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NO.426 08.06.2018

Convergence of Engineering and Design Has Led to a Successful Startup

“What was a vague dream in high school developed into a concrete plan in college. Through elective liberal arts courses and degree-granting programs, and by taking advantage of cross-departmental course selection, startup club activities and assistance from the Business Incubation Center (BIC), specific plans were written”


“’Takers’ began with a seed money of 300K KRW (about U$300). In just a year, its revenue recorded 100 million KRW (about $100,000 US), 240 million KRW in year two, and it is expected to hit 500 million KRW (about $500,000 US) this year. The amazing growth is owed to the autonomous and creative education encouraged at Kyung Hee.”


This is the story of Jae-young Park (Industrial & Management Systems Engineering, ‘10), a Kyung Hee alum. In high school, Park dreamed of founding a startup as his future career. With that dream, he was accepted into the Department of Industrial & Management Systems Engineering. Having set a clear goal, his elective liberal arts courses were focused on classes relevant to startups. In addition, he began participating in startup club activities, and decided to take on a multiple major track.



A vague dream becomes a plan in college; a business is born in senior year
Through the multiple major program, Park was able to take degree-granting level courses in the Departments of Industrial Design, Visual Design and Digital Contents. He said, “It was difficult to follow the courses, in the beginning. So, I decided to do what I could do well. Since then, I began approaching design from an engineering perspective.”


Even in leather products, which is an item comprising his startup business, he introduced engineering-based designs. Park developed a method that respects the design, while minimizing materials use and reducing fabrication time, thereby significantly cutting cost. Generally, a leather wallet requires 15 to 20 fabrication processes; however, a Takers product requires only two procedures. This is also the outcome of collaborative work with co-President of Takers, Ko-un Kwon (Industrial Design, ’09).


Through this startup, Park wanted not only to realize his personal dream, but also to contribute to addressing social issues. He zeroed in on the fact that while abortion is prohibited by law in Korea, among OECD countries, Korea has the highest rate of abortion procedures, and the lowest use rate of contraceptives.


Upon investigation, Park concluded that the cause was because ‘people generally do not carry contraceptives on them.’ He recognized that there was no adequate place to carry these items, and decided to create a contraceptive pouch. In his senior year, he took the pouch to the next level and embarked on a startup business.


Exporting to Taiwan, and targeting the greater China region
The early years were not smooth sailing. Co-Presidents, Jae-young Park and Ko-un Kwon, manufactured the items, which they sold at flea markets. With the proceeds earned, they would buy more leather, and pick up necessary fixtures and tools along the way. That is how they built the company that they have today.


The assistance gained from their surroundings proved to be a solid support system. They requested assistance to the Business Incubation Center (BIC). Then, a BIC tenant business offered an already-rented space, free of charge. From the BIC, they continued to receive support in the form of materials cost, marketing expense and work-study scholarship funds.


Park is now paying forward the favors he received from his supporters. For instance, he pays for the space students rent at the BIC. This year, he also made a 3 million KRW donation to the BIC, promising “I will increase the contribution amount in the future.”


Park is diversifying the materials used for his products, from leathers to fabrics. He also plans to expand the variety of offering ranging from bags, shoes, and hats to watches and bracelets. Last year, he began exporting to Taiwan, and he is now preparing to expand into the greater China region.

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