CJ Now

The Real Story of a ‘Home Shopping Host’ by Veteran with 22 Years of Experience.


“Hello, this is home shopping host Sung-eun Kim.”

Even on Day 7728, CJ O Shopping host Sung-eun Kim says she feels her heart beat a little faster whenever she speaks of her job. Today, she stands in front of the CJ Blog camera instead of the cameras of TV stations to give some candid advice to the potential home shopping hosts out there who are applying for the open recruitment of CJ O Shopping. Here is how the veteran host talks about her life and offers some great tips to be a home shopping host. 3, 2, 1, go!

-News reporter becomes a home shopping host

▲ Hello, this is CJ O Shopping host Sung-eun Kim.

Home shopping host Sung-eun Kim chose this job back when she was working as a reporter at a terrestrial TV station. Having wanted to work in a broadcasting station since she was little, she worked her way up the ladder as a reporter through her college’s broadcasting station and by attending broadcasting academy. But life as a reporter was exhausting, with the hectic and urgent schedules and seemingly endless and lengthy business trips. Then she happened to watch a home shopping show on TV hosted by someone she knew.

"Home shopping first made an appearance along with cable TV in the mid-1990s. The notion of a home shopping host sounded so new and strange to me as a job, but I found out that someone I knew was already working in that vocation. At the time, the only thing that home shopping hosts did was place the product on the table and introduce it, sitting down calmly like a newscaster. I thought I wouldn’t have to travel all over the place and I could instead work in a more graceful way, which is why I applied for the job. At the time, people with all kinds of backgrounds applied. Because of this, I felt that I could stand out more thanks to my experience in broadcasting and was able to secure the job.” 

▲ Read the cue sheet with descriptions of the product before going on air!

In fact, many home shopping hosts have a background in broadcasting. This is because even though you undergo about six months of training after you get the job, it is not enough to learn all the basics about broadcasting.

"Experience in broadcasting is not mandatory, but you’ll have a better chance of getting accepted if you have a good tone of voice or basic skills in breathing, vocalization and pronunciation. These things are hard to be corrected in a short period of time. In the show, the product is exposed more often than your face, and your voice more often than the product. So applicants with a better tone of voice are more likely to catch the judges’ attention than good-looking ones.”

-Home shopping hosts talk about life

A home shopping host delivers product information to consumers and compels them to purchase the product. However, it is not easy to make someone open up their wallet. Kim says her tip for selling all the products is to explicitly mention the cases or occasions in which the product is absolutely necessary. If she sells an outfit to viewers in their 50-60s at 6 a.m., she suggests viewers wear it to a spring picnic in May or to the singing lessons later, instead of just saying it is a nice outfit. 

“A home shopping host can’t separate work and life, because every single thing we say in the show comes from our own experience. There’s no script in home shopping*. The host must use their own words from the beginning to the end of the show, and merely describing the product has its limits. Usually, we get samples a week or two earlier. It’s much more effective if we actually try it in advance and talk about our own experience using the product.”

▲ Kim in action! Selling health supplements

Currently, Kim’s main products are insurance, household items and health supplements. She used to introduce cosmetics and jewelry before she got married, but she now covers more product categories after marriage.
"Usually, people can do less and less as they grow older. However, home shopping hosts are able to work in more diverse fields. As we gain more experience and insight about products, we become more eloquent speakers. The scope of product categories can expand to kitchen or household items when we get married, and even to babies’ or children’s goods if we have kids. Every woman faces a moment when they should think about whether to keep working when they get married and have kids. In that sense, I think a home shopping host is an extremely attractive job.”

-‘Sense’ over ‘words,’ ‘appealing looks’ over ‘good looks’

▲ The most senior host Kim in perfect harmony with the youngest host Seol-hyoung Son

Perhaps due to these advantages, the open recruitment for home shopping hosts generates a high level of competition every year. The applicants first undergo document screening, and successful candidates are selected after undergoing a camera test, pronunciation test and product description test. Unlike the prevailing view that being a good speaker is all you need, home shopping hosts actually require various qualities.

"It’s great if you’re a good speaker, but that’s not all you need. Even some of the most logical speakers end up frozen when in front of the camera. Good scores are instead given to someone who has a whole new perspective on certain objects, and who can use their talent to the fullest while blending into the show. Some of you are worried about looks, but I also want to say that appealing looks are more important than good looks.”

Recently, CJ O Shopping is actively engaged in leading shoppertainment (home shopping + entertainment). Kim advises that it is also important to build your own persona according to this trend.

"People today check out products on YouTube, and I think so many of the creators do a great job introducing products. They even have their own unique on-screen persona, which makes the videos even more fun. I think with the current trend of overlapping different genres like shopping, entertainment, music and drama, it’s important to build a unique persona such as a friendly neighbor or a worrying mom.”

-You’re all set if you love home shopping!

▲ I’m open to all applicants who love home shopping!

Even home shopping hosts that look perfect on the outside have concerns of their own. Their careful life pattern gets thrown out of balance in some cases because more than 15 shows on average are aired live in a day. In that case, the host must leave their home at 3 a.m. for the first show, and keep working until 2 a.m. the next day if they are put in charge of the last show of the day.

"Physical strength is what the new hosts these days have the most trouble dealing with. This might sound like a cliché, but you can overcome this as long as you love home shopping. In some cases, you must sell products that seem to be out of your league, but you can also get through by having the right amount of affection and possessing a positive mindset.”

Kim says she is still very satisfied with her job even after 22 years of working. Her final remarks to the potential applicants of the open recruitment also reveal how happy she is with her job as a home shopping host. “Hey guys! Give it and shot! And welcome!”