|DongGil Lee (left) and HyunJi Lee (right) established Angela & Roi, a company that manufactures and sells its own-brand handbags.|
Written by HyunCheon Kim / Translated by JaeMin Woo
Angela &Roi, a name that could easily be a movie title, is the name of a company established by Korean international students in Boston. As a company with its own brand handbags, it sells its products mainly through www.AngelaRoi.com and is expanding its market all over the country.
The co-founders of this company, who often visit customers personally to advertise and sell their products, are HyunJi Lee, a student of political scienceat Northeastern University,and DongGil Lee, a graduate of Boston University School of Business.
The couple, who met each other two years ago, decided to pursue their dreams to become entrepreneurs and established a company last September using their own English names, Angela &Roi.
A year ago, after proposing the business idea, HyunJi did thorough research. She examined many different purse manufacturers in Korea and, after carefully reviewing them, selected a few.
However, they believed that in order to establish a differentiated independent business, they should manufacture and sell their own brand products rather than using the pre-existing ones.
Soon, they changed over to OEM methods, coming up with the company’s own designs and logos. Their concept is to manufacture mid-low priced but high quality products in small quantities. They’re aiming to provide items with quality and design comparable to those of name brands, but affordable to more people.
Furthermore, the couple, having been interested in social services for a long time, decided to sponsor cancer patients. After thinking that it wasn’t suitable for them to donate purses, the couple decided to manufacture their products in the colors that represent different cancer organizations and donate $5 to the respective organizations each time the products are sold. They believe they can not only raise awareness but also feel great about their contribution to society.
With the girl in charge of designing and selection and the boy taking care of planning, managing, marketing, distribution and shipping, the couple is great at teamwork. As a business major, DongGil Lee pays thorough and close attention to the smallest details.
The couple sends their products to various fashion bloggers requesting reviews, posts videos of their products on YouTube, and for advertisement, participates in fashion shows hosted by universities. With packaging and shipping added on to their already busy schedule, the couple is always experiencing a shortage of time.
“I haven’t slept more than 5 hours ever since the official launching last September,” says DongGil.
They do not have the time to go on dates, and become even busier during Thanksgiving and holiday seasons, trying to ship the big orders.
Although the company, with an online store and a tiny warehouse for the storage as its only physical capital, does not have its own office and uses Boston University’s photonics building as its office, it has 3 interns and even a webmaster.
The workers come to the office at 9am, but being students as well, they do not have a set time for leaving. However, according to HyunJi, they are so passionate about what they do that they often stay up all night working.
HyunJi said, “Although they are all 2nd generation, they respect and treat us as CEO and CFO. Even though we’re only a handbag store right now, I wish to expand our product line and become a global enterprise in the future.”
Feeling affection to the business they created with youthful passion and energy, the couple said, “we will never sell our company even if we get offers.” They believe the value of their endeavor cannot be measured monetarily.
Regarding the couple’s establishment, YoonTaek Lee, a professor of entrepreneurship at Boston University, said, “They are facing a global market with systematic business backgrounds and building new product values with one of a kind designs and quality. They are modest entrepreneurs pursuing both monetary and social values, creating a company that is both future and social oriented.”
ⓒ 보스톤코리아(http://www.bostonkorea.com), 무단전재 및 재배포 금지