June 17, 2024

Jason Hahn is a Human Interest and Sports Reporter for PEOPLE. He's worked at PEOPLE's Los Angeles Bureau as a writer and reporter since 2017 and has interviewed the likes of Kobe Bryant, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Brady. He has a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University. He previously worked for Complex Magazine in New York City.
Starting a business can sometimes get messy, and that was the case for young entrepreneur Jungmin Kang — literally.
The 18-year-old is behind Snoopslimes, the popular slime toy company that boasts nearly 2 million followers on Instagram and millions more in sales every year.
It only takes one look at Snoopslimes' social media pages to see why the company has been able to amass such a fanbase: Kang's creations melds together both crafts and food, two of the most sought after and popular trends on Instagram.
While Kang’s slime is not edible, the Snoopslimes Instagram page is filled with colorful slime meticulously put together to look like tasty desserts. Kang has essentially turned her slime into an art form.
"Ever since I was young, I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur," Kang, who is still a senior in high school, tells PEOPLE. "I tried all different things from trying to stream my craft videos to selling stickers to my friends. Then in 2017, I came across a satisfying video on the Instagram Explore page."
"I already knew about Silly Putty and slime, but I didn't know people sold it, made it themselves or shipped it out to customers," she continues. "I decided to see what the hype was about, so I made a homemade slime myself, and it was a mess in the beginning. But slowly, I started creating my own recipes, and with a lot of errors and trials, I found a recipe that was good to sell."
Kang, who was 13 and in the seventh grade at the time, asked her parents for $200 to start a business. She began by making slime and selling it on Etsy, then used her social media savvy to grow the brand.
"I started posting my own satisfying videos, basically playing with [the concoctions] with my hands, filming and posting with my iPhone and everything like that," she explains. "After a month of posting, I got my first sale, and soon after, my videos just continuously became viral, and I'm pretty sure I gained over 1 million followers the first year, just by posting. I got a lot of sales from that."
As the Snoopslimes brand (named after a pet bunny named "Snoop") started to expand, Kang turned to social media trends for content ideas.
“I realized that I had to create unique ideas and concepts so I could post more cool, satisfying videos and sell better products than my competitors,” she explains. “I’m also Gen Z and I’m on social media a lot, and I started looking at viral trends to recreate into slime.”
"On TikTok, there was a viral trend with feta cheese pasta. I recreated that with the slime textures and slime ingredients and I realized that paying attention to viral concepts does really, really well," Kang continues. "Because everybody is hooked into it. I look at songs or my hobbies and desserts that are going viral and then basically try recreating it with the ingredients that I have and the textures."
Though Kang's slimy empire grew thanks to social media, she credits her parents with helping spark her early interest in entrepreneurship.
"It's really funny because my dad, he used to be interested in investing and all that," says Kang, who grew up in South Korea and now lives in Texas. "I was 6, and even though I didn't know what the numbers meant, I would always ask him about them when he came back from his job at night."
Kang's father often emphasized his hopes she would one day work for herself instead of someone else. Now, she employs both her parents and dozens of other people.
"He always told me being a CEO, or being an entrepreneur, is a way to grow your own business and create your own ideas," she recalls.
Kang — who will start her first semester of college at the University of Texas at Austin later this year — tries to shine a light on her Korean culture through Snoopslimes, something she says is essential to her.
"When I first started, I usually would create basic slimes that didn't really involve my culture. Because I thought people really wouldn't like it," she admits. "But I realized that it's good to take inspiration from my own unique background, that not everybody has, rather than hide from it."
One of her slime designs is based on a candy called Dalgona, which was recently featured in the Korean TV series Squid Game.
"A lot of people thought that it came from the show, but it's actually a Korean traditional snack and I used to eat that all the time when I was in Korea when I was young," she says.
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For aspiring entrepreneurs who may not know how to start a business, Kang says they should simply start and figure it out step-by-step.
"I started my business when I was 13, and I did not know what was going on. But for young entrepreneurs — if you want to start a business, just do it," she says. "I've always been a just do it person. I like to just try it out first, see if that's something you want to do. And if I didn't know how to create my own website or ship out a product, I did my own research and learned it as I slowly built my business."
"I think if there is something someone is truly passionate about and that they really, really want to make, they should just go for it," Kang adds. "Learn it as you go and start your own business and see how it is. You never know how big it can get."
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