Ha Neul is the female CEO of Haneul Haneul, Korea’s number one lingerie brand. She also owns Peach C cosmetics company.
In addition to running more than one successful company, Ha Neul also models for both her lingerie and cosmetic lines.
When asked by the interviewer how much money her company makes, she revealed that their expected revenue for 2019 is $85 MILLION (USD).
She revealed that Haneul Haneul’s self-manufactured lingerie NEUL WEAR is a big contributor to the company’s financial success, with some items selling out completely upon their release.
It seems that Ha Neul was always meant for big things, as she first started working while she was in middle school! Back then, she held down a part-time job as a model.
Her part-time job helped her realize how much she loved modeling, which encouraged her to pursue opening her own business.
During her time overseas, she realized that there was a gap in the lingerie market in Korea after seeing all the beautiful and stylish options offered to women elsewhere…
… And that’s ultimately what made her decide to open a lingerie business.
The interviewer politely pressed on, trying to learn more about why she chose to found a lingerie company.
Upon further questioning, Ha Neul revealed that she felt the clothing market would be too competitive, but additionally, she didn’t feel that she had the right body type to model clothes.
Ha Neul’s response was refreshingly honest, stating that she gained confidence through wearing bikinis and lingerie.
Her decision to open a lingerie company wasn’t without its detractors, and she found opposition within her own family who were dissatisfied with her decision not to pursue higher education in the United States.
Aside from worrying about her education, they were also concerned about her age in light of the fact that she was just 20 years old when she wanted to start her business.
Ha Neul was convinced that she would succeed, so she committed to giving her business a try for five years, and if things didn’t work out, she would go back to school to further her education at that time.
While it was difficult not having the support of her friends, she believes they had her best interest at heart in consideration of how conservative Korea is.
She knew her friends meant well, but she couldn’t see the difference between wearing lingerie and a bikini, so she pushed forward with her idea and her friends ultimately came around.
Aside from trying to rally support from her loved ones, she didn’t experience the hurdles one might have expected someone without a college degree would face. Ha Neul strongly felt that her experience on the front line as a model helped her in running the company from the back end.
Through her own natural business savvy and connections that she made from her old part-time job, she was able to grow her business successfully and help it thrive.
Thankfully, she was able to start her business with no problems and had even saved up enough capital through her part-time job as a model to found her company!
The amount she put into her business was $8,600 USD which was a lot of money for her at the time.
The interviewer asked why she didn’t seek out investors for her project, and she admitted that at 20 years old, she was very young and naive and the thought hadn’t even crossed her mind. Mostly, she said, she really enjoyed taking nice pictures and sharing them, and in that way, her business started out almost like just another social media account.
Ha Neul strongly believes that one of the reasons her business became such a huge success is because they take their customers’ opinions very seriously and carefully consider what they want as the weigh feedback from their clients.
… I believe that our customers are also part of our Haneul Haneul family.
Although Ha Neul does most of the modeling for her company, she’s also heavily involved in manufacturing and also acts as the creative director.
The entire process can be very labor-intensive and time-consuming, with their pajama line taking roughly a year to come to fruition!
Because so much work goes into the production of a new product, it’s very important for it to succeed, and a large part of that success is making sure the photos represent the product as best as possible. Luckily, Ha Neul is a natural in front of the camera and feels most herself then, so she represents the product very well!
Ha Neul gives us a sneak peek at the studio she uses to take close-ups of the items, which is also the same space she uses to film her videos for social media.
She has quite a large following on both YouTube and Instagram. Social media is a personal passion for Ha Neul, so while her company does benefit from her social presence, she genuinely enjoys posting on her accounts.
With over a million followers on Instagram, it’s no wonder the interviewer would ask what draws people to her. Without any hesitation, Ha Neul states that she believes it’s her honest, unpretentious personality that attracts people.
In an age where not everything you see online is real, Ha Neul may be on to something. Without a doubt, her followers likely appreciate her candidness.
As for YouTube, Ha Neul has many followers who tune in, not just to learn more about her business, but also to enjoy her lifestyle and travel vlogs.
Despite having such a large following and the potential of monetizing that, Ha Neul keeps her feet firmly on the ground and said that if made to choose, her business would always be her priority.
When describing the hardships she faced starting her business, Ha Neul shared that she started off in a very small office with just a single couch and computer, which was located in a very old communal building. She would fall asleep on the couch and begin working as soon as she woke up in the morning before heading to her part-time job as a model in the afternoon.
Once she returned from her modeling gigs, she would return to working on developing her business, from sending work-related emails to packing up and shipping the lingerie by hand. For roughly a 3-4 month period, she was unable to take care of herself properly before finally being able to hire her first employee.
Hiring that first employee seemed to be the catalyst for positive change. After roughly two years, the company started earning enough money that she didn’t have to do part-time modeling anymore.
That doesn’t mean to say that she never thought of giving up. Ha Neul admitted it was a struggle seeing all of her model friends spend their money and have a good time, while all of her income was being funneled into her business. It’s a darn good thing she toughed it out, too!
Despite occasionally experiencing FOMO, she truly believed in her business and enjoyed the work she was doing, so she persevered.
When asked about her goals for the future, Ha Neul shared that she wanted lingerie to be destigmatized so that it was something people could feel free to discuss openly.
As for her advice to young girls who look up to her? Na Heul said, “You shouldn’t give in or not attempt anything just because you’re a woman. If you do have a dream, you should really think about whether you can make it succeed while continuing to enjoy it.”
…it’s important to find something that you’re both good at and that you enjoy doing.
She reminds everyone that she went through struggles too, but that if they believe in something to not be afraid because she’s also continuing to learn new things every day as she progresses in her career.
I hope you don’t lose confidence in yourself.
What an inspirational story! There are certainly a lot of reasons to look up to Ha Neul, to say the least of her leading the charge for young people and women who want to follow their dreams.