When Jessica Fry left the United States to South Korea about 11 years ago, her aim was to teach English and to save money as she planned on investing in real estate.
Then based in Michigan, she chose South Korea after reading a blog that said “you can come to Korea and work and not have to pay rent,” she told Travel Noire.
When she arrived in South Korea, she soon realized that there were opportunities to create other types of businesses while teaching English.
Living in the area of Pyeongtaek near a large Army and Air Force base, Fry realized that there was a need for Black hair care products. This gave birth to her first business, Honey Hair, which is now one of the largest beauty supply stores in South Korea.
The store has options for customers who do not live close. According to Travel Noire, women all over South Korea, particularly black women, purchase hair and beauty products from the store – products that weren’t usually available for them.
“I wanted to meet the needs of Black women. I have also expanded to being able to meet the needs of women in general, even Asian women. A unique quality that I have is that I’m a great buyer. So, I’m great at finding the trendiest things and products that people need,” Fry said.
With her haircare products store booming, Fry decided to try other businesses. She opened a boutique clothing store that she later sold to the government to make way for a public park.
She and her husband then opened a small sandwich shop which didn’t make it the way they had expected. Nevertheless, the experience they gained would become useful when they opened their second business – a bigger restaurant called JJ’s American Diner.
“The restaurant is really focused on being just like America. It’s a novel experience for the Koreans and a taste of home for the soldiers,” Fry said.
Fry is not done yet as she hopes to launch other businesses such as a swimsuit shop and a natural and holistic health business.
Despite the unfair political attacks black people tend to face in many jurisdictions, they continue to own well-to-do businesses across the world.
In the U.S., the more than 40 million black population is doing the same and in effect, generating revenue and creating jobs. This is in spite of challenges such as access to capital due to years of racial and economic discrimination.
Fry is making it big in South Korea and in the following video, she shares her experiences living in the country as a black woman and her path towards success: