Ksisters founder on building a marketplace for all things Korean

It has been a few years since the Korean wave hit the shores of Singapore, but Korean personalities and products have not become less popular.

Lovers of Korean beauty, fashion and lifestyle products would therefore be familiar with Ksisters, a marketplace for all things Korean.

Today, the brand has 41,700 Instagram followers and records sales revenue growth of 150% year-over-year.

Unlike its popularity today, Ksisters started out small as a platform that brought children’s clothing from South Korea.

It was founded by South Korean Jungmin Lee in 2015. She had wanted to spend more time with her children, who were only two and three years old at the time, so she quit her full-time job at Procter. & Gamble to create Ksisters.

At the time, there were hardly any companies that imported Korean children’s fashion pieces. She wanted to present cute Korean clothes to her fellow moms in Singapore, and at the same time dress in matching outfits with her two daughters.

Inspired by the “ Korean sisters ”

Ksisters
Image Credit: Ksisters

At first, Jungmin’s main motivation was the desire to wear matching outfits with his daughters. After all, the name Ksisters was inspired by the two – “Korean sisters”.

However, Ksisters now offers many more products from other categories, including K-beauty items like skin and hair care, food, and even lifestyle and household products like detergents.

It currently stocks products from around 20 to 30 brands from South Korea.

According to Jungmin, the change was mainly due to feedback and requests from customers asking the team to bring more products from Korea, especially K-Beauty.

ksisters jung beauty
Jung Beauty’s Hair Product Line / Image Credit: Ksisters

It also has its own in-house brand called Jung Beauty, which currently focuses on hair care products. He is named after him and the Korean word “Jeong” refers to the warm sense of attachment felt between people in close relationships.

Since then, the brand has grown from a K-fashion curation store to curating everything Korean on-trend and tailored to Singaporeans.

Jungmin told Vulcan Post that she regularly follows the lives of her Singaporean customers through Instagram Stories or Facebook. Through her observations, she tries to determine what unmet needs they need and uses that information to decide which product category to bring next.

After discovering the needs of their customers, their team studies the Korean market and searches for trendy or popular brands. They then order samples from different brands for in-house testing.

When the team confirmed that the products are of good quality, they move on to set up partnerships with Korean brands and launch their products on the Ksisters platform. In the past, the brand has even collaborated with international brands like Disney.

The more I do this job, the more I understand how important product quality is. You can distinguish a good product from an average product because the former will have a unique selling point that is not easily reproducible.

Customers always come back to the same product if it’s good because it’s the one that really helped or made a change in their life. So when we buy products, I always make sure to try the product myself and read the Korean customer reviews.

Jungmin Lee, founder of Ksisters

Although the company has grown considerably since its inception, Jungmin always keeps his daughters in mind when selecting products for the brand.

For example, when she introduced baby and children’s skin care, it took almost two years to choose the right shampoo and conditioner because children’s hair is thinner and easily tangled.

In fact, for the brand’s first collaboration with Disney last year, they picked Ariel from The Little Mermaid, who is Jungmin’s daughters’ favorite Disney princess.

It also takes into account their feedback for each fashion collection brought by the brand. Their clothes are all designed in-house and made in South Korea.

“We’ll try on the clothes together and look at the functionality of the product, for example if it has zippers, buttons or pockets,” Jungmin added.

Building a strong community

ksisters community
Image Credit: Ksisters

Ksisters is known for the strong community he has built with Singaporean mothers and Korean product aficionados.

“I started this great adventure to give back to our close-knit Ksisters community by producing products that work and that I personally love,” Jungmin said.

She shared that the small size of the business at the start allowed her to meet clients to learn more about what Singaporean mothers wanted, and those clients suggested bringing in K-beauty and lifestyle products.

As the business grew, she started hosting VIP events and pop-ups at Takashimaya and Tangs department stores, which gave her the valuable opportunity to connect with her customers.

I believe that building a strong community is also knowing what customers want. All mothers always want the best for their children. Yes, there are things that can be commonly shared in the universal parenting world, but there are different needs resulting from different cultures and weather conditions.

Jungmin Lee, founder of Ksisters

Jungmin is also adept at understanding which products are best suited to the Singapore context. For example, due to the hot and humid weather, Singaporean mothers prefer a light moisturizer for their children which can sufficiently hydrate their skin but also prevent uncomfortable sticky feeling.

Due to the weather, children shower more often here than in South Korea, so the rate of shampoo and body wash consumption is much faster in Singapore, leading Singaporean parents to be more sensitive to the cost of these products.

These are just a few of the factors Jungmin takes into account when selecting products for Ksisters.

Always be agile

Disney Ksisters
Image Credit: Ksisters

Running a business isn’t easy, especially with two young kids in tow, which is why Jungmin shared that she needs an internal and external “Avengers team” that can handle the challenges on their own. existing without it always being present.

When the team was smaller, Jungmin spent a lot of time on administrative tasks, like making cross-border payments to her many suppliers overseas – an experience she found costly, slow and inconvenient.

She initially used a bank to pay suppliers in Korea, but found that many logistical issues resulted in long wait times and additional costs, and she had to take time out of her schedule to get to the bank to resolve them.

She then decided to switch to Wise Business, a dedicated business account, which helped her reduce her precious working hours and save her 20% of expenses.

This saved him a lot of time which gave him more time to strategize and plan for the growth of the business. Another challenge she had was finding the best way to market her brand and products, which is why she had to conduct experiments and research frequently.

I am fortunate to have a small but strong and intelligent team who have entrusted me with their future at Ksisters. I don’t know what they saw in us, but I still think the only way to repay their love is to work hard and smart to be a better leader too.

Jungmin Lee, founder of Ksisters

While she doesn’t have a “very precise” answer to what she envisions as Ksisters in the next ten years, her promise is that “Ksisters will always be nimble to learn what customers want.”

“From our big milestones like launching beauty products, our private label Jung Beauty to launching the MUKBANG MART food category, it all started when we try our best to understand our customers and there is a lot more to it. years to come, ”Jungmin said.

Featured Image Credit: Ksisters

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