Maybe nailing Buenos Aires

Well, I wasn´t really expecting this, but here´s the scoop to his point.
When I got here, almost the first thing Myung told me was that she liked Buenos Aires. There was more. She had an idea that maybe she could do business here. Okay, she has said that sort of thing before. It turns out that she was feeling me out about really staying to do business, about quitting traveling at least for a while.
I did some soul searching. The fact is that I´m not weary from traveling, but I was getting too jaded about the things I see and do. Nothing was really exciting. Honestly, I felt like I could travel or not, at this point. All I needed was a better idea. Alone, I wouldn´t have stopped life on the road. There is something about instability and change that is comfortable for me, even if the sites and sounds themselves aren´t exciting. On the other hand, when I saw the twinkle in Myung´s eyes when she introduced the, then, embryonic idea of doing business, I recognised in myself a kind of enjoyment that she could be happy doing it. She has gone with me where few women would go and dealt with a lot of adversity. She has also basically lost her desire to travel and was only following me around. We have been kicking the can down the road about what were we going to do when one of us had had it. So, I decided not to find out what the bitter end to that process was going to be and told her I´d stay with her here if she wanted.
It didn´t take long for her to get an idea. Actually, we both came up with it while brainstorning possible opportunities. It turns out that fingernail art is virtually nonexistent in Argentina. We were always chatting about what niches Koreans fill in the US, that one of them is in nail art salons. Myung has no real interest in that, per se, but it seemed obvious for us that maybe if there are opportunities to get in on the ground floor of something in Argentina, this may well be one of them.
There are a number of reasons why this may be a good idea. For one, there is no competition. That is always good. Secondly, it is not a particularly difficult skill to learn, though obviously the good artists are experienced. Thirdly, there wouldn´t have to be much capital outlay to get started. The downsides include: Though there is no competition, that means there is no market yet, either. Introducing this to a culture is ambitious, to say the least. Also, Myung speaks no Spanish and mine is inadequate, though improving. Also, there are licenses, taxes and other bureaucratic matters we are no only unfamiliar with but are complicated by us being foreigners. Finally, though the capital outlays are small, as start ups go, Myung´s ¨big money¨ is in Korea and she can´t get it without going there at a cost of around $2600 round trip. It looks like I´m in the small business loan business.
Myung is nothing if not headstrong. She has gone to another country and started up successful businesses before. She sees nothing so difficult about doing it here. She has many of the same challenges as she had in China. She didn´t know the language. The bureaucracy was daunting. She needed capital. But she´s taking concrete steps every day to solve the problems and learn about this particular industry. She´s furiously teaching herself to do the art, though she would never do that for long. She´ll hire people. She is more interested in owning/renting salons, or in concessions in beauty shops, or simply selling the materials if salons find they are making money and start going it alone. She would like it to take off and she could concentrate on distribution. She´s been in contact with a corporation in Korea, Konad, which is the world leader in quality nail art supplies. They connected her with their representative for five countries South America who is based in Santiago, Chile. Myung went to Santiago last week and met with her. She returned with a load of supplies and, more importantly in terms of making real money, sole distribution rights for Konad in Argentina.
You see where she is going. She envisons nail art being as popular as in the US and Korea and her being at the top of the industry pyramid. Now THAT is putting a twinkle in her eye. I´ve never seen her in this mode. Very interesting. More importantly for me, though apprehensive, she looks happy again. I´m happy that she is happy.
I´m willing to stay just for that. I recognise that I might go stir crazy. It´s fun talking shop with her about this, but it´s her thing. We are talking about what I might do and whether I will travel without her sometimes. I haven´t come to any conclusions other than if I don´t feel trapped I´ll be alright. I´ll do something; I don´t know what. In a way, it´s a good thing I´m a master at doing nothing. I guess my focus now is on learning Spanish. It´s coming along, but my comprehension of spoken Spanish is weak still. I read pretty well, considering I´ve been here only a month. It´s a good thing I learned Spanish when I was younger and some of it is wired into my brain already. As an entirely new language, Korean was proving to be nearly impossible.
That´s about it for now. Despite the energy Myung has put into this, it´s not certain she will see it through. She is wisely reserving the right to get out if it´s too hard or too risky. I´ll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, what post would be complete without a few pictures. I have nothing special. Meetings aren´t photogenic. Buenos Aires isn´t that photogenic, to tell you the truth, but here are a couple of pictures of the Cathedral where Jose de San Martin is interred and a couple of that mausoleaum complex where almost everybody else who was anybody, like the Perons, is interred. Check out the map links on the right for Argentina and Buenos Aires. Be well, all of you.





This entry was posted in Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *