Episode 74: Wan Kim (Smoothie King), New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
By Kevin Daum, Marketer, speaker, and columnist for Inc.com
YPO member Wan Kim grew up in a traditional, conservative South Korean family. His father ran a successful electronics business. After Wan graduated from Boston University and received an MBA from the University of California, Irvine, his father expected Wan to return home to Korea to take his place in the company.
But Wan was determined to create his own path. He discovered the Smoothie King brand as a student in the United States and began his entrepreneurial journey as a franchisee in Seoul, South Korea. Within 10 years, Wan had grown a network of 130 Smoothie King franchises in a country that hadn’t previously known what a smoothie was.
In 2012, Wan bought the entire Smoothie King company and has achieved considerable success in growing the business. In 2017, Ernst & Young named Wan Entrepreneur of the Year.
In this episode, Wan shares his transformation from Korean son to the CEO of a top American brand.
Made possible with grants from Gazelles Growth Institute.