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Women Entrepreneurs by Mauro F. Guillén

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22 Songok Ryu

Traditional Korean Clothing in China

Johanna Kuhn-Osius

While working as a seamstress in the Korean Autonomous Prefecture of China, Songok Ryu realized that innovative design, premium branding, international sourcing, and modern selling techniques were not necessarily at odds with traditional clothing. She arbitrages cost and quality across borders, employing hand-embroiderers in North Korea, sourcing high-quality fabrics in South Korea, and producing in China for a local niche market. She is a borderless entrepreneur in the strictest sense of the term.

“Please wait a few minutes while I call Pyongyang. They are very particular about being called on time,” says Songok Ryu, the premier hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) designer ...

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