At just 17 several years previous, Sukone Hong has realized his entrepreneurial dream by setting up not one but two enterprises.

The initially, a South Korean style brand name of which he is CEO, has designed over $1 million in gross sales this 12 months and won the recognition of Harvard College. The 2nd, a braille smartwatch for the visually impaired, has highly developed orders in the hundreds.

Which is 1 way to get again at the bullies.

“It was tough for me to get engaged with college. I form of bought bullied. I experienced to discover some thing that could alter my everyday living,” Hong told CNBC Make It.

Making a manufacturer

Teen Hong started his entrepreneurial journey four years back, when he was in just eighth grade.

Having difficulties to in good shape in with classmates at his faculty in Seoul, he was keen to uncover a distraction, getting to reselling branded clothes on South Korean lookup engine Naver.

But with just $150 in his pocket, which swiftly “flew away,” he recognized he experienced to transform tack.

On Monday early morning, there was like 15 orders. Fifty at lunch. Eighty by evening. That 7 days, I bought 300 shirts.

Sukone Hong

founder and CEO, Olaga Studios

Hong needed a distinctive marketing position. So, applying a $5,000 financial loan from his grandparents and the help of a printing company, he established to perform producing his have apparel website presenting unisex casual don with very simple, playful designs.

With that, Olaga Studios — Korean for “going up” — was born.

“Absolutely nothing occurred for like a week,” stated Hong. “Then, on Monday early morning, there was like 15 orders. Fifty at lunch. Eighty by evening. That 7 days, I bought 300 shirts.”

Mastering to give back again

The three-calendar year-old model given that has become a regional accomplishment, amassing $1.2 million in annual profits across 6 Asian marketplaces and position No. 1 in Model Share’s t-shirt category.

That has enabled Hong to use a crew of 12 to enable operate the web-site. But it has also permitted him to pay back his moms and dads again for the university service fees at the American worldwide university in Seoul to which he relocated.

And it was there that he gained inspiration for his hottest venture, which he suggests is his real contacting.

I considered small business was just about generating heaps of money. But soon after moving college, I experienced some fantastic instruction.

Sukone Hong

founder and CEO, Olaga Studios

“Right before, I believed business enterprise was just about making lots of cash,” explained Hong. “But after moving school I experienced some great education and learning.”

“My instructor explained that my experience could be made use of to create a enterprise to aid other people,” he additional.

With Paradox Personal computers, the enterprise behind his braille smartwatch, he aims to do just that.

Acquiring investor aid

Braille smartwatches — which allow the visually impaired to obtain actual-time facts, these types of as texts and messages from their cellphone — have been on the market for several yrs.

But the exorbitant price tag of this kind of products and solutions — commonly upwards of $300 — can make them inaccessible for many disabled individuals.

Soon after working on a university venture about disabilities, Hong recognized the inequality and determined there will have to be another, more affordable possibility.

Paradox Computers’ braille smartwatches inform time and date by vibration haptic for the visually impaired.

Paradox Computers

“I located that this is so unfair,” he explained. “And, at the same time, it is a good option for business.”

So, he set out to realize the market place, talking to visually impaired people today to get to know their needs, and engineers to function out answers.

Then, with a guide of contacts from his current vogue enterprise, Hong rallied a person to back again his eyesight with a $300,000 financial investment for a 30{362bf5cdc35eddfb2532d3c23e83b41deb229c4410d15cb1127c60150cbd4488} stake.

I learned that even nevertheless I do not have a background in know-how, I could hire all these folks.

Sukone Hong

founder and CEO, Olaga Studios

“My background as a CEO assisted me,” he reported. “I acquired that even while I will not have a history in technological innovation, I could seek the services of all these people.”

Six months on, Paradox Computers’ $80 braille smartwatch has offered in the hundreds, with a 3,000 pre-order from China at present in the operates. But amid his success, Hong mentioned he stays dedicated to retaining up with his scientific studies.

“When the company was growing quickly, I considered about dropping out of faculty. But I met a good deal of CEOs and they all explained to me that I ought to go to college,” he claimed.

And who is aware of, as a guest speaker and mentor at Harvard and Stanford, it may possibly just be truly worth the energy.

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