What Moves Him
|| WHAT MOVES HIM
A passion for technology, creativity and even race cars helps fuel David Kim’s drive to create the best tools on the market.
Sure, it’s a common story: Parents own beauty supply store, son helps out on the weekends, a love of the beauty biz results. But if there’s anything else that’s common about David Kim, president and CEO of hot tool manufacturer ONE Styling (onestyling.com), we haven’t found it. “In 2003, I was building an e-commerce website for my parents’ store and noticed an explosion in ceramic flat iron sales,” Kim recalls. But rather than simply ordering extra irons, Kim decided to manufacture his own. “I partnered up with a top flat iron factory in Korea and started selling irons door-to-door to salons and from a six-foot folding table at trade shows.” The brand? Oh, you may know it as the instant hit FHI Heat. Last year, Kim, along with a core team that he’s worked with for years, decided to create ONE Styling.
Of course, that’s not to say that launching a new brand in a down economy and crowded market was a cakewalk. “Starting and growing a new company is always a huge undertaking,” Kim states. “But what has been truly inspiring through this whole experience is the realization that this industry is built upon personal relationships. We could never have launched ONE as successfully as we have without the support of our friends in the industry—distributors, salons, stylists, trade publications, suppliers and others.” And if anything, Kim’s passion for the industry is more energized than ever. “At ONE, our mission is to ignite the infinite creativity of stylists by empowering them with the world’s most innovative styling tools,” he enthuses.
And when he says it’s all about the stylist, he means it. Not only has Kim developed the tools based on stylist feedback, but he’s also encouraging you to help with his marketing campaign. Simply log on to the website and upload a picture of yourself and a style you created, indicate the tool you used, and select a tagline to share your work with the styling community. Ultimately, what inspires Kim is a love and enthusiasm for technology—and that’s not just relegated to the beauty industry. “I have a passion for high-performance sports cars,” Kim laughs. “I love to race them, study them, tune them, modify them and collect them—part of my quest to build the ultimate street racer.” Cars aside, Kim asserts that passionate people continually move him. He says with a grin: “That’s why I’m drawn to the beauty industry and the work of great stylists.”