Costory CEO Kim Han-kyun Shares His Entrepreneurial Journey at CKGSB TALK

January 23, 2017

Kim Han-Kyun, CEO of Costory, shared his insights on entrepreneurship to Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) students and alumni through ‘CKGSB TALK.’ Throughout his lecture, he drew on his own experiences to encourage fellow entrepreneurs to be courageous in their entrepreneurial journeys. He noted that there is no success or failure for entrepreneurs, and mistakes will become the foundation for further growth.

Kim Han-Kyun, CEO of Korean cosmetics developer Costory and a student at CKGSB’s Korean EMBA program, shared his story and entrepreneurial journey at CKGSB TALK.

CKGSB TALK is a sharing among CKGSB EMBA students, who reveal their rich experiences and life philosophy with their peers and the Chinese public. The event was held for the first time for CKGSB’s Korean EMBA students.


CKGSB Korean EMBA student Kim Han-Kyun shared his story, titled “Hundreds and Thousands of Mistakes to Avoid One Mistake.” In his talk, Han-Kyun spoke about his brand philosophy through the example of “Papa Recipe,” one of the 5 brands (Papa Recipe, Rose Bride, Crosskin, I’nga, and Ttittang) within Costory, and explained how he came to be a successful entrepreneur.

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He explained that even though today he is known as a young, successful entrepreneur, he has actually made a lot of mistakes since he was a student. “I was not a smart student, nor a wealthy child. Instead, I devoted myself to do what I wanted to do, acquiring almost every license related to the beauty industry including makeup, skin care, nail care, and massage. In particular, my working experience as one of the few male beauty advisors helped me abandon the prejudice that I cannot do something because I am a man.”

He further developed his career at a leading cosmetics company in Korea. He thought that by doing what he wanted to do at his favorite company meant success.

“Even after establishing my own company and came to be known as a successful entrepreneur, I was still making a number of mistakes at home and at work,” explained Kim. There was so much I did not know about staff recruitment or litigation. Until Papa Recipe gained awareness among the public, I had to create and discard seven brands.”

However, he noted that he has tried to learn from all of his experiences. In particular, what he experienced as an employee became a tremendous asset after he started his own business. He was able to create Costory’s welfare program, providing varied opportunities to study and travel for employees.

“Success is a very subjective word, and I am constantly wondering what it means,” he said, “but I think there is no success or failure for entrepreneurs.” Throughout the talk, instead of the word ‘failure,’ he noted that he would rather prefer the word ‘mistake.’ He said that all of his mistakes have become the foundation for growth. He added that “The belief that fear of mistakes could be changed into courage would make the entrepreneurial ecosystem much healthier.”

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By speaking at CKGSB TALK, Kim conveyed his hope with fellow classmates and CKGSB alumni who are about to start new businesses, and encouraged them to learn from their mistakes.

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