By Betty Karnette
Retired State Senator & Wrigley Resident
A few months ago I thought it would be interesting to interview business owners in the Wrigley area since this is my neighborhood. So, I started with the person who has taken any piece of clothing that I’ve brought to her shop and completed whatever was required. Not only was the job done as requested, but it was always ready when she said it would be. It was also so professionally done that one could not tell any altering had occurred.
During the interview I found out that Young Kwan is from Seoul, South Korea where at 19 years of age she enrolled in a “European” style tailoring-sewing school. Pattern making, design, and sewing were a part of the curriculum, and she soon had a shop near a U. S. Army base.
In 1992 she and her Korean husband parted ways due to a difference in social thinking. After the divorce she brought her daughter and son to the United States to attend school. A friend in Los Angeles helped her obtain a permanent visa, which made it possible for her to become an American citizen after about a 10-year residence. Starting her 1994 business in Long Beach was possible because she was able to buy it from a friend who now lives in Orange County. Young continues to reside in Los Angeles where her son works in the insurance industry. Her daughter is a housewife in Buena Park.
Experience as a dressmaker made Young an excellent tailor. She has many customers from all over Southern California. Her work is about evenly distributed between men’s expensive suits and other garments, as well as women’s attire of all kinds. She will do whatever needs to be done to whatever you bring in. Young says she has many wonderful customers. As an example, she told of one gentleman who was accidentally given the wrong pants. He immediately returned them because he was worried that someone would get upset with her.
Her social life is firmly ensconced with the Southern Baptist Church at Olympic and Beaumont in Los Angeles. Her daughter’s 5-year-old son and her son’s small daughter keep her busy when she isn’t working. Her customers, like Southern California, are culturally diverse, and she is proud that her children speak both English and Korean fluently.
After visiting South Korea she was amazed at the changes since 1992 and feels she could help some of the citizens of South Korea improve their business skills due to the knowledge she has gained here. She also feels that she might be able to help any local people who want to do business in South Korea. Young is an excellent tailor and a very responsible person.