Jene Park, a passionate, fierce, and customer driven fashion entrepreneur, transitioned these motivation steering words into reality by launching her brainchild brand, Recycled Karma, in the global fashion industry.
Recycled Karma is a vintage and classic rock & roll inspired premium streetwear fashion powerhouse, designed in Los Angeles, California. The company partners with the most sought-after, iconic and instantly recognizable artists that include AC/DC, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Def Leppard, Led Zeppelin, KISS, Blondie, Joan Jett, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, The Black Crows, The Police, Poison, Duran Duran, Wham!, Woodstock and many more. They create products of impeccable quality, and the coolest, most stylish looks, at an affordable price point.
However, just like any other entrepreneur, she too experienced her share of challenges. But she chose to remain unfazed and rather things in her stride. And, despite all the difficulties, everything from learning English to overcoming cultural differences, she achieved the current position of a woman-owned and operated fashion brand by believing in her dreams. Undoubtedly, it was a roller coaster ride but was indeed worth the pain as she is one of the leading fashion entrepreneurs. Jene Park is funny, young at heart, down to earth, accomplished, badass CEO. She was born and raised in South Korea, and later she emigrated to LA at age 29 with dreams of making a life of her own.
Jene’s Biggest Learning from Initial Days“After completing FIDM, I started working for the women’s contemporary fashion powerhouse BCBG, the only company I wanted to work for. I learned the two most important things in my career from the owner of the company, Max Azria: “Hard work and Perseverance”. Don’t ever give up, and no matter what keep pushing and chasing your dreams. Following his advice, when I run into obstacles I know the only way I can overcome them is by truly believing that my dream can come true through dedication, perseverance and hard work”, state the leading lady.
Hurdles on the Way & Clientele
Recycled Karma is a young company, only 3 years old, and during half of that time, they had to overcome a pandemic. Despite that, the company is experiencing massive growth, almost doubling revenue each year. The biggest challenge is managing the cash flow to support the production so they can fulfil the orders, and investing in infrastructures like warehouses and employees. They are lucky to be experiencing tremendous growth even during the pandemic, but the team is definitely going through some growing pains.
Recycled Karma serves a variety of customers from high-end boutiques, speciality chain stores, and department stores as well as direct to consumers through e-com. The fashion industry is super competitive and a brand must offer a product that is unique and desirable. With that mission, they design and make the coolest and highest quality tee-shirts in the fashion industry. The edgy and fashion-driven collections are elevated by speciality washes and a distressed worn look, making them as soft as cashmere and super-luxe. Not only that, with on-time delivery and the best customer service, the company is quickly conquering the market. Over 90% of our customers are repeat customers, wanting the product season after season.
Contributions towards Environment
“The fashion industry is one of the most environmentally damaging industries. I feel the industry leaders must do our part (even if just starting small) to change the way we make and consume our products. That is why my priority has been to create a fashion collection with function and purpose and to help the environment at the same time by giving consumers fashionable but sustainable choices. Our green label tee-shirt is literally made from five recycled water bottles and post-industrial cotton, all of which are sourced domestically here in Los Angeles. My vision is to form a group of like-minded companies and produce a full range of sustainable and green product lines”, Jene shared.
The Successful Journey
While talking about the factors that lead her towards success, Jene says, “All experiences, good or bad got me where I am today. I had my fair share of failures and mistakes throughout my career, some big and many smaller ones. When that happened, I always just get up and try again. I fell 10 times and got up 10 times. There’s no giving up and I am not afraid of failing, it never stopped me from trying. I was lucky enough to have had so many amazing and wonderful people who helped me throughout my career; my partners, customers, bosses and co-workers that I have worked with. Together we learn from each other. I am still learning every day, especially from young people. They do things so much differently than I do and I am fascinated by it and am learning their ways to viewing and solving problems. But among all the wonderful people, there is one person I owe all my success is my husband Steve. I could have never done what I have done without his relentless help and support.”
- The wholesale grew from 200 POS to 2000 POS from 2019 to 2020.
- Jene Park launched e-com in Jan 2020 and grew sales 30x by Dec 2020.
Advice to the Future Leaders
Working and running a fashion company requires lots of stamina and physical strength to manage the extensive travel schedules and the grueling workload. So eat well, sleep well, stay fit and don’t take anything personally.
The long-term goal of Recycled Karma Brands is to conquer the world with the best t-shirts in the fashion industry, with a focus on vintage-inspired, impeccable quality, with the coolest design. Currently, they offer products in the US, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and Japan, but starting next year they are going to open up to more international markets targeting 35 to 40 countries by 2025. They are also planning to expand the product line beyond t-shirts and offer an amazing product range to men and kids, and eventually open their own flagship stores in major cities in the US and around the globe.
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