Choe’s Beauty Supply, run by a CPA from one of New York’s top 4 accounting firms
Beauty life dreamed of by an accountant with 31 years of experience
An accounting expert who has worked as an accountant for more than 30 years has been running a 2,500sqf beauty supply alone for four years in Glenville, a small city in southern Georgia. I met the main character, Lee Hak Sun, CEO of ‘Choe’s Beauty Supply’, and heard about his extraordinary life, why he settled here, and the beauty life he creates with customers.
From an accountant to the CEO of Beauty Supply
It was the winter of 2018 when CEO Lee, an accountant at Anderson Accounting Firm, one of the four major accounting firms in New York, decided to quit the company and move to Georgia.
“I used to work 100 hours a week, earn a lot of money, and live a wealthy life. But as time went on, I realized that it wasn’t everything. At some point, the work stress intensified, and I think I asked myself what it meant to live like a wheel.”
In 1987, CEO Lee immigrated to New York with his family after studying business administration at Sogang University. He transferred to Baruch College in New York, majored in accounting, received a CPA certificate, and started a social life at an accounting firm after graduation. It must be a stable life for anyone to see, but CEO Lee said that after working in accounting for over 30 years, one day he hated this job to the point of getting sick of it. So, he persuaded his family and decided to move to another state for his second life, and among Denver-Colorado, Houston-Texas, and Savannah- Georgia, they finally settled on Savannah, which their daughters liked the most.
“My two daughters, now in college, in 9th and 8th grade, loved Savannah because they live in busy New York. So that same day I signed the contract for Savannah’s house.”
He settled in Savannah, Georgia with his loving wife and two daughters
While looking for business in Savannah, he came across a new field of beauty, and with his wife, he took over Joe’s Beauty Supply, located in a small city called Glenville, with the mindset of creating something out of nothing. Glennville, an hour’s drive from Savannah, is a popular onion-growing area with a population of 4,000 in southeast Georgia.
“My wife was a full-time housewife who raised only children, and I am an accountant who has only done accounting work all my life, but rather than anxiety, I started with vague expectations and hopes that if I applied my accounting knowledge to beauty supply, I could do better!!”
CEO Lee started his beauty supply like that for the first time in his life.
Even expensive wigs were displayed in an open state after customers tried them on to see if they fit well
CEO Lee introduced his store as a ‘shop specializing in wigs’. He emphasized that he concentrates on wigs, although braids, human hair, miscellaneous goods, clothes, and chemicals exist. He used mannequins unconditionally to sell wigs well, and even expensive wigs were displayed in an open state so that customers could try them on and judge if they fit well. He says his wigs were damaged and might have been stolen, but he was focused on customer satisfaction. In order to make the small shop look more spacious, CEO Lee divided all products by item and brand by organizing the account book, which is his strength, and emphasized making it easy for customers to find and display beautifully. All bulky box-shaped shoes were disposed of, and only polypolop (sandals) were sold, and braids and crochet hair, which took up a lot of space, were displayed in the store mainly in primary colors.
Although the store is small, it is well organized, so after taking over it, many young people who went to beauty supplies in large cities came to visit and sales steadily increased. Of the total sales, wigs account for 60%, miscellaneous goods and clothing 20%, braiding hair 10%, and chemicals 10%. As a wig specialty store, there are many short-style gray color wigs for middle-aged customers and free A feature of Jo’s Beauty Supply is that there are many parts, glueless wigs, 360-degree human wigs, and colorful wigs.
“It’s much more fun to choose a wig that suits a customer and have a casual conversation than looking at the tax documents. That’s why I’m studying life by learning how to wear a wig day by day.”
It is happiness to give way to customers
Representative Lee always treats customers with a smile even in the face of absurd refund requests or complaints, perhaps thanks to the kindness he acquired while working as an accountant. No matter how difficult a conversation may be for a customer, he never raises his voice or confronts them. Instead, he gives away the product for free or gives a small gift, probably for some reason, to impress the customers.
“It’s a local business. If I wanted to make money, I would have just become an accountant, but as I started with the mindset that losing unconditionally to a customer is happy, now such a customer has become a regular customer, and sales have increased significantly!”
I always approach customers sincerely and with a low attitude, probably because I have felt from my long experience as an accountant that communication, honesty, and infinite service are essential in customer management.
CPA experience works not only for customers but also for salespeople in Wholesale companies
CEO Lee said he had something to tell me, and he brought up a story four years ago when he first took over the store. A time when my wife & I didn’t know anything about hair. From meeting the sales manager of a wholesale hair company with whom my wife had a relationship, she learned from A to Z on wigs, from how to choose a wig to how to sell a wig and how to manage it after use, and got on special secrets—said to have received. Thanks to the learning effect, I opened my eyes to the business by selling 20, 30~40, and some days more than 100 a day. ‘This is what the hair business is like!
Therefore, CEO Lee values relationships with salespeople responsible for store sales. Try new products unconditionally and have all the popular products that are hot for each company. So his store is packed with things from floor to ceiling. It is said that more wigs are piled up in the garage than this.
“It’s selling well. Customers come steadily when there are various items. It’s better if it goes viral, so I definitely have a wig recommended by salespeople.”
The joy of living together and the dream of the future
What’s CEO Lee’s future hopes and life?
“When I was good at accounting and suddenly said I was going to do beauty supply, there was a lot of skepticism around me, but I was able to be brave because I had a wife and two daughters who always trusted and supported me. I will continue my beauty supply here for a long time and live happily with the residents!”
I give vigorous applause to CEO Lee, who has successfully transformed from an accountant to a beauty supply representative, for her upcoming journey!
- Inventory as an expense on the purchase of business
; According to the TCJA (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, P.L. 115-97) which went into effect in 2018, small business owners (less than $5 million per year) are allowed to process costs when purchasing goods. Previously, inventories were treated as assets and then cost when sold, but the revised law made it possible to process charges when purchased. (Per IRC Sec. 471(c) Treat inventories as nonincidental materials and supplies.)
Therefore, if you can adjust Purchase Money Allocation to inventory when selling a business, if a net operating loss occurs due to expense processing in the year of purchase, you can see the effect of tax savings if you plan the appropriate tax.
- Capital Gain Tax – 0%, up to $89,250 for a joint filer
; Profits from selling assets other than business operating income are taxed under the Capital Gain Tax Rate. In 2023, if the income is less than $89,250 when reporting the combined income tax for couples, the capital gains tax is 0%; that is, there is no need to pay the asset sales income tax. If you use it well, you can see the tax-saving effect.