleasure.
Mr. Kim has a simple goal to reach, but his passion toward work never weakens.
Kim Hyun-ah email@example.com
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