A big star has fallen in the hair product industry
Jae Oh Park, Chairman of Sun Taiyang, passes away
BY JUYOUNG SUNG
Near the end of 2022, we had unexpected sad news. It is about Chairman Jae Oh Park of Sun Group who passed away last Christmas Eve in the presence of his loving family. He was 91. He left five children and eleven grandchildren and his wife Mrs. Hak E Park. He was a beloved husband, father, and grandfather, and he founded and led the Sun Group that has expanded across the four continents including America, Africa, Asia, and Europe and is still growing.
Pioneer who made Korean wig industry a global industry
Chairman Jae Oh Park was born on February 19, 1931 in Gyeongsan of Gyeongbuk, South Korea. Growing up at the time when everyone lived with hunger and lacked necessity, he started his business activities early on. He sold Gyeongsan apples at Namdaemun Market in Seoul, bought match boxes with the money and sold them at Daegu Market. He rode his bicycle from Gyeongsan to Daegu, Yeongcheon, Gyeongju, and Pohang while offering pig grooming and collecting scrap metals in order to raise money to start a business. Then, he chose the human hair business. In 1965, Chairman Park decided to produce wigs in his home country, then the top export of South Korea, and built a wig factory in Daegu. From that moment, his lifelong devotion to the wig business started.
When the development of synthetic hair threatened human hair business, Chairman Park founded Taiyang in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do and focused on exporting synthetic hair products. When the U.S. wig market saturated and excessive competition made it hard to receive orders in his home country, he made a critical decision. It was to be directly involved in the U.S. distribution. That is how, in 1976, Sun Taiyang Co., Ltd. was established in Midtown Manhattan at the center of New York City. Also, that is when Chairman Park’s strong will and leadership started to shine.
In the 1980s, he founded a total of 5 companies including Hair Zone, following Sun Taiyang, in the U.S., and his focus shifted toward Africa. Including Senecor in Senegal, he built nine manufacturing companies in Africa, and he founded FEME in London, England, targeting the European market. Until he retired for health reasons in 2018, he spent his 40 years building the foundation of manufacturing facilities of Sun Taiyang Group in ten countries.
Business management philosophy of diligence, perseverance, and taking action
Despite being the chairman of Sun Group, he lived a frugal life. His personal possession included a 10-year-old telephone book, and he made scratch papers out of a used notebook to save pennies while spending big for his business and employees. Reserved in his personality, he was humble and respectful and always showed gratitude toward employees, which became the backbone of Sun Taiyang’s guiding principle. The driving force of Sun Taiyang was to communicate effectively with respect for each other in furtherance of fair competition.
Another thing that Chairman Jae Oh Park always spoke was to “never give up, seek an opportunity.” During his whole life, he believed in and lived by the virtue of perseverance where you never give up on something you started. His display of diligence, perseverance, and taking action through his life is the biggest inheritance to his family as well as to all members of the Sun Group.
Farewell to Chairman Jae Oh Park Service, held at Promise Church, New Jersey on December 28th, and the funeral service, held next day at Blackley Funeral Home, were attended by a large number of people including his family members while much more mourned from various places. The big star who led a generation of hair product industry has fallen. Although the star has fallen, its light still lingers in the sky.