A receding hairline is one of the main sources of low self-esteem among men. About 10 million Korean men suffer from hair fall which is why startup wig company MATCH– Hair Suit is confident that it will be a huge success, not just in Korea but across the globe.
Here are excerpts from an interview of CEO of MATCH Eunjeong Bahn with koreatechdesk.com.
1. Can you tell us why did you launch your start-up?
Most of the wig customers were not comfortable with talking about a wig. It is sad to see our customers, who are good looking and doing very well professionally but suffer from baldness or hair loss issues, are reluctant to go for wig option. We want to help them by providing a comfortable setting for trying a wig and giving full satisfaction from what they are paying for. We care about customers’ needs and lifestyle and that is why we launch this business.
2. What is the vision of your company?
We found that the Korean craftsmanship of wig is the best in the world. We have good manpower and the know-how on how to make a good quality wig. So we can provide the best quality of wigs to our customer and our O2O business model could be duplicated easily in different countries. This is our biggest strength and we feel that through this we can expand the market globally including America and even Europe
3. How is the market opportunity for your product?
According to data, 10 million Korean men experience alopecia and about 3.5 million suffer from serious alopecia. Currently, the size of the global wig market is over $7 billion and it is showing rapid growth every year. This is a huge number for a wig market to explore.
4. What do you mean by styling service?
Normally a hair salon doesn’t care for a wig because the wig is a very delicate product. Currently, most of the wig shop only does the wig styling. However, unless you style your own hair the wig you wear will not naturally match with your hairstyle. We style them together, customers’ own hair as well as the wig. For example, when we need to change hair colour, we need to apply the same colour solution for the hair and the wig.
5. Does someone from your company go to the client for styling?
We promote and sell our products online as well as offline. Customers can request offline consultation in our barbershops. So we are partnered with a good barbershop chain where customers can come and try a different style of wigs. After wig purchase, we provide 3 styling sessions. In cases they want a haircut we can do the styling together and also offer head spa.
6. Can you share your background?
I used to work for the Boeing company for almost 9 years and I have been working mostly with guys. Since many of them were bald or facing hair loss problem I realized that hair loss market is getting bigger. So when I decided to start my own business, I thought beauty and content industries will be promising fields. And then I asked myself why not combining these two different fields. And luckily I got a job offer from a No.1 beauty franchise in Korea to join as the Vice President. I was able to get multiple insights from this job and launched MATCH brand.
7. Who is in your team?
We have a very strong marketing team specialized in online marketing and offline customer service connections. Also, our principal designer has over 20 years of wig styling experiences. He knows how to make wigs with different styles. All of our designers focus on how to deliver the best quality and styling of wigs to our customers and this is coming from both knowledge of human hair and wig.
8. How different is normal hair styling and wig hair styling? Why are your wigs so special?
Our wigs made of shape memory hair which is more expensive than human hair wig. On the other hand, human hair looks natural and but as time goes by there are wear and tear issues. After 6 months it might not look good. That is why we produce a synthetic wig with our know-how. The mixed hair wig is 30% even 60% lighter and breathes better than human hair only.
In addition, many wigs are glued to the scalp but we do not recommend it because it is not good for hair scalp. In fact, clips are better and we recommend them. Earlier wigs came with metal clips but it had its issues, especially with airport security scanning! But we use the world’s first plastic clips which are 55% lighter and working 100%. We have already tested these plastic clips at the airport security in Europe, US, and Japan and there’s no issue with a metal detector.
9. What is your marketing plan in Korea first?
First of all, we redefine wig as a fashion item. Hair Suit is a fashion item and we are taking the way of fashion brand’s marketing strategy. We communicate with our young customers through social media such as Facebook. Through this, we can expand our market to the 30’s and early ’40s.
Second, we provide better accessibility to wig buyer. We provide the private room at partnered barbershops and our customers feel comfortable when they are visiting our shops. This is one of the biggest satisfaction of MATCH customers.
10. So to use your service, should I go to the barbershop and buy your service or order online?
Both ways. You can buy it online or if you want to get a consultation you can visit the barbershop. You can make a reservation and visit. We are connected to 6 barbershops currently but we are planning to expand to 20 in a year.
11. What is your company different from other wig companies?
MATCH is the style care brand. We categorize the wig as a fashion statement, not just hair accessory. You can wear a luxurious suit but people are going to see your hairstyle first. With ugly wig your expensive suit never shine! Our product would bring value to our customers’ lifestyle. It is not just for covering your hair loss but to complete your style from your hairstyle and make you who you really are. That is why we name our product Hair Suit.
12. Please share your passion to get the potential buyer internationally.
MATCH is not a wig brand but a fashion brand. In fact, it is a style care brand. We keep thinking about how to harmonize the fashion style and lifestyle of our customers. The starting point of our business is the wig but the wig business is not our ultimate goal. Next step is to expand our business to hair care products.