It’s Time to Change! Dreaming of a Second Leap Forward Crown Pacific, General Manager Steve Hong

It’s Time to Change! Dreaming of a Second Leap Forward

Crown Pacific, General Manager Steve Hong


Crown Pacific Founder and President Soo Kang Hong (left) and his son, General Manager Steve Hong


“‘Heavy is the head that wears the crown” is a famous quote from Henry IV by William Shakespeare. Second-generation beauty supply business owners can be said to be born with a crown. Inheriting the accomplishments of the first generation may seem like a head start, but there’s always the pressure to build further on what their parents struggled to achieve. Unlike previous generations who reaped what they sowed, the business environment has changed a lot, and many are struggling between what they’ve seen and learned growing up and completely new challenges. We spoke to General Manager Steve Hong, Crown Pacific’s second-generation, to find out what are the issues he is currently dealing with.


Crown Pacific was founded in 1992 in Atlanta. Founder and President Soo Kang Hong, who previously worked for leading Korean wig companies such as Seoul Trading and Misung, as well as Royal Imax in Los Angeles, established the company in Atlanta, not a common choice for a wig company at the time, and the company has been one of the leaders in the braid and wig industry for more than 30 years. Today, Founder Soo Kang Hong’s son, Steve Hong, is in charge of its day-to-day operations.

Crown Pacific group headquarters in Atlanta



The second-generation Hong started out at Crown Pacific’s warehouse

It was about 20 years ago that Steve Hong joined Crown Pacific. By the time, Mr. Hong had received a degree in information systems in college and worked in New York City, but at his father’s request to join the company, he dropped everything and moved down to Atlanta.

“It was a different path than my expectations upon graduation, so I was a little worried. But my father told me that this business was good and would be good for a long time, so I decided to go for it. Being an only son, I had no real choice, and it also helped that the company was doing really well at the time.”

According to President Hong, the company was generating more than $10 million in monthly wig sales alone.Thanks to his father, Mr. Hong entered the hair industry during its golden age at an early age. But his entry wasn’t that cushy.

“I started out working in the warehouse. I needed to learn about the products first. Then I did retail deliveries, pickups, sales, ordering, accounting… I learned every aspect of the business through hands-on experience because I had to know the whole business.”


Keeping the tradition of how they do business but with changes

One of the things he learned most solidly from his father was the importance of relationships.

“He always emphasized that you had to have a good relationship with the manufacturing side as well as the retail side. That’s the only way to maintain the quality of products. He believed in his people like no other. He’s always willing to trust employees and be more flexible, so we have very low employee turnover.”

In that respect, he inherited his father’s approach intact. This has helped Crown Pacific maintain its long-standing reputation, and the company still has a majority of employees who have been with the company for more than 10 years.

Of course, he doesn’t run the company exactly the same way as his father did. Conflict over different views and personalities is a common problem between two generations of business running.

“My dad is very driven and he’s the type of person who does things fast while I’m not. So there was friction there. Also, different generations think differently. When I talk to other hair company’s second generations, I find similarities there. I think there are some things that all first generations and all second generations share among them.”

President Soo Kang Hong’s business mantra


The landscape of the beauty industry in Atlanta has changed a lot. When Crown Pacific was founded, there were only a handful of hair companies in Atlanta, so there wasn’t a lot of competition. Keeping products in stock steadily was the biggest concern. When Toyokalon and Kanekalon braids were popular, three to four containers full of braid products were sold a month. But now, with more than a dozen companies large and small in Atlanta alone, and big hair companies entering the braid market, competition is fierce. That’s why Mr. Hong is pushing for a joint venture with chemical company LocN.


Crown Pacific and LocN collaborate on ‘LocN Braids’

“You do a lot of cross-branding these days. The truth is, hair companies only know hair, they have no idea what makes a best selling chemical product. But then I met LocN by chance and realized that there was a synergy expected in collaboration. LocN is known for their braid gel and we’re known for our braids, and we made LocN braids together. We plan to continue to release more products in the future.”

Working with LocN was also a turning point in their PR strategy. Originally, Crown Pacific was a company that spent little in advertising, but Mr. Hong has long realized that the time has changed and with LocN’s in the lead, the company is now in the marketing game.

“We used to sell well without advertising, but now we realize that we need to be active in marketing as well. So we’re doing a lot of shows and promoting products on social media. We will continue to showcase our products at various shows and events, including Premiere, Cosmoprof, Korean American Association’s show, American Show, HEBS, and more.”

LocN braids showcased at the Taliah Waajid show

Instagram, TikTok, Facebook @locnbraid_crown




*Mr. Hong’s top picks for Crown’s hot new releases

1. 3x LocN Pre Stretched Braid 32″, 42″, 52″

Braiders Test & Approved/ Made with 100% Kanekalon Afrelle


2. 3x Locn Twist N Locs 16″, 24″

Made with 100% Kanekalon for Easy Twist N Locs and Versatile Styling



3. 3x Prestretched Xtreme Braid 36″, 48″, 60″

Made In Senegal with 100% Kanekalon Afrelle




4. 3x Prestretched Spetra Braid 20″, 25″

Made With 100% Spetra Fiber/ Big Volume and Big Value




Hair Industry Will Rebound

There’s a lot of talk about the hair industry being in crisis, with the recession, online competition, and so on. As a second-generation who has seen both the golden age and the current struggle, how does Mr. Hong see the future of the industry?

“I think it’ll get better in a little while. Of course, the marketplace will evolve. Nowadays, even hair companies are getting into chemicals a little bit. And that’s why we’re working with LocN to try new things. The same goes for online competition. No market can go 100% either way. Just as places like Walmart continue to maintain brick-and-mortar stores even as online retail takes over. I’m hopeful that both the hair industry and beauty supply retail will eventually rebound, because there are markets with different needs.


20 Years in the Hair Industry, People to Thank

The path he wanted to take and the path his parents paved for him, second generations are always at a crossroads. If he had stuck to his choice of major, Mr. Hong could have had another life as a professional in his field of study. He started in the hair industry in his late 20s, and 20 years later, would he have no regrets about choosing the career?

“I’d be lying if I said I never regretted it. But my dad worked so hard to build it, so I feel like I have to keep it going. And there are a lot of old-timers in the company, so it’s always nice to have someone I can talk to anytime. I’m also happy that I’m able to spend quality time with my family. I love sports, mostly I play tennis, and I get to play with my kids and talk about the game, and that’s what makes me happy.”

When asked about people he’s most grateful for, Mr.Hong doesn’t hesitate to point to the customers who have been with the company since his father.

There are a lot of people who have believed in us for 32 years and provided unyielding support. We’re not a very big company, but we’ve been around for a long time and have a good reputation, so customers are willing to support us if all other things are equal. We have a great relationship with the manufacturers, so they help us a lot too. I’m always so grateful to them, because I wouldn’t have gotten this far without them. So we’re going to continue to give back to our customers by making better products that sell well in the market. Please stay tuned for Crown.”



Crown Pacific Group
3121 Oakcliff industrial st. Doraville, Ga 30340
770-455-0089, 1-800-728-7373





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