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[Advertorial] Designer-friendly co-working space brings startup idea to life

Acquiring an office space for a fledgling startup is a grueling, if not impossible, task. Hence on the rise were co-working spaces that are shared and utilized by numerous freelancers, independent contractors and other professionals.

Add to that a sense-stirring interior design, 3-D printers ready to use, recreational spaces, regular networking events and even shower booths, and the result is a hybrid version of co-working spaces operated by Hyundai Card.

“Every piece of tableware, every chair, or even a keycard here kept myself keen and gave me a sense of inspiration to my business,” said Yang Gi-ho, chief executive of a smartphone cover design company Frame By.

Frame By CEO Yang Gi-ho (Hyundai Card)
Frame By CEO Yang Gi-ho (Hyundai Card)
“A tipping point lasts for less than a second, but to designers, it counts,” he said. “What this place offers is priceless.”

Yang, 26, is a tenant of Studio Black, a co-working space in Gangnam-gu District in Seoul, which was opened by Hyundai Card in January. The budding startup owner saw his idea -- a cardholding plastic smartphone case -- come to life during his 10-month tenancy since February.

Working 17 hours a day, he took advantage of the 3-D printers inside Studio Black, which enabled him to go through about a thousand trial-and-errors for the first six months.

He was also given a chance to encounter Hyundai Card Vice Chairman Chung Tae-young at a July networking event, and his tenancy has led to more business opportunities.

About a month later, he had a chance to collaborate with Hyundai Card‘s in-house designers for smartphone accessories.

The aspiring designer earlier this year had 10 million won ($9,300) seed money and has since sealed contracts with eight factories in Incheon. Now, the startup has the capability to generate up to 50,000 plastic products a month.

Frame By in November unveiled products fit for 11 types of card products by Hyundai Card. The products are currently on sale in Hyundai Card-affiliated stores, such as M Point Mall online and Design Library offline.

“The smartphone is an everyday product, so its cover is actually a means of self-expression,” he said. “Credit cards are, too, but if we put cards inside a wallet, it’s just hidden inside.”

The next smartphone case design could carry images of football clubs or cartoon characters, he added.

Frame By CEO Yang Gi-ho (Hyundai Card)
Frame By CEO Yang Gi-ho (Hyundai Card)
Defining himself as a designer and engineer, Yang, a graduate of college of products and furniture design at Kingston University in London, stressed a designer should take both design and the process of manufacturing into account.

“It is a designer’s responsibility to take control of the entire process from design to manufacturing, not to compromise with manufacturers and see a downgrading in nifty design,” he said.
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Korea Herald daum