'Inventor' with Pride: Businessman with an Engineering Background

December 8, 2023
CEO Kim Cheol-hong of EcoPoint

"If I had stayed as an engineer, I might have been economically prosperous. However, I find pride in the word written on my business card."

With a smile, CEO Kim Cheol-hong of EcoPoint made this remark. His business card reads 'CEO' with the addition in parentheses:'Inventor.'"8 Years of Trial and Error:The Birth of a Non-powered Natural Ventilation Mattress through Creative Ideas."

After working as an engineer for 25 years in foreign and large companies, CEO Kim Cheol-hong ventured into the business world. Contemplating the gradually aging society, he conceived a mattress and cushion that could achieve 'natural ventilation' without any power source.

Kim's product features a structure called AIR CELL made from TPU (Thermoplastic Poly Urethane) material. He referred to it as 'Crown Cell,' likening it to a crown structure. Although it may seem simple at first glance, it took eight years to develop this crown structure.

By personally creating molds and producing the product, he could discover the problems and challenges. Enduring eight years of research without sales during the development period was not an easy feat.

"It wasn't originally the crown structure we aimed for, but after numerous trials and errors, we completed it with this structure. If I had imitated others, it might have been easier," he said.

When asked why he didn't choose imitation, he replied, "Because I was an engineer, and it was a creative idea." Reflecting on his journey, CEO Kim Cheol-hong expressed confidence in his expertise in mold design, manufacturing, and production technology.

'Inventor' with Pride: Businessman with an Engineering Background

"Colliding with the Marketing Wall Despite Engineering Skills"

CEO Kim, who started the business believing in technology, faced an unexpected hurdle:'marketing.'

"Working solely as an engineer, I lacked knowledge of marketing skills or systems, and it posed difficulties for me. It's still a challenge that I need to overcome."

Over the eight years of product development, the funds set aside as a foundation were depleted. Without sales, utilizing financial institutions was also challenging. He navigated through various challenges, studying marketing along the way. He explained that he is currently managing by exporting cushions to the United States and Japan."

I once appeared on a TV program that introduced innovative products, and I had a tough time dealing with people who were eloquent in marketing. So, I hope to meet buyers who can help with proper overseas exports."

CEO Kim Cheol-hong aims to market the natural ventilation cushion to foreign truck drivers who spend long hours sitting. He mentioned, "The response from existing users is also good." Additionally, he confidently introduced baby mats tailored for the low birthrate era and skin protection mats for the elderly.

'Inventor' with Pride: Businessman with an Engineering Background

"A Happy Inventor Banking on Quality and Technology"

When asked about the top priority value in running the business, CEO Kim replied with the word "quality."

He believed that to have a long-lasting business, he needed to create environmentally friendly and safe products for the human body when starting the business. Despite using eco-friendly materials, which make the product more expensive than similar ones, he emphasized that he would continue research to maintain and upgrade the quality, outlining it as the management philosophy.

For the time being, CEO Kim Cheol-hong plans to focus on increasing sales of the current product. As a secondary plan, he aims to commercialize products using Carbon Nanotube (CNT) heating elements.

"I've been interested in CNT for a long time, and recently, with the increased production of electric cars, the price of CNT has significantly dropped. I plan to commercialize a heating element using CNT because it gives a feeling like a heated floor. Although I've already done the development."

CEO Kim Cheol-hong's eyes sparkled as he explained the new idea he is currently contemplating. He wondered which role brought him more happiness?being an engineer or representing EcoPoint.

"Of course, I am happier now. Even if I haven't succeeded in business, I have an item that I'm not ashamed to present anywhere, so I am much happier."

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