5 Ways The Korean Concept Of ‘Jeong’ Can Help Your Business And Career, According To Charlotte Cho

Charlotte Cho, creator of “The Little Book of Jeong”, Photo Credit: Iason Sarris

Photo Credit: Iason Sarris

As the cofounder of Soko Glam, founding father of skincare model, Then I Met You, and bestselling creator of The Little Book of Skin Care: Korean Beauty Secrets for Healthy, Glowing Skin, Charlotte Cho is named the “Queen of Ok-Beauty.” After all, she has constructed her profession primarily based on Korea’s “pores and skin first” philosophy.

But she is extra multidimensional than that.
So a lot so, her latest e book, The Little Book of Jeong: The Korean Art of Building Deep Connections — And How It Changed My Life (which shall be launched in July and is at the moment obtainable for preorder) proves that jeong shouldn’t be solely highly effective, however it could actually rework your small business, your profession and your life.
Jeong (pronounced “chung”) is among the most essential Korean cultural values. It will be described as a sense of loyalty and of robust emotional connection to folks and locations. It goes deeper than love and friendship, and grows stronger with time. And it’s a philosophy constructed on the essence of empathy, vulnerability, kindness, and paying it ahead. Jeong is the alternative of “love at first sight” — it’s a magical connection that deepens steadily. It encourages being current in your interactions with folks, as a way to domesticate higher understanding of one another.

A followup to Cho’s worldwide bestseller, The Little Book of Skin Care, her latest e book is each an entrepreneurial story and an ode to the Korean precept that modified the trajectory of her personal life.

Cho, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, headed to South Korea, and obtained a job in public relations and communications at Samsung — with out barely understanding the language or anybody in Seoul. While there, two main philosophies remodeled her life: the fantastic thing about Korean skincare and the magic of jeong. (It’s additionally the place she met her accomplice in enterprise and life, David Cho, her Soko Glam cofounder and husband.)

Upon returning to the U.S., the husband and spouse duo determined to share all of the methods of the Korean magnificence commerce (manufacturers, suggestions and instruments), with the 2o12 launch of the e-commerce website, Soko Glam. Although they had been confronted with resistance on the time — some folks questioned why North Americans would wish to purchase skincare merchandise from manufacturers they’ve by no means heard of, in an period the place legacy manufacturers had been nonetheless on the high of the sweetness sport — the cofounders stayed the course and launched Soko Glam (at present Soko Glam is a number one skincare e-commerce and digital platform, together with its sister content material website, The Klog).
“After I completed writing The Little Book of Skin Care, I instantly knew that I needed to share the idea of jeong, which is the opposite factor I discovered whereas residing in Korea. And though — or possibly as a result of — The Little Book of Skin Care was a business success, internationally translated in 10 languages and a bestseller in several international locations, publishers needed me to jot down one other skincare e book as a substitute of 1 centered on jeong.”
As is a standard theme in Cho’s profession, she adopted her intestine once more when she determined to self-publish The Little Book of Jeong.
“So what I ended up doing is actually what I’ve really achieved all through my profession —when I’m enthusiastic about one thing, I’ll do no matter it takes to truly obtain that. So I made a decision that I’m going to get this e book on the market alone. I ended up having a really gifted group of illustrators and editors who believed in me, and I used to be capable of take full management of this story and produce my imaginative and prescient to life in the best way that I needed to. The lesson right here is that I’m not going to be pigeonholed right into a class that publishers, or anybody, deem is appropriate for me or not. They thought skincare is my area of interest, and I’m telling them that there is extra to me than simply skincare. And particularly since I consider the world wants to listen to concerning the idea of jeong now greater than ever, I’m actually injecting one thing optimistic out on the earth.”
Today, the idea of jeong is much more related after over a 12 months of social distancing and craving human connection, and at a time when kindness and empathy are wanted greater than ever.
I spoke with Cho about The Little Book of Jeong forward of its official launch (and through Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month), and about how infusing some jeong in your individual day-to-day enterprise and model can yield highly effective outcomes.

“The Little Book of Jeong”, Photo Credit: Courtesy of Charlotte Cho

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Charlotte Cho

1- Jeong Can Inspire Strong Product Development & Branding
Cho infused jeong within the creation of her personal skincare model, Then I Met You. (*5*) concerning the model, which was launched in 2018 and has since gone on to win many illustrious skincare and wonder awards, was designed and developed with the idea of jeong in thoughts. Its ethos is all concerning the significance of taking one’s time, having fun with each minute of one’s skincare ritual, and “glowing deeper.”
Then I Met You took years to conceptualize and develop, as Cho meticulously oversaw each element from the product to the packaging — even when builders and producers advised her that the impact she needed to create may not be precisely as she envisioned it.
“The greatest outcomes had been created after we didn’t rush the method. For instance, the Living Cleansing Balm took over two years to develop. And that is nonetheless our primary product. It’s not about dashing to market, to capitalize on a pattern.”
The proof is within the pudding (or balm): the Living Cleansing Balm has already earned 9 business awards and accolades.
This challenges the favored startup philosophy of “work quick, repair small errors later,” however as evidenced by Then I Met You, displaying the extent of consideration put into product growth and branding can repay and show that it’s value not dashing the method.
With new magnificence and skincare merchandise dropping at warp pace, a founder is perhaps compelled to go searching at opponents. But jeong will remind you to maintain your head down, block out the muddle and focus in your intention and purpose.
Cho provides: “Taking your time and never dashing the method may help you chop by means of the noise and actually stand out and be differentiated. That’s additionally the advantage of buying from an indie model, as a client — as a result of the founders concerned are actually placing their coronary heart and soul into investing their time in producing merchandise that they are often pleased with, as a result of their title is behind it.”
2- Human Resources Can Use Jeong As A Hiring Tool
An integral a part of jeong is the power to genuinely care about one thing a lot, it results in pure dedication, relatively than doing issues whereas at all times anticipating one thing in return.
When Cho arrived in South Korea, she made a robust impression with the hiring group at Samsung partially due to how she spoke concerning the tight bond and gratitude she has for her mother and father — she showcased vulnerability in that encounter. The three gents who interviewed her (certainly one of which was a vp, Mr. Hong, who has been an essential mentor for Cho) acknowledged the robust sense of jeong she had for her household — and so they knew she’s the kind of one that may also develop this kind of connection and jeong with the corporate she labored at.
“As a place to begin, we will use that device to acknowledge potential hires,” Cho explains. “For instance, does this particular person have the capability to offer with out anticipating one thing in return, and never at all times attempt to reap the rewards and advantages for themselves?”
3- Jeong Can Be Implemented By Customer Service
Community and buyer care are each integral pillars for Soko Glam and Then I Met You. For instance, on the Soko Glam website, the group gives one thing known as Skin Concierge, which is skincare recommendation through textual content message by its pores and skin specialists. “And our philosophy is to at all times assist as a lot as potential by providing skincare recommendation and to not push merchandise,” Cho explains. “We are much more considerate. We wish to assist and educate — schooling is the important thing to our interplay with clients. It’s not at all times about promoting a cleanser or moisturizer. It’s greater than that.”
Soko Glam’s mission is to assist all folks consider there are solely ‘good (pores and skin) days forward.’
“We are all about serving to our neighborhood have good days, usually, and we actually stand by that mission,” Cho explains.
4- Jeong Can Build Team Spirit & Employee Satisfaction
In the e book, Cho recounts how throughout her first days at Samsung, her intuition was to have lunch on her personal, at her desk. She rapidly discovered that this isn’t the best way company tradition is completed in South Korea. The group had lunch collectively day-after-day, which led to a stronger household bond.
It was additionally frequent for Cho and her teammates to have afterwork dinners and outings — however don’t get it twisted, though they performed onerous, in addition they labored onerous. The magnificence was that the robust group spirit led to a optimistic company tradition.
Cho explains: “When you will have lunch collectively and also you get to know one another as folks, you see one another, and you’ll empathize higher with one another, outdoors of the work atmosphere. You discover out what sort of challenges your colleagues have of their lives — in spite of everything, everybody has their very own story. And having an organization tradition the place you perceive and empathize with others’ private journey helps and might result in a extra well-rounded office.”
5- It Can Make You A Better Leader Or Manager 
On the subject of empathy, cultivating jeong with group members could make you a greater chief, as a mentor who’s investing in your group members’ progress. Mr. Hong, the VP that Cho labored with at Samsung has been a mentor for Cho, after having cultivated jeong together with her over their 10-year historical past.
Disclaimer: Jeong isn’t all sunshine and roses. Just as a result of it’s guided by empathy, there’s a darkish facet of jeong that may come up when folks don’t set boundaries due to a protracted shared historical past, for instance.
In the case of enterprise, as a colleague, supervisor or founder, it’s by no means really useful to simply accept subpar work, promote an unqualified group member or be a folks pleaser, all within the title of jeong.
The a part of jeong that encourages vulnerability implies that it’s about being actual and accepting onerous truths. Jeong doesn’t encourage getting taken benefit of — that’s the furthest factor from kindness.
“In the work setting, you are not going to advertise everybody, simply since you are empathetic,” Cho warns. “Jeong with folks in your group means you’re capable of have onerous conversations about areas of enchancment or reaching the following stage — you need to be trustworthy. And it is actually essential as a supervisor to be as truthful as potential to assist them develop. You’re really doing them a disservice while you’re not giving them trustworthy suggestions.”
In reality, there are lots of optimistic ways in which jeong can affect your small business, whereas additionally serving to you discover happiness and achievement — jeong can appear to be various things to totally different folks. In Cho’s case, it gave her the gasoline to take her facet hustle and keenness for skincare, and switch it right into a enterprise empire — whereas permitting her to cease and luxuriate in life’s lovely moments alongside the best way.

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About the Author: Jessica