Kim Jessie T-shirt
The lady who loves the color purple founded Jessie’s Kitchen with the dream of introducing North Korean food and culture to people all over the world. She hopes to promote understanding among the people of the Korean Peninsula and connect them through healthy and delicious food. Her dream is like a bridge in a big picture so her design embodies a food truck on a bridge hoping to share warmth all around.
River (강 in Korean) symbolizes people who start a new life, particularly those who left their home country, North Korea, where they were born and raised. Now they are living a new life in South Korea or a third country. Therefore, our brand’s designs always reflects the river.
Jessie Kim | Hometown: Hyesan, Ryanggang Province | CEO of Jessie’s Kitchen | Major: Chinese Foreign Affairs and Commerce, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
I was a very straightforward and fearless little girl. People said perhaps this is because I grew up without any worries under a mother who was very devoted to her family and the father who was a university professor. I loved my mom so much I always followed her around when my dad scolded me. But my mother, someone I thought would be with me forever, passed away.
When I was 12, my very young and pretty mother was 36 years old. She died too young, leaving me and my dad behind. Unable to accept my mother's absence at a young age, I suffered from an aphasia, and was hospitalized for a long time due to a burst of veins all over my body. My body gradually improved over time, but I decided not to go to school anymore so I eventually dropped out. Although I was young, I had a clear idea of finances. I thought of making money, so every summer I went to the mountains to dig up herbs and sell them to raise business funds .
I purchased grain cheap in the fall with the money I made as business funds, and made a lot of money the following spring by selling it at a high price. But after a while, I suddenly felt like a money-making machine, and I could no longer find meaning in what I did.
This is why I wanted to go to a bigger world, and I crossed the Tumen River and defected to Gilim, China, and lived in a monthly rent room for about a year and a half. At that time, I studied Chinese and did business simultaneously. Because of my unstable status, however, life in China was unsettling. I eventually came over to South Korea where I could secure a safe life.
I didn't know much about South Korean society, so I had to weigh in what's better for me: starting work or going to college. I came to the conclusion that going to college would be much better in the future. I traveled a lot, ate and played well, and spent time participating in human rights activities for North Koreans while at school.
Since I was young, I have always enjoyed making food, my biggest joy is sharing the food that I made. This is how I started Jessie’s Kitchen in 2020 with the intention of helping people of Korea understand one another better and connecting them through food, which I not only enjoy making but also good at.
There is something I want to change through Jessie’s Kitchen. Many North Korean defectors have settled in South Korea, but I still feel that the public’s attitude towards them remains the same as before. I think we, the progressive people, should change this. Thinking that the person who could bring change can start with myself, I merely hope the South Koreans who I get to meet will change their attitude toward North Korean defectors.
Also, I have a goal to grow my business into a JK group so that people can think of my tofu rice balls and understand North Korean food culture better when there comes a successful inter-Korean unification or economic exchanges.
- Hobby: Collecting coins or bills from different countries
- Favorite Color: Purple or bright colors
- What I like: I like tall views
- Current Interests: Design & Marketing
• 100% combed and ring-spun cotton (Heather colors contain polyester)
• Ash color is 99% combed and ring-spun cotton, 1% polyester
• Heather colors are 52% combed and ring-spun cotton, 48% polyester
• Athletic and Black Heather are 90% combed and ring-spun cotton, 10% polyester
• Heather Prism colors are 99% combed and ring-spun cotton, 1% polyester
• Fabric weight: 4.2 oz (142 g/m2)
• Pre-shrunk fabric
• Side-seamed construction
• Shoulder-to-shoulder taping
|Width (inches)||16 ½||18||20||22||24||26||28||30|