The South Korea-based designer, who founded her namesake line in 2006, recently made the move to Los Angeles. Now she is launching her brand in the U.S.
“Our top priority is setting the right infrastructure, teams and partnerships that will be influential in building brand awareness in the States,” Kim said. “We’re extremely excited and optimistic about expanding into a global brand.”
The collection, which retails for about $200 to $700 at department stores across Asia and at Us.jinnykimcollection.com, is targeting department stores in New York and Los Angeles.
“Our plan is to focus on the concept of quality over quantity,” she noted. “We are concentrating our sales efforts on the two most influential U.S. markets. We also plan for targeted public relations outreach to introduce our brand to the U.S. in big and exciting ways.”
The label already has made inroads in the entertainment world, nabbing an appearance on “America’s Next Top Model.”
But when it comes to manufacturing, the brand will stay in South Korea.
“The greatest benefit is efficiency with time without having to compromise the quality and craftsmanship of our shoes. We own a factory in Seoul around the Gangnam area,” said Kim.
Remaining there comes with its challenges, too. Shoe sizes in Korea usually average from 5 to 8, whereas the U.S. market has a larger range, from 5 to 11. As a result, Kim said sourcing heels for larger sizes has been difficult.
Here, Kim talks TV placement and facing the competitive U.S. market.
1. Who is the stateside consumer you are targeting?
JK: I design for all women who appreciate innovative design, detailed construction and hand craftsmanship of shoes. The brand is very much inspired by 1930s to ’50s Hollywood glam, telling a story of sexy sophistication, femininity and whimsical play. Many diverse groups of women relate and aspire to live and express themselves in the same way.
2. What are some of the challenges that come with U.S. expansion?
JK: I believe this is the most competitive market in the world. There is a vast sea of already-established luxury footwear brands for women to choose from. The greatest challenge is to translate and position the Jinny Kim brand in a way that U.S. consumers are receptive to.
3. How does “America’s Next Top Model” come into play?
JK: We are very fortunate to have been chosen to partner with the [show], because they have such a strong viewer base and following in 180 countries. The episode features both male and female models competing to shoot the best Jinny Kim advertising campaign, along with showcasing our flagship store in Seoul. The entire episode is a strong personification of our brand and provides an impactful introduction to the U.S. market.