Hyunhee Hwang - Co-Founder and Design Director of 56B

I imagine my idea or work as a story that needs to be romanticized. It has to be nurtured and brought up with care to all aspects for it to be fully appreciated and that is how I progress my works.

Hyunhee Hwang is a new and upcoming designer having many years of experience in the cosmetic branding and product design field. She has recently graduated from Central Saint Martins UAL with an MA in Industrial Design.

Her main career has been with Amore Pacific, one of the biggest cosmetic companies in Asia, based in Seoul, South Korea. She was in charge of a natural body care brand, which became the largest market share holder in the ‘mass produced’ market during her charge. In her role as a Brand Director, she was fully involved from planning through to execution across all the product ranges including the market research, conceptualization, design, production, and brand communications strategies. In her third year in this role, she became the youngest Group Leader in charge of managing several Brand Designers in the Personal Health-care Division, eventually championing the brand into a market leading position. Even though she loved her job and held a reputed position, she was keen to broaden her work, and leave her comfort zone. And therefore, she took on a further challenge in London.

She enrolled on a two year Masters degree in Industrial design at Central Saint Martins London in order to strengthen her international exposure and practice her knowledge with emphasis on academic structure. She has collaborated on various projects with esteemed companies where a high consciousness of current and emerging trends and a keen awareness of evolving user needs is paramount. Some of the organizations she has worked with include: furniture brand Roche Bobois and Comite Colbert, which is an association of luxury fashion brands. However, her most noteworthy experiences occurred during her work on ‘Nurture‘, a self-directed study on innovation design aimed at future markets. She challenged the integrity of the concept of freshness within the food industry. She sought to create a concept aimed at defining a new category of living health supplements for highly health conscious consumers. She mastered many research tools, both conventional and unconventional and honed in her own process in order to tackle foreign and unfamiliar territories with confidence.

Currently she is a design director at 56B, a design studio she co-founded aiming at increasing her exposure to other related design fields by collaborating with multifaceted designers in order to provide design services to her clients. Also, she co-established a fashion merchandizing company, Artigiano in order to introduce European designer labeled fashion items into the Korean market. Having noticed the lack of unique identity within designer brands in the Korean domestic market, it was clear that promoting a collection of uncommon fashion items would yield positive results.

One of her life visions is to establish herself as a recognizable designer and to enter the academic field in order to translate the same progressive nature as seen in London into Korea, and broaden the role of design in society.

Where did the idea for Nurture come from?

The idea came from the curiosity of the meaning of the term Fresh. I researched heavily about the words implication and what it truly means to eat something fresh in its fullest meaning. Therefore I created the ‘Nurture’. A healthy eating tool aimed at providing the freshest nutritional consumption to fulfill the recommended daily requirements for a healthy lifestyle. It aims to do this in a way equivalent to health supplements, however in a much more natural and unadulterated format. The fruits in Nurture are designed to be nestled within their own roots in the form of a basket in order to keep them alive and fresh efficiently till the time of consumption. Aesthetically it was inspired by a birds nest to further emphasize the nurturing aspect.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

There is no typical day. Each day has is obstacles and opportunities. I believe in order to stay creative and motivated, one has to constantly adapt, and therefore I ensure that every lunch break is exciting enough where great food is had, laughing and adrenaline is pumping at the end. This helps me come back to work extremely focused and inspired that usually lasts through the day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Good ideas, the only ideas worth pursuing, need minimal effort to be brought from concept to reality. I imagine my idea or work as a story that needs to be romanticized. It has to be nurtured and brought up with care to all aspects for it to be fully appreciated and that is how I progress my works. I am hyper critical about all the supporting aspects associated with the project and ensure everything makes sense as that is the best way to make someone fall in love with the idea and bring it to life in their own heads.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I am interested in the advancement of Virtual service platforms and Social networking services and how they encourage a smarter breed of consumers capable of representing their wants and desires in a format that is easily accessible to service or product providers. This is concurrent with the increase in the number of startups that are providing new services also with a keen focus on inventiveness and innovation promoting their unique brand identities. It will be interesting to see what the future holds within this new area. I am so excited to see this trend play out in the future, and would love to join them when I am ready to survive in this new environment.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Visualization. Visualizing what you need to do is key in effectively processing data and acting on tasks. I sit down and figure the details of a single project or task and then draw it out so that I can better understand its gravity and hence assign the appropriate attention to it.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

Luckily I haven’t had any job that I hated. In any vocation, I feel so lucky to meet inspirational people.

Even if I did end up in a job that I did not particularly enjoy or like, I would not feel negatively about it as every situation has something to teach you, if you are sensible enough.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I have always taken my work too seriously. I had forgotten that it was possible to enjoy myself while working because I was always overly focused on details. After coming to London it has become much more apparent that good or great ideas comes more readily when you let loose and enjoy what you do.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I find that it is very important to listen to people located in different positions professionally as well as geographically, and to make a note of how they operate.

The habit of talking about what you do with other people thorough different perspectives, I personally think is very valuable in order to open your mind as to reach the most valid point of your business. Apart from that, you could get a chance to collect very interesting thought processes or insight from it.

The most interesting thing over all with this is however that you may sometimes feel confused from listening to many different opinions, but sometimes you become more strong in your belief because of all those differences. It’s hard to explain it, but I am sure that many people who like to accumulate outside opinions have experienced it.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your project? Please explain how.

During the project that I had, for me It was very difficult to stay focus on the original aim that I had in my mind. Once you have multiple tasks weighing on your shoulder, it is so easy to get distracted and lose the focus you had at the beginning. And so I create a board where my project aim, plan, and achievement are written and keep it in my room close to my bed. Every morning when I wake up the first thing I can see is the project boars and I believe that it has helped me to stay focused through the entire time.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

My Journey is relatively short to have that failure moment. If I can respond for the most difficult moment instead, it was when I felt that the advisors did not believe my point of view on the project. I felt very lonely to carry on the idea through the journey. However, the moment that I extended the audience from whom I was getting advice about my project, I could get more support.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I would like to see the food industry, especially eat-out businesses, become more artistic and authentic as a genre of art. I have thought about a type of restaurant business operating like major theaters that hosts the world’s best chefs and famous authentic, regional cuisines throughout the year. As an authentic food lover, I could imagine myself as a loyal customer due to saving time and money to travel all the way to experience different foods.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

Once I see someone really inspirational, I sort of snoop around the person to get to know what they have been through in their life so that I can emulate successful characteristics and behaviors. This is how I maintain my inspiration for success.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I love Illustrator. Some designers are comfortable with drawing something by hand, for me however, using illustrator is way of progressing my ideas like a sketch book. For that reason, I have Illustrator in my laptop and is always open to accommodate my ideas. For my favorite web service, I use Pinterest very loyally because it serves as one of the biggest inspiration bank from where I collect material to guide and inform my work. It is a wonderful platform where many users can collect and share useful and inspirational media ensuring quality is maintained.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Exploiting Chaos by Jeremy Gutsche because it is a must for any aspiring entrepreneur as it depicts situations one might find him or herself in while trying to run a business. It is easy to read and easy to draw inspiration as well as relevant to current times where innovation in business essential.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

I am a designer and I will be a designer, however, previously working with marketers and the sales sectors closely and having to struggle to propose a design with their language in order to convey the essence of an idea or creativity has made me truly appreciative of the importance of relevant external opinions during the design process. Now I have become a designer who designs things with fully inclusive reasoning and logic due to that experience. Also, I am able to see the issues and solutions through various glasses allowing me to offer solutions in respect to the aims of the project.

Connect:

http://www.hyunheehwang.com/
Nurture: Nurture
LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/in/hyunheehwang

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