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03/19/2018 Interview > Alumni

Title

Where Brands and I Meet: Brandi

CEO of Brandi, Seo Jung-min (Business, '07)

김소연

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http://www.hanyang.ac.kr/surl/KgrW

Contents

Shopping online is no longer magical for most people. E-commerce has bloomed and blossomed in our computers and mobile phones, too. Now there are thousands of personal sellers through their Instagram and blogs. Seo Jung-min (Business, ’07) pondered two questions: Why do all markets have to be scattered all around the internet? Why not make a platform for all markets?
 

Brandi, a marketplace for no-brand apparel

Brandi is a mobile application and platform launched in July 2016, which provides a gateway between individual merchandizers and consumers in the female clothing market, especially the ones without a brand. The application enables consumers to easily purchase clothes without logging in or making accounts on individual websites, which saves a lot of hassle for the buyers. The reply from the consumers was great, recording over 20 million accumulated downloads and 12 million users so far. Brandi, designed for a mobile environment that emphasizes a simple and catchy user interface, allows consumers to look through what is new and trending as if shopping is their hobby. 
 
Screen captures of the Brandi application. Filters enable customers to find products in the desired price range and popularity rating. The last picture shows that you can view the rankings of individual stores.
(Photo courtesy of Brandi)

 
More than 3000 sellers from blogs and Instagram markets are listed in Brandi, and that has led to over 400 milllion won in transactions to be made just last year. The reason behind such progress seems like Seo’s emphasis on the quality of service. All sellers are subject to internal standards that give penalty points whenever a delivery is late or there is no regular update on the market. Also, Seo strived to create unique characteristics of Brandi that differentiate it from other competitors.
 
First, the application has a clear focus on women’s clothing. “If an application covers too many categories, a user would have to scroll through several pages to find exactly what she or he is interested in. If that experience is repeated, the user will not click the app again,” mentioned Seo. That is the reason why the company recently launched another application called HIVER for branded clothes. Moreover, Brandi simplified its purchasing process, which connects all the markets on the application seamlessly. Yet, through its diversity of sellers, the application still provides a wide variety of options for customers to choose from.
 
"The first three years of venture was extremely hard, because I basically knew nothing. But after three years, I think I understood what I had gotten myself into," laughed Seo.
  

A Young Entrepreneur
 
Seo’s first adventure in the venture world started right after his military discharge, while he was still a third grade college student. “My immaturity gave me some hard times, but I was able to throw myself into the world as there was not much for me to lose,” smiled Seo. The business he started at that time was also in the fashion industry, where customers could select their own design of t-shirts. The business was operated by Seo himself for seven years and was then acquired by a big corporation. After two years working in the company, Seo decided to take off on his second journey, Brandi. “I always knew I was meant to be a businessperson,” said Seo, determined.
 
Behind all the success and progress he made, there was hard work. Seo worked as an apprentice in Hanyang Venture Alumni since his third year of college, when at that time there were only people in their mid-30s or 40s in the alumni group. He participated in the Hanyang Start-up Competition in 2007, too. “I was always an enthusiastic student back in the days. Eager to learn and challenge myself,” mentioned Seo.
 
When asked if planning to put men's apparel in Brandi, Seo shook his head, determined. Seo considers simplicity and focus the key of a mobile appication.

Because Seo himself is a start-up businessperson, he tries to create a company culture where “founders like me would also want to stay and work.” He said, “Young people these days, including myself, cannot stand the rules and stiff conditions, especially when they seem unnecessary.” Therefore, Brandi does not regulate its employee’s working hours, usage of holidays, dress codes, or even workspaces. “You can take your work downstairs to Starbucks if you want to,” smiled Seo. Instead, the company is operated around work objectives set by individual employees and Key Performance Indicators (KPI). The environment Seo created is "no matter where or how you work, what matters is that you do your job."
 
Seo aims to grow Brandi to the extent where it is acknowledged as Korea’s number one fashion-tech company. “There are not many fashion-tech companies in Korea as there are overseas,” lamented Seo. He believes that it is time for Korea to follow the global trend.




Kim So-yun 
       dash070@hanyang.ac.kr
Photos by Choi Min-ju
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