A meat business that started with a box, sales of 10 billion won online

September 7, 2023 0 Comments

In 1987, Lee Mi-ae headed to Gyeongdong Market carrying her 2-year-old son. She sold her meat on a wooden crate and rubber basin in one corner of the market. It was a time when she sold meat on ice without a refrigerator. After her hard work, when her business was on track, Ms. Lee opened her own store and took on the challenge of selling her top-quality Korean beef. The result was a crushing defeat. She was told by customers, “Are you out of your mind to pay 80,000 won for one pound?” She closed her store before completing her lease contract. But she didn’t give up. In 2018, she opened a high-end Korean beef specialty store again on the Internet with her two sons. And it achieved sales of 10 billion won in just three years. Ms. Lee and her family are setting a goal of generating 100 billion won in sales within the next five years. This is the story of Mom’s Korean Beef, which grew into an F&B company by

selling only Tukhung Korean beef on Naver Smart Store . I met the three mother and son who are co-representatives of Mom’s Korean Beef.

Three mothers who are serious about meat, pioneering the Korean beef market

Mom’s Korean Beef is a butcher shop that has been operating in the Gyeongdong Market since 1987. As the number of regular customers continued, his first son, CEO Lee Han-hyung, decided to take over the family business. After graduating from high school, CEO Lee immediately learned meat excavation and shaping at a butcher shop in Majang-dong. This is in accordance with CEO Lee Mi-ae’s will to hand over the store to those who know how to cook meat. His second son, CEO Lee Soo-hyung, also followed in his older brother’s footsteps. He was so passionate about meat that he worked part-time in Majang-dong whenever he was on leave from the military.

The three mother and son, who were confident that they knew Korean beef best, decided to compete with Korean beef. It is the highest grade of Korean beef, divided into grades 1++, 1+, 1, 2, and 3. It is in the top 0.1% of quality and has good taste and aroma, but is 25-30% more expensive than 1+ grade Korean beef. CEO Lee Han-hyeong said, “When I first started selling Tukhung Korean beef, there weren’t many people who knew about it, let alone people who were looking for it.” He explains, “I opened a store that only sells Tungung Korean beef because I wanted to promote Tukhung.”

I opened a store near the butcher shop I was running, but the response was cold. When I told a regular customer that it was 80,000 won per pound, he just turned away. I was even criticized for selling strange meat to make money. There were many instances where the highest quality meat that could not be sold was thrown away. The store leased for two years closed before completing the contract period.

Try again online… Big hit with data marketing and shopping live

Mom’s Korean Beef didn’t give up. This time, we tapped the online market. In 2018, Naver Smart Store began selling Tukhung Korean beef. They maintained their determination to only sell Korean beef, but lowered their margins and raised the price by 15-20% higher than grade 1+ Korean beef.

It was a huge hit ahead of the Chuseok holiday of the first year. I thought there would be less than 100 orders for holiday gifts, but over 1,000 came in. CEO Lee Mi-ae hurriedly contacted long-time business partners here and there to supply meat. We had the meat, but we didn’t have enough ice packs to send along. She choked back tears, canceled many of her orders, and called to apologize. CEO Lee Soo-hyung recalled, “I was happy and confused as sales exceeded 100 million won through holiday gifts alone,” and “It was an opportunity for me to think about establishing a more systematic sales system.”

I started actively using Naver Analytics. It is a tool that analyzes the number of smart store visitors and inflow paths. When a related search term pops up with a video of composer and singer Don Spike grilling a piece of loin meat, the product is sold. I also watched Naver Shopping Live, a live sales broadcast. Customers’ wallets were opened with a ‘mukbang’ where they ate well-marbled, bright red Korean beef grilled. CEO Lee Han-hyeong explained, “We were able to persuade customers who were hesitant to buy just by looking at the detailed explanations and reviews in the smart store.”

As sales volume increased, the business format also changed. Instead of closing the store in Gyeongdong Market, the company opened a factory in Namyangju, Gyeonggi-do. It is 450 pyeong안전놀이터

in size and has a refrigerated warehouse for raw meat, a packing room, and a warehouse for storing finished products. Meat delivery is handled by experts from the Livestock Product Quality Evaluation Institute, a public institution that judges livestock product grades. This is a system in which the product is then shipped from the factory through shaping, aging, and packaging.

Target of 100 billion won in sales within 5 years… Korean beef exports are also promoted

Sales continue to rise. It started with 400 million won in 2018, when the smart store was first opened, and recorded 1 billion won in 2019, 5 billion won in 2020, and 10 billion won in 2021. After switching to Naver Brand Store this year, it achieved daily sales of 600 million won. Unlike smart stores, where anyone can open a store, brand stores can only be opened if certain requirements (brand trademark, popularity, number of sales, etc.) are met. It has grown from a butcher shop to an F&B company with a brand .

If the current trend continues, sales are expected to exceed 13 billion won this year. I was worried that sales would drop when people who used to buy meat online instead of going to the store due to COVID-19 started visiting restaurants again, but it turned out to be unfounded. The repurchase rate is over 30% and the number of corporate customers is increasing. CEO Lee Han-hyeong said, “More than anything, the number of customers searching for and purchasing ‘Mom’s Korean Beef’ has increased,” and added, “It is encouraging that the brand is establishing itself.”

We set a goal of raising sales of 100 billion won within 5 years by focusing on Korean beef. Unlike when they first started the business, there are more competitors, but the three CEOs are confident. Her mother’s experience and her two sons’ ambition are the source of her confidence. Specifically, we plan to expand the category to include pigs and sheep based on our ability to selectively purchase Korean beef. The mid- to long-term goal is to export Tukhung Korean beef overseas. This means changing the main customer from local regulars to a global food ingredients company. Export routes were blocked due to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease this year, but we plan to take on the challenge again once our status as a foot-and-mouth disease-free country is restored.

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