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Musinsa : Online shop creates offline opportunities


Online fashion retailer Musinsa held a presentation to introduce its newly opened Musinsa Studio and announce its goal of reaching a total sales volume of 1 trillion won (US$902 million) by 2020 in Dongdaemun, central Seoul.

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Musinsa, Korea’s largest online fashion retailer, was founded in 2001 as a fashion message board where users shared fashion tips and photos with one another and developed into a small online shopping outlet in September 2004 after it gained popularity among young Korean fashionistas. Its sales volume reached 30 million won last year and is estimated to make a total of 42 billion won by the end of 2018. There are currently around 3,500 different brands that sell their products through Musinsa, with the number growing daily.

On June 15, Musinsa Studio opened its doors, taking up four floors of the Hyundai City Outlet Dongdaemun branch and offering space to small fashion-related companies. Musinsa has always focused on its online business, and this is the company’s first big step out into offline retail. Many in the fashion industry have taken note that Musinsa didn’t build an offline store, but rather an open studio for smaller, younger businesses to grow.

“We believe that the two most important things for Musinsa are the brand and the customers,” said Seo Seung-wan, head of the business development team. “So instead of building an offline store, which would limit our communication with customers only through that particular branch, we decided to open up a space for brands [that sell their products on Musinsa] and their customers. The brands [that sell through Musinsa] have grown along with us through the years. So we don’t just sell their things. We are also building an ecosystem with them.”

Small businesses, even one-person start-ups, can rent a studio space for a minimum of three months, during which the occupants may use the many facilities provided by the company, including the meeting rooms, seminar rooms, free repair service, photography studio and discounted parcel service. Businesses that entered the space early this summer represent a diverse range of talent, from fashion designers and textiles developers to film producers who create fashion-related content.

The two basement floors contain storage rooms, photo studios and parcel services that occupants can use. “The cost for a box for delivery is set at 3,000 won all across Dongdaemun,” said Lee Ji-hye, a manager of the studio. “Here, we have a staff from CJ Logistics who takes care of all the deliveries everyday at half that price. The doors of the packing zone lead straight out into the parking lot, cutting time and money.”

The 13th floor houses the brands and an office for the Musinsa customer service team, which Seo emphasized is part of Musinsa’s communication strategy. “We had 20 staff members on the customer service team, but the new office can hold up to 200. Communication is the one thing that we hold most sincerely at Musinsa, so that customers start to believe they don’t have to shop anywhere else. Rather than having an offline store, we can communicate with more customers this way.”

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Through all these means, Musinsa hopes to maintain its position as No. 1 in Korea and further develop into Asia’s biggest online fashion business. “Everything that we do is focused on providing customers with the best experience in online shopping and fashion, and it will always stay that way,” said Seo.

To celebrate the official opening of the studio, Musinsa is holding the first offline Musinsa Market on the 12th floor on August 29 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Get off at Dongdaemun History and Culture Park station.