My name is Grace Yoo and I am the founder of Sunmi Co. Sunmi Co is a concept I developed in March of 2019 as an alternative to the fast fashion industry. Each year the fast fashion industry emits 15% of our globe's total carbon emissions while also perpetuating the inhumane practices of child labor, bonded labor, poor working conditions, etc. Thus, Sunmi Co was created to challenge the norms of "how business has always been done". How do we do it? Well, all of our products are hand made from second-hand clothing. We quite literally take clothes apart and envision them into something new. Breathing new life into clothing that has already lived. Each item is 1/1, meaning there is only one of each product that is ever sold. Think of it as an "original" art piece. Surely copies could be produced by some large corporation but we are not interested in mass production. Rather, we devote our efforts to novelty, authenticity, and sustainability. Far too many businesses get to a point of scalability where they end up sacrificing ethics for profit. Rest assured that we put the environment, the world, and the people within it first before anything else.
"Sunmi" is my Korean middle name and it means "pure beauty". Growing up I struggled with my identity being Asian American because I didn't "look" Korean. Since I didn't "look" the part people viewed me differently when I "played" the part. As a little kid I would bring bento boxes to school for lunch full of Asian meals and my peers would plug their noses in disgust and make fun of me. Back then and even now when I tell people I am Korean/Asian they look at me, pull their eyes, and say "Oh, you mean like this?". For a while I was embarrassed to be Korean, but now it is one of the things I am most proud to represent. The reason I named my company after my Korean heritage was to say that no matter who you are, where you come from, how you identify; you are welcome here.
Sunmi Co is a place you can come to with curiosity about who you are. It is my belief that the clothing we wear is a direct representation of our outward identities and we are so honored to be apart of that journey along side you.