“You have to do what you want to do, even it means taking a high risk to you”
• • • Choi Chang-hwan, CEO of Jangsoo DOL Bed / Jangsoo Industry Company • • •
Chairman Choi has been doing a lot of work in diverse fields, even with his busy schedule as head of a big company. He describes himself as a “working man” and said that energy comes from his talent given by God. Showing incredible energy, he greeted us brightly. -Ed
Q: You have worked in diverse fields. Could you tell us about that briefly?
A: I cannot introduce myself with a single word. Frankly speaking, I have worked in many fields. I am the founder and CEO of the Jangsoo DOL Bed Company. At the same time, I work as General Secretary of the General Board of Laity & Social Responsibility at the head office of the Korean Methodist Church, Vice-Chairman of the Marine Corps Veterans Association, Vice-Chairman of the Asian Federation of Dance Sports, and representative of Korean Lions Club International. Still, this does not complete the list of things I have done. I have always tried to work in diverse fields and use my energy for our society.
Q: How did you start your business?
A: The idea of the Jangsoo DOL Bed came to me when I was looking for a way to improve my wife’s health. My wife, after giving birth to our first son, couldn’t properly care for herself. I was not with her during her labor pains as I was far away in Saudi Arabia. I wanted to make something for her. At that time, I heard about heated stone functioning as a massager. From that idea, I made a stone bed as a trial. My wife, after using the stone bed for about a month, got back her health. Seeing how it worked for my wife, I started a business with the brand name of Jangsoo DOL Bed. DOL means “Dream Of Life,” literally a Korean word for stone.
Q: What do you think is the key to the success of the business?
A: I think marketing played a big role in introducing our products. I tried the new strategy of home shopping and I also paid attention to foreign customers. It is pretty hard to persuade foreign customers but the boom of K-culture helped my business a lot. I set up the centers for prospective customers to try our products. It was a great success. One trial center in China gathered about 500 people a day in 2020. I also have added new functions to our products and also made new products like sofas, using the new modern technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT).
Q: Could you tell us about your life before starting the business?
A: I graduated from an agricultural high school. I tell people jokingly that I graduated from Haebyeongdae (Korean Marine Corps, “dae” means “college” in Korean) and studied in Saudi Arabia for my master’s degree. I don’t have a high degree, but I learned what I needed while serving in the marine corps and working as a heavy equipment engineer in Saudi Arabia. While working in Saudi Arabia, China, and even in the U.S, not only have I learned about stones but also about how to run a company.
Q: Could you tell us about your philosophy or precept?
A: Well, “treat every customer like they are your family-in-law.” To me, customers are family-in-laws and my products, my children. It’s similar to parents worrying about their daughter or son getting along well in their in-law families. Also, I never take failure as failure. Failure is just another lesson towards success.
Q: You received the Sharing Grand Prize from the Korea Association of Disabled People’s Welfare and the Korea Foundation for the Disabled in 2018 and 2020 in a row. Tell us about it.
A: Well, yes, I have tried to help people in need and the disabled in one way or another as a member of the Lions Club. There are so many people in our society who need our help. I’ll try to seek more ways to find and help them, which is, I think, my mission given by God to fulfil to the end of my life.
Q: We heard you still plan for business. What is the motivation for you to work continually?
A: It has been a couple of years since I started the platform business of “Made in Gangnam,” with the dream of establishing “Gangnam Empire” by fulfilling the business’s social responsibility and letting the world know Korean traditional culture and Hallyu or Korean Wave.
About the motivation! Well, it is not in my nature to spend relaxing time, enjoying peaceful days. I feel the happiest while I am working. The pure nature of myself, I guess, is my drive of working for so many years.
Q: Is there anything you want to say to our young readers?
A: Do what you want to do. It is okay for you to choose a different path from what your parents want. I don’t think I would have ever succeeded if I had listened to what my parents wanted for me. Parents always want the best, in a low-risk way for their children. However, you have to do what you want to do, even it means taking a high risk to you.
63rd Edition of Weeklymonday (July 19, 2021)
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