Knowing Dowan Kim: The Korean-American Millionaire Who Calls the Philippines His Home -
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Knowing Dowan Kim: The Korean-American Millionaire Who Calls the Philippines His Home

Knowing Dowan Kim: The Korean-American Millionaire Who Calls the Philippines His Home

Business & Career | September 23, 2021
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Clickshare Media Ventures founder Dowan Kim bares the story behind his humble beginnings, and how he was able to find his own “heartbeat” in the Philippines

It is by no means a stretch to say that Dowan Kim has seen it all. Reaching the apex of his life, this self-made millennial has bucked the odds of a poverty-stricken childhood, become an accomplished corporate executive, founded a successful startup, and travelled across the globe all before turning 30. Despite this rollercoaster of a life, Kim somehow felt just right at home the moment he first crossed the turnstiles of Ninoy Aquino International Airport. What made him fall in love with the country? What stories make up his exciting journey? What are some tips he can share to those who aspire to be like him? Luckily enough, Kim has the answers to all of your questions below.

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Home is where the heart is

Many Filipinos—for some deeper and more complicated reason—do not usually expect foreigners to fall in love with the Philippines. Luckily, there are non-natives like Kim who are able to dispel this notion, as the Korean-American immediately points out the country’s culture as a strong touchpoint. Loving the food and even more so the people, Kim is no stranger to the inner workings of the inner communities of the country when it comes to business and society, having made inroads as a trusted adviser to corporate executives, politicians, and celebrities.

Beyond culture, Kim cherishes the Philippines as not only his home, but also as the heartbeat of Clickshare Media Ventures (CSMV), as the fast-growing global multi-million dollar e-commerce business places the epicentre of its global operations in the country. Establishing both a personal and entrepreneurial foothold in the country, one must wonder: what is the journey that this interesting man has led to arrive here?

“Of all the Southeast Asian countries that I’ve been to, I really fell in love with the Philippines.” 

Dowan Kim on his love for the Philippines

From deserts, to urban jungles, to tropical islands

As if it were a Hollywood movie, Kim has been able to sum up his life so far into three unique chapters, each with a wonderful progression onto the other. Raised in the arid landscapes of Albuquerque, New Mexico, just across the famed house of Walter White from the hit TV series Breaking Bad, Kim shared that his parents migrated from Korea to the United States without neither a dollar to their name nor an English word in their vocabulary. 

Growing up in poverty, Kim learned at an early age the value of working hard, using this as fuel to propel himself forward in a life of excellence in every pursuit. This led to him earning his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with Summa Cum Laude and Valedictorian honors in The University of New Mexico. Looking to immediately position himself amongst the best of the best, Kim set his eyes straight at Wall Street right after graduating, spending two years at Goldman Sachs in its prestigious two-year analyst program.

While he had a grand time working amongst the sharpest minds of the world right at the epicentre of global finance, Kim simply did not see his future in Wall Street. Wanting to be the holder of his own dominion, Kim envisioned becoming an entrepreneur in Asia. In one fell swoop, one phone call would bring him a step closer to this dream.

Simply put, Kim was offered a job, but it was not the ideal position he had hoped. He was offered an HR post at a Fortune 10 tech company halfway across the world in Singapore, a job where the young investment banker had no prior experience. “I had no idea about HR, about Asia, but I was like: Hey, you know what, if it’s meant to be, it’s supposed to happen, right?”

Facing his destiny

Despite initial qualms, Kim headed out of the States and took the HR post for two years before moving to the company’s advertising-sales department. In this move, Kim was able to talk with small business owners to learn about and optimize their marketing strategies. Kim quickly took these conversations into an opportunity to slowly build his business acumen, meticulously taking notes about what worked and what didn’t from the hundreds of small businesses he was able to interact with.

Fast forward to 2017, and Kim felt primed to launch his very own company for the first time as he entered the niche supplement space. Starting out as a one-man team, the young entrepreneur faced a new kind of struggle as he responded to every customer call, shipped out every package and did everything else in between. As Kim juggled his new responsibilities with his corporate career, his own health could not bear the weight of the world on his shoulders, leading to the young man being hospitalized for an extended period of time.

In spite of the setback, Kim would dust himself and get back up, stronger and sharper than ever after learning from the challenges he faced before. Kim pivoted his business into the direct-to-consumer, consumer goods space; a decision which led to the birth of CSMV. During its first 30 days, CSMV made a mere $4,000 in revenue. The following month, the company made $7,000. By its first quarter, Kim was holding a six-figure business in his hands.

Fast forward to today, and CSMV has become a full-fledged holding company with a portfolio of direct-to-consumer e-commerce brands in the baby, personal care, and beauty care segments. The company has steadily built a vertically integrated operation that covers manufacturing, logistics, distribution, and sales to provide customers with superior products at a great price. 

By delivering a seamless discovery and purchase experience for users across a comprehensive line of products, CSMV has registered three consecutive years of triple-digit growth; maintaining a stronghold of market leadership in each industry it operates. Staging offices in the United States and Singapore, CSMV has just recently moved from its Quezon City space to a bigger spot in Ortigas, fashioned after the offices of Silicon Valley tech companies.

No resting on his laurels

With all of his accomplishments laid out, Kim makes an interesting admission.

“Somehow, I still don’t feel successful,” Kim said. “I know people that are far happier with far less than what I have, so I think the metric of success is multifold. Growing up I thought success would be making $100,000 a year. At a certain point, I thought making half-a-million-dollars a year would be success, then a million bucks. Our yardstick of success changes.”

As of today, Kim sets his yardstick in making CSMV grow even bigger. “We’re in the midst of one of the largest macro shifts in consumer purchasing behavior; transitioning from traditional brick and mortar retail to online. At CSMV, we’re well positioned to win a disproportionate size of this rapidly growing market.” Beyond business, Kim also plans to get married to his longtime girlfriend soon, while also aspiring for a post in a public office sometime in the distant future.

“As I think about the future, I think success is really going to be living life on my terms with the quality of life that I want, with the freedom that I want.”

Dowan Kim on his love for the Philippines

Visit Dowan Kim’s Clickshare Media Venture at their official website for the latest information on the thriving startup.

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