ShopTalk International Magazine interviews Jinny President Eddie Jhin for there July issue. Jinny Corporation’s impressive warehouse portfolio is testimony to the company’s burgeoning success. By Pat Petker
If there were living proof of the American Dream it would the story of the Jhin family, owners of probably the largest ethnic hair and beauty distributors in the world. With a staggering 1.28 million square feet of warehouse space, they are major force in the business. It is astonishing to believe that this success was built in a relatively short time. Mr. Tae Jhin, the founder of Jinny Corporation went to America in 1974 to make a better life for himself and his family. His first venture into the beauty business was as a retailer. The shop was a success and over a period of time he added more shops to his portfolio. Eventually the shops were sold and Jhin entered the distribution business in 1981 in Chicago, Illinois. By the time of his death in October 2006, the vision of Tae Jhin had seen the establishment of four warehouses and a flourishing business. His wife, Ann Jhin was appointed CEO of the Jinny Corporation in November 2006 and has run the business with her son Eddie Jhin. They have presided over the continued growth ofthe business that now has warehouses in nine states and a showroom in Manhattan, New York. ShopTalk caught up with Eddie Jhin to learn the background to the sucesss of the business and its plans for the future development.STI: As with most successful companies, there is often one decision or product that propels the company forward and upwards. Can you identify what triggered the turning point for your company’s success?
EJ: Almost 30 years ago, my father realised that the ethnic beauty supply business was something that he could get other Korean Americans involved in rather easily, and this is when he decided to become the very first Korean American distributor to support and establish over the counter (OTC) stores nationwide.
STI: What is the mission statement for the company?
EJ: To be the very best logistical beauty distributor in the world. We want to be the one-stop shopping point for all consumer beauty needs and to be able to deliver next day in America and eventually go into partnership/ alliance with key distributors in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia and Asia.
STI: How many locations do you currently have?
EJ: Currently we have four warehouses in Atlanta, two warehouses in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Oakland and an international sales office in Manhattan, New York. Our total warehouse square foot is a little over 1.32 million square feet with the new Maryland warehouse being added this June.
STI: How many staff does the company employ?
EJ: Currently we have 354 Jinny United members.
STI: On an average week how many customers do you service?
EJ: I don’t know the average per week but we service domestically in America close to 5,600 stores nationwide. Once the Maryland location is set up, we will have another 500 stores to service in the northeast part of the United States.
STI: You have a number of your own brands, what percentage of your business do these make up?
EJ: Our own brand is close to 20 per cent of our total business, if you include all the imported general dry goods from the Far East and also the hair and synthetic brands as well.
STI: You have a worldwide customer base, do you see that as a growth market for you?
EJ: Yes, our international business has been growing much faster than our domestic business in the past five years. This is largely due to the internet and information that can be readily available from all parts of the world.
STI: What percentage of your business comes from export?
EJ: When it comes to international business currently it would be close to 13 per cent.
STI: Is the introduction of the European Cosmetics Regulation in July 2013 a matter of concern for your business in Europe?
EJ: Yes somewhat – it does affect our total business but there are so many other products that it should not have mattered, but it takes time for our European customers to adapt to the new categories of products.
STI: Has the difficult economic climate of the last few years had an affect on your sales?
EJ: Yes of course, this has affected everyone in America. But on the other side, these past years have brought our company many good opportunities that we have not had in the good economy times, so this is why we have expanded to more branches in the past four years.
STI: What is your prediction for the ethnic retail business? Do you believe that the major groups will eat into the business of the specialist shops?
EJ: My prediction in America OTC retail business is that we will have many stores closing now and into the future and this will be same for distributors. But I feel very strongly that the remaining OTC stores will be much better than ever before because they are the strong that survived. I don’t feel that the big major groups will get into this market but I think the internet business will have the biggest impact on our OTC stores down the road.
STI: What do you attribute to the success that you have achieved over the last few years …
EJ: There is no substitute for HARD WORK and many good things comes to those who always act humble yet remain hungry and always eager to learn.
STI: What is your personal ambition for the business?
EJ: It is to have distribution warehouses and networks all over the world so that the sun never sets down in our company.