John Chang of the KISS Group made a generous donation for this convention. Over 500 companies and more than 3,000 Korean business people, along with entrepreneurs from North and South America, will participate in this grand event. The budget for the event, which lasts for four days, amounts to 6 million dollars. While it is sponsored by a Korean governmental agency (Overseas Koreans Agency), it's a challenging goal for the main organizer, the Korean American Chamber of Commerce in Orange County (OC), to manage alone. It was a significant challenge for the OC Korean Chamber, who won the right to host this event.
However, in September of that year, Chairman John Chang stepped forward. He decided to sponsor $500,000, which is one-tenth of the total budget. In the early days, when the organizing committee for the convention, centered around the OC Korean Chamber, was struggling to raise funds, Chang's sponsorship was unparalleled and the largest to date.
John Chang commented, “I remember the journey that the KISS Group has been on. I hope the World Han Business Meeting, where Korean business people from all over the world gather, will have meaningful and positive outcomes. I simply wanted to offer a small help.”
The KISS Group will also directly participate in the event. They plan to invest around $300,000 to set up a large showroom and have 11 employees engage in business exchanges with competent Korean merchants from around the world. Chairman Chang stated, “I believe the World Han Business Meeting isn't just for Koreans but an opportunity for business people from around the world. I hope to gain a lot of meaningful insights from this event.”
KISS is a total beauty company. They sell various products tailored to different markets in over 100 countries, including fashion nails, eyelashes, skincare, color cosmetics, hair care, wigs, and various professional devices used in beauty salons. They have over ten brands and thousands of products. The company, which is known to be the third-largest in the cosmetic channels of large distribution chains in the U.S. after L'Oreal and Coty, is headquartered in Long Island, New York. They have 13 global branches and employ over 12,000 people.
John Chang is originally from Hamyang, Gyeongsangnam-do. He immigrated with his family just before entering high school. As the second of four siblings, he worked in various places like strawberry farms, tree farms, and can factories to help support his family during his school years. After high school, he majored in business at Michigan University and later entered the workforce.
His career took a pivotal turn when his sibling in New York began selling artificial nails. He sensed a big market opportunity to popularize artificial nails as a product that individuals could easily customize to express their personality.
Thus, in 1986, John Chang started a business. Establishing a brand became essential for growth, leading to the founding of the now well-known company "KISS" in 1989.
When asked why he named his company 'KISS', he replied, “At the end of a safe day, I was inspired by the everyday act of sharing kisses with family in gratitude.” This warmth, unity, love, beauty, success, and passion reflected in the initial spirit of John Chang still resonates in the company's management.
KISS Group continues to invest in R&D to ensure that consumers can achieve beauty with the best eco-friendly products. Their motto, "Bring the Salon Home", emphasizes providing the best customer service. They also cherish their employees as the company's significant assets, offering training and a program to visit Korea. They even celebrate Korean holidays with their employees. The group has established research institutes and logistics centers in Pangyo and Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do, creating jobs and importing over $70 million worth of products annually, contributing to Korea's economic growth.
For his hometown, Hamyang, John Chang has held feasts for the elderly eight times since 2007, serving meals to 2,000 seniors each time and building community halls and health centers. He has also been inviting 25 middle school students from Hamyang County to experience the U.S. for 10 days, a program which has been running for its 18th year now. In addition to these efforts, he has consistently engaged in community service by donating funds and supplies to various organizations. Due to his contributions, he was awarded the Presidential Award of South Korea in 2016 and was also chosen as the recipient of the 8th Jang Bo-go Han Business Award last August.