Jaclyn Jhin is founder of athletic wear brand, Hu-nu. An exercise enthusiast who loves all types of exercise, Jaclyn started Hu-Nu in 2012 to make cutting-edge fashionable athletic activewear that looks good for everyday wear as well as the gym. Jaclyn left a successful career in banking prior to pursing her dream of being an entrepreneur and has taken Hu-nu to new markets like Singapore, Taiwan and is now opening up the US market. We talk to her about Hu-nu and what it means to be an entrepreneur.
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I am Korean, but grew up in the US. I have been living in Hong Kong for 18 years! I am an exercise enthusiast who loves going to the gym, I love all types of exercise and have done every kind of class including kickboxing, yoga, body combat, body pump, circuit training, spinning and Zumba. As a working mom with two kids, I wanted exercise gear that I could feel comfortable running around town and which would allow me to slip into a gym class or yoga class when I had the time. Basically, what i wanted was fashionable activewear, but when I realised that I could not find this, it inspired me to launch Hu-nu Activewear. Hu-nu is a play on words — “Hu-nu’’ (who knew) that you were actually wearing activewear? We make fashionable athletic wear that looks so stylish that no one will even know you’re dressed for the gym.
Prior to starting Hu-nu, I was a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong. In June 2012, I realized that it was time for me to move on to fulfil my dream of being an entrepreneur, so that is when I left Morgan Stanley to start Hu-nu.
What’s lined up for Hu-nu in 2014…
I started Hu-nu in June 2012 and we are currently selling in the US, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.
In addition, at Hu-nu, it is important to us to not only create beauty and comfort to customers, but also to bring hope and help to people in need. That is exactly the reason why we carry out the Giving Back Project. In every collection, we earmark one tank top where US$3 of every sale for that tank will go towards helping a particular person. So far, we have helped a 10 year blind boy in Hong Kong with Retinoblastoma get a Braille computer, a 12 year old girl in the Philippines get rid of a tumorous growth in her face, and 10 year old boy who we helped correct his eye disorder.
We are excited for 2014 because we are introducing two new fabrics. For SS2014, we have a pullover called Young that is made from fabric patented and developed in Spain, which incorporates thousands of anti-ox micro-capsules that contain Vitamin E and Aloe Vera. The fabric not only protects your skin from sunrays since it has over SPF50, but it can be quite effective in hydrating and moisturizing.
For FW2014, we are introducing our innovative nanomineral fabric. It is amazing fabric because this fiber is rich in mineral content (it consists of more than 20 different types of natural nano-mineral trace elements). The nanomineral magnetic energy helps promote blood circulation and improve metabolism.
Describe your style…
A quote that inspires you…
I have two. Both are from Mother Teresa and I have lived by these quotes to remind me that even small things can make a difference:
“There are many people who can do big things, but there are very few people who will do the small things. Do small things, with great love.”
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”
A reflection of who you are, so make it your own unique style.
Best advise you’ve been given…
Regarding life, it was from my uncle who said, “never live your life to have regrets”. And with fashion, I once read an article several years ago from a 68 year old lady who said that she wishes that she had embraced her body when she was younger. When she was younger (meaning before the age of 50), she never wore things that she would have loved to worn (such as, bikinis or short skirts) because at that time she didn’t think she was skinny enough or her body was attractive enough. She said that she never loved her body and always complained about her body’s flaws. However, in retrospect, she realises now that she should have been more proud of her body because there was nothing wrong with her body back then, and compared to her aged body now, (where gravity seems to affect all parts of her body) her body was in fact, fantastic.
Message is to love and embrace your body now! Even for me now, when I look back at when I was 18, I always ask myself why was I so embarrassed to wear a bikini? I should have wore it more! So, my question to you is — who says you are not skinny enough to wear a form fitting Herve Leger dress? Only you!
Advice to your daughter..
Unfortunately I don’t have a daughter (I have two sons), but I have a step-daughter, many nieces and god-daughters, so my advice to them is instead of wasting their money every year on buying tons of stuff from cheap places, save your money and buy one or two basic, timeless, well-made, good quality pieces because they will last longer and you will be saving the environment at the same time!
Most important lessons learnt in starting a new fashion label in Hong Kong…
It is not easy (I actually have a blog titled starting a business is not easy)! I always tell my friend who want to start their own business to talk to people in the business before they do anything. It is not as glamorous as they may think (there is a lot of grunt work) and it takes a lot of patience and persistence.
A change you want to make in the world….
I know this sounds corny, but it would be that everyone was more generous and kind to one another. If we could all be less selfish and stop thinking only about ourselves, imagine what an amazing world this would be.
If I could pick a second change, it would be that people took climate change seriously and everyone did something about it!
What does your work wardrobe consist of?
I like soft, super thin, loose fitting cashmere tops that you can wear as a layering piece. Alice and Olivia has some great pieces. I am also a fan of the pencil skirt (Gucci always has great pencil skirts) and classic DVF dresses. Of course, I always wear Hu-nu clothes a lot – not just to the gym (I workout almost every day) but also to the office.
A style mantra..
I always wear heels. I feel feminine, sexy and confident with high heels. Even on the weekend, I will wear heels (usually wedges).
3 books that have inspired you…
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
- Life without Limits by Nick Vujicic
3 songs you love …
- I Believe – Shin Seung Hun
It is from the Korean movie, My Sassy Girl. My husband and I love the melody, so we have it on our wedding website.
- Bad Day – Daniel Powter
My husband and I play this song every time we go to our villa in Bali, so it reminds me of Bali, warm weather and relaxation
- Rolling in the deep – Adele
Who doesn’t love this song! It is beautiful and my 11 year old niece can sing this perfectly
The top 3 places in Hong Kong you shop at…
- Landmark – Gucci, Miu Miu, LV and Fendi (basically, all the shops there)
- Diane Von Furstenberg – love their dresses
- Lane Crawford – for shoes, accessories and the various labels there
3 websites / blogs you read religiously daily / weekly and what for…
Photographer: Joyce Yung