With the necessary edge to create a trend playground! An interview with MD Jin Hye-Young from Distribution Division, O’live Young of CJ O’liveNetworks
A place where you can lose yourself in pleasure, O’live Young, Korea's No. 1 Health & Beauty Store! It is no exaggeration to say that O’live Young is an interesting trend playground. A place where you can encounter various products that define health and beauty.
When shopping at O’live Young, I sometimes have the thought: 'Did somebody read my mind? I can find everything I ever wanted.'
Her good sense of choice!
So, CJ Creative Journal set off to find a person who had a great sense of choosing the very products we really need. The person that showed up on our radar was MD Jin Hye-Young from O’live Young of CJ O’liveNetworks!
A merchandiser, or MD, is responsible for all merchandising activities, ranging from product planning to sourcing and promotion. First, let's meet MD Jin Hye-Young through a CJ job introduction video. She is an MD who creates nice products with her special sense and passion.
MDs at O’live Young work in various areas, ranging from beauty to personal (hair, body, oral health, etc.), food, brand business and online. Jin Hye-Young is an MD for the food sector who joined the distribution division of CJ O’liveNetworks five years ago.
Various products we can meet at O’live Young are brought to us through MDs for each category.
These MDs build experience dealing with all kinds of products offered by O’live Young through job rotation. Jin says she has also broadened her understanding of products and learned the characteristics of the market through the duties of MDs in various areas including food.
"Most of the MDs at O’live Young are about the same age as our target customers and similar to them in terms of tastes and preferences. Our motto is ‘Be a trend playground for women in their 20s and 30s'. This is why I think that the golden age of O’live Young MD are those who fall within those age groups, so we can best communicate with our customers.
Some people ask me if there are any male MD at O’live Young, and, of course, we have male MD colleagues. They represent about 10% of all MDs. Leveraging their merits as a man, they deal mostly with products that can satisfy the needs of male customers when it comes to grooming.
Some of O’live Young's hit products that satisfy grooming needs such as leg hair razors and nipple patches were also created by our male MDs. Last Valentine’s Day, we also held a MD's Choice cosmetics event under the concept of "Best Gifts for Your Boyfriend".
MDs strive to make a 1% difference from others
The food division for which Jin works is a highly competitive area. O’live Young's food division has to compete with not only offline stores such as large marts, convenience stores and import confectionery stores but also online stores such as social commerce platforms and open markets.
For this reason, Jin thinks that it is most important to develop the most O’live Young-like products that are exclusively available at O’live Young.
"It is important to develop products that meet the "Health & Beauty" value which O’live Young can deliver to customers. It is also important to satisfy the picky tastes of our target customers in their 20s and 30s who tend to put emphasis on health and are sensitive to tastes and trends.
Especially as food is a product that our customers eat, we need to focus more on both health and taste. We need to be able to provide the utmost pleasure for the mouth, nutrition for the body and refreshment of daily lives."
The Misura series, for which Jin is currently in charge of product sourcing, is a hit product of O’live Young. Also known as "A blessing for dieters", Misura is a wholesome, functional low-calorie toast, biscuit or dessert made of wholegrain flour called "misu" containing loads of dietary fiber.
It is common sense that, to enable a good diet, one should stop eating Three Whites (white flour, white sugar and white rice) and eat wholegrain food and healthy carbohydrates.
Misura was developed based on the personal experience of Jin who used to fail at dieting when she had to work because it was difficult to eat proper meals or snacks.
The exclusivity of Misura, which is only available at O’live Young and some convenience stores, also contributed to elevating its popularity. Jin Hye-Young created the mega hit product but she says she won't settle for its present success.
"Some products were successful but there were also products that failed. I think MDs should not think of only their good efforts. They need to learn from failures as well, and take responsibility for products, which are "their children", until the end.
A successful product will give them the greatest sense of delight but when a product fails, they need to objectively analyze the shortcomings of "their child" and take measures to not allow the same mistake from happening next time.
They also need to allows themselves to get dragged down by failure. If you launch ten products, only a couple of them are usually successful. Sometimes, you may not succeed in even getting a couple of winning products but you should continue to find items and make attempts to increase your rate of success. You need to regard a failure as a lesson and stick to your relentless attitude that embraces challenges."
The makings of a good MD
Based on her 5 years of experience, we asked MD Jin Hye-Young about what makes a good MD.
"A good MD is required to have solid communication skills and an attitude to learn from everything. MDs need to meet a wide range of people to listen to various kinds of feedback.
MDs need such information to develop products. I would like to say this is why MDs need to have the necessary communication skills to exchange a wide range of information and an attitude to learn from any person and situation.
In many cases, a hit product is spawned from a brief discussion or hint. To make a hit product, you need to be able to seize a chance that is likely to be missed and develop a small idea into a hit product.
I want to put emphasis on communication skills and remaining humble because I have learned from my experiences that the possibility and hints for a hit product are hidden in every chance and conversation.
Every new recruit of O’live Young is required to experience working at a shop. Jin says this experience made her more certain of her thoughts and ideas.
The communication she had with many customers and colleagues at a shop became a huge asset for her career as an MD. She says that she could develop a sense of responsibility and affection for products by listening to customer feedback and learning lessons from them, as well as communicating with her colleagues.
She also emphasizes physical fitness! A healthy mind in a healthy body!
"The job of an MD also depends on physical strength. When you prepare to launch a new brand or plan a new promotion, you need to shuttle between the shop and the office, have many meetings, inspect delivered products and work on the phone even at night. You need good physical stamina to endure this kind of heavy workload.
If you are too tired, you cannot work properly and may tend to react unkindly to others. O’live Young is a place to deliver the value of health and beauty to our customers. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to have this space created by unkind and unhealthy people.
So I want those who take care of their physical strength and have a sound and healthy mind to apply for this job."
MD Jin Hye-Young says that when she takes a trip somewhere, she come back after filling her suitcase with interesting products rather than gifts for her parents or friends.
She said with a smile: even when she is enjoying a time with her friends, she can't pass by a drug store or beauty store on the street and enters the store and browses products with a "hawkish eye". Of course, her friends tend to respond with, "Jeez, are you working now?"
Despite such an "occupational disorder", she confessed that she loves her job as it allows her to study trends and create a sense of fun by continuously seeking for various pretty, marvelous and tasty things. From her, I could feel the happiness of a person who loves her job and feels that her vocation is very rewarding.