Entrepreneur Asia: Power Players

It's all about 'TGIF' for this Korean CEO

Reported by Martin Soong, Written by Liza Tan
For this entrepreneur, e-commerce is where growth lies

Sung-joo Kim may have achieved runway success in revitalizing the German luxury goods brand MCM, but the fashion entrepreneur is constantly thinking how to cater to the tastes of the next generation.

The CEO of MCM Holdings and founder of Sung-joo Group, which has more than 300 stores worldwide, is now targeting what she calls the "TGIF generation."

"It's not 'Thank God it's Friday', its Twitter, Google, Instagram and Facebook generation," she said told CNBC in Seoul.

It's a strategy that's worked well for the 59-year-old, best known for transforming the everyday backpack into a luxury item.

Sung-joo Kim, CEO of MCM Holdings and founder of Sung-joo Group.
Getty Images

"I remember when I was sitting with the chief buyer at Harrods in London, he thought I was crazy. Even my team did not believe it," she told CNBC's Martin Soong, in an interview for CNBC's Entrepreneur Asia: Power Players.

She currently has her sights on designing a bag without requiring the use of hands, for what she describes as a market increasingly on the move.

"We're making a hands-free bag, because we're aiming for the future 21st century a global nomad lifestyle," she said.

She is however more guarded on chasing China, one of her biggest markets. MCM has 40+ stores in the mainland but the brand is only in key cities.

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"It's really the future growth market but still, you have to really make the balance and not go after everything," she said.

On the prospects of an initial public offering, Kim is more cautious especially on the back of other luxury brands heading down that route.

"I'm not in a hurry because I know many brands strived to quantify their business, maximize their value and go for a big IPO. Then what happens? It all goes down and they lose their clear identity," she said.

For more on Sung-joo Kim's interview, tune in to Entrepreneur Asia: Power Players on CNBC. The episode will air on June 4, at 5:30pm sin/hk, with repeats over the weekend.