How It Started
My dad passed away last summer. He dedicated his time and energy into his importing business with a dream of supporting missionaries and planting churches. His business was not successful and his dream vanished with him last summer. I grew up watching my dad’s failure after failure in any business opportunity he pursued and the precarious situation my family was constantly in, grew into resentment. Even though I was offered a scholarship for business school, I vowed that I would never go to business school or be involved in any form of business myself. I was naive. Business and entrepreneurship was in my blood.
At the funeral, I promised to accomplish my dad's lost dream. While my company's focus is on water and children sponsorship, the goal to help needy people and areas is the same.
Ironically, out of all businesses, I started an importing business in 2011.
My first product idea was a bust. We invested considerable amounts of money to build our first item only to realize that the product was not suitable for the US market. It was painful to let go of our first project because it was our baby. But the second idea came quite quickly.
Our business plan was solid and we were quickly approved for a loan. The process to close the loan however, took six months. It is one hurdle after another. During those six months, working capital has to be tightly managed so as not to go under before even starting. From getting financed, to trying to make sales, build relationships and operate day to day activities, small business constantly face the dreaded "catch 22". Wearing not just many hats, but a truckload of hats is important in order to launch and maintain a business in the beginning.
Growing presence to be the industry authority, raising cash, inventory management, working with manufacturers and freelancers in different time zones and languages, are just a small sample of the difficulties that has to be overcomed as a small business owner. But in the end, it's being focused on the vision and the end goal instead of the day to day drama that keeps our business moving. Instead of reacting and working off what comes in the inbox, it's important to be persistent in pursuing tasks and projects that take us one-step closer to the end goal. I am learning to say no to things and people that try to get in our way and make life hard and miserable. Life is too short to live on somebody else's schedule and demands. What is important is rarely ever urgent.
I hope that dad is watching over me and proud at the progress I am making in following his footsteps.
My name is Hanna Jun and I am a managing partner of Strategic Asian Imports, Seattle, Washington.
Why Dish Scrubbers?
So why dish scrubbers? Why The Crown Choice?
Being bilingual, I have the advantage of getting access to items that cannot be found in chain stores. The question I keep asking myself is "What are consumers looking for?"
While I was in Korea, I saw my mom using a spongeless dish scrubber. She was quite excited about it and wanted to share the dish scrubber with me. She even bought me a few of them.
That was the moment.
I am not a germaphobe but I try my best to keep myself and my surroundings as clean as possible.
I dislike washing dishes with sponges so I found the alternative that I was looking for after all this time.
I immediately knew that I found something that solves the existing problems with dish sponges.
This was the beginning with The Crown Choice.
The Brand Story
I was brainstorming for a brand name and while I was combining a list of two word phrases, a book titled "Song of Songs" (one of the books in the Bible) came to mind. "What a random thought!" I thought to myself and simply ignored it. At the time, my husband was taking a shower and after he came out, he said that we should check out "Song of Songs" for ideas. Lightbulb moment. Jae and I started reading that book and from there came The Crown Choice.
The word "Crown" was selected from one of the phrases referring to Solomon's Crown and the word "Choice" was in another chapter. Our goal was to convey a premium and luxurious feeling through our brand name and The Crown Choice perfectly suit our needs.