An Art Student Who Lives Twice - Chapter 32
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“Good to see you again.”
The team members in the studio greeted Chairman Oh Kyung-jin one by one.
“I’m happy to see you again,” Chairman Oh Kyung-jin shook hands with each person and said, looking at Yeon-woo. “I can’t remember, but have I seen you last time?”
“I’ve only joined recently. My name is Kim Yeon-woo. I look forward to your kind cooperation!” She spoke first and gestured for a handshake.
Adhesion is good.
I went next to her and said, “Yeon-woo was in charge of the exhibitions in our work this time.”
“Do you mean the art works?”
He asked back as if he hadn’t expected it, but I nodded and said, “Yes. While using Heaven’s Door as a base franchise during our planning, we envisioned a gallery cafe as the identity of the cafe.”
“A gallery cafe…” Chairman Oh Kyung-jin muttered the words several times and asked, “Please explain.”
Finally, the moment I’ve been waiting for has come.
From now on, I have to explain to this person what products we have designed on behalf of our team members.
‘I did a lot of image training.’
First was the intention behind our plans.
“When I set up this cafe, I thought about what kind of advantage we could have over Starbucks.”
“Well, that’s a good decision.” Chairman Oh Kyung-jin nodded heavily.
“Because if we are going to establish a cafe franchise, we need to set it apart from Starbucks.”
He seemed to like my choice.
In fact, it was actually something that Starbucks added later.
‘Starbucks’ is a franchise that has already set up dozens of directly managed stores. It’s perfect for a comparison model.’
Perhaps Chairman Oh Kyung-jin has already thought of this.
I’d only guessed, but luckily it seems to have worked.
“That’s how I found out while investigating Starbucks. I realized that all stores are directly managed, and even the smallest details are strictly controlled at the headquarters level.”
“Yes. Even if a private business operator tries to contact them, they don’t respond,” Chairman Oh Kyung-jin agreed.
I nodded and continued.
“Starbucks’ interior is strict. This has the advantage of people being able to enjoy the same experience anywhere in the country, but it has one disadvantage.”
He asked with an interested look.
I answered in a serious voice, “No matter where you go, it’s the same.”
It was both Starbucks’ strength and weakness.
For those who want to pursue freshness, Starbucks is just a familiar space wherever they go.
As for the differences between the stores, at best, is the exterior of the store, and the interior of the store was almost always similar.
‘I have nothing to say because it did conquer the world while being like that.’
There was no way we could use it. This is because the history of the brand that has been built up is different.
“Instead, we thought differently from Starbucks. Even though it’s a franchise, we wanted to create a reason for others to visit new and fun branches whenever they come.”
“That was by using an exhibition.”
“Yes,” I said confidently. “We’ll change the exhibition concept every week or month. Starting with classical paintings, we plan to display works in a wide range of fields, ranging from retro posters, crafts, and cartoons.”
“Then, is Yeon-woo in charge of one of them?”
“Yes. I’ll show you now.”
I rolled up the white cloth that I had placed on the display stand.
It was the idea that Kyu-tae pushed for.
A beautiful work of art appeared under the fabric.
“It’s called textile art.”
Chairman Oh Kyung-jin’s eyes widened.
When I nodded, Yeon-woo walked to the side and slowly explained.
“I recreated a scene of rain falling from the window by weaving fibers extracted from the abaca plant, which is also called the Manila hemp.”
Rain flowed behind the frame of a window sill.
But what looked like glass was actually fiber if you looked closely. The rain behind it was also made of fiber.
In short, a trick consisting of multiple layers of fibers.
‘As expected, you’re incredible. Being able to recreate moisture with dry materials.’
Chairman Oh Kyung-jin smiled brightly at the indistinguishable precision when he narrowed his eyes.
“That’s great. If it’s a work like this, I think I’ll come to see it from afar as much as I can. It’s enough for me to want to keep it personally.”
“Yes. In that regard, we are also thinking of a service that relays buyers.”
“That’s a good idea. I’d like to discuss this separately.”
A series of favorable reviews.
Yeon-woo did her part.
From now on, this is the main point.
“I’ll go after her.”
I rolled up the cloth that covered the interior model.
An Interior model of about 1 meter by 1 meter.
The first words that Chairman Oh Kyung-Jin said when he was it were as follows:
“…The structure is unique.”
The interior, measuring about 15 pyeong, mainly consisted of bricks and wood.
A cool and open composition that does not waste a single pyeong of area.
A wood slab table was placed on the center, and the perimeter was filled with square tables.
“Hmm,” Chairman Oh Kyung-jin said without taking his eyes off the model. “The overall atmosphere is similar to the Heaven’s Door I heard about last time, but the details seem to be significantly different.”
Chairman Oh Kyung-jin seemed a little disappointed and confused.
However, I did not deny it. Instead…
“Yes. We improved it even more.”
I acknowledged it.
Avoiding differences are excuses, but acknowledging differences are choices.
“We extracted the core DNA that made up Heaven’s door and further strengthened it. That’s this store.”
As I touched the model, I said, “All seats are designed for a single person to use. If you need to accommodate two or four person groups, we designed it so that they can sit together with one-person desks.”
“That’s the desk you described last time.”
“Yes. This part focused on the basics. The same goes for the chairs. Starbucks’ chairs are easy to sit on, but we went beyond that.”
“Hmm. Isn’t that different from what you explained before? I think you said that overly comfortable seats are disadvantageous to turnover speed.”
“At that time, it was near the company, so I explained it according to its location. However, I think that the basic interior of the franchise should have versatility. We don’t know where every store is going to be.”
“Good. So what’s that table?”
He pointed his finger at a huge table in the middle of the store.
It was the question I was expecting.
I spoke with confidence in my voice.
“It’s called a wood slab table”.
“A wood slab table?”
When asked back, I nodded and said, “It’s a table made by cutting the whole tree, and its strength is that it gives off the scent of nature. As time goes by, not only does it become more beautiful, but it also has an air freshener effect. In addition, since it’s basically a table for shared seating, there won’t be a problem concerning the turnover rate.”
Chairman Oh Kyung-jin said after pondering for a moment.
“I’m sorry, but just looking at the model doesn’t give me a good feeling.”
“That’s why I prepared this.”
I picked up the entire model and moved it.
The tablecloth of the table was rolled up.
At the same time, Chairman Oh Kyung-jin muttered in a shocked voice.
A rough log table was hidden under the tablecloth.
The tablecloth was a fake to hide the true identity of the table.
‘When it comes to presentations, there must be a twist.’
I calmly swept down the desk and said, “As you can see, this is a table made from a whole log of wood. One tree went in to make one of these tables.”
To be honest, that’s not the case.
A single tree is enough to make two or three slabs. Even more is possible if you use a few tricks. However, proper exaggeration is essential in a presentation.
“If this franchise expands successfully, I’d like to have a wood slab table in every store.”
“Every store? Are you sure?”
“Yes,” I nodded and said. “Every tree has its own unique appearance, and wood slab tables are made from whole trees, so each one has a different appearance and quality.”
“There must be a huge variation.”
“That’s right. But….”
I spoke in a clearer voice.
“That’s why I think this table can be a representative item of each store.”
“This isn’t just an industrial product. This desk, each and every one of them, is a living life.”
If you don’t look at a full picture, it’s only an industrial product.
However, even industrial products can be a luxury item depending on the way people look at them.
“This table will live, breathe, and age with our cafe.”
“…I like it. I like it.” Chairman Oh Kyung-jin shook his head quietly.
I feel like I’m already halfway through with this.
It would be nice to end it here, but I don’t mean to.
‘There’s still one thing left.’
I told him, “I’m not finished yet.”
“Then, there’s something else?”
“Of course,” I smiled and said. “Please wait here for a moment.”
I hope to leave Chairman Oh Kyung-jin puzzled for a while.
I went to the pantry on the other floor of the studio building.
And in the meantime, I prepared a secret weapon that I was going to use today and brought it back with me.
“We’re going to use this as a sales point for our store.”
“….This is…” Chairman Oh Kyung-jin stiffened for a moment and said,
“It’s shaved ice.”
It was. It was shaved ice.
I got the idea from seeing what the owner of [Heaven’s Door] brought last time. However, this was somewhat different from the shaved ice he brought us.
“You don’t have any toppings?”
I brought him a spoon.
Chairman Oh Kyung-jin, who took the spoon without saying a word, took a spoonful of shaved ice and put it in his mouth.
“This tastes like…!”
He’s eyes widened.
“This is the first time I’ve ever had shaved ice like this. How can it taste so flavourful?”
His reaction was beyond my expectations.
With a satisfied look, feeling rewarded for my hard work, I said, “In general, shaved ice is made by freezing water, but our ice is a little different.”
“Milk.” Chairman Oh Kyung-jin said. “You put milk in it.”
“Yes. I froze milk, not water, and then ran it in the shaved ice machine as is.”
“I’ve tried shaved ice with milk before. However, this shaved ice tastes a lot different. It has a strong, sweet taste. Did you add something?”
“That’s right. It’s not just milk.”
“Then…?” Chairman Oh Kyung-jin asked with a slightly excited look.
It was not like him, who was calm just a few minutes ago.
He seemed to be anxious to find out the secret of this shaved ice right away.
‘I’m sure you’re curious.’
But I had no intention of answering.
“The recipe is a secret.”
While he froze, I spoke in a firm voice. “If you adopt this design I’ll tell you.”
Chairman Oh Kyung-jin blinked, and then realized that he was a little too excited and coughed in vain.
“…Great. In fact, I’ve already prepared the contract in advance. I’m curious about the secret of this shaved ice, so let’s finish it.”
‘The shaved ice worked well.’
The secret of the shaved ice was something like this:
It is true that the milk was frozen, but I added some things to the milk.
From milk powder and condensed milk to milk powder used to make ice creams and shakes.
As a result of adding various ingredients, I succeeded in reviving the taste of the shaved ice I had eaten in my previous life.
‘The ingredients I’ve used up so far have practically made me broke, but it was worth it.’
I was a little worried because the shaved ice machine was not like a snowflake ice machine, but an ordinary item borrowed from the owner, but this seems to have been enough.
At this time, shaved ice was usually only sold by stationery stores and dessert shops.
It was extremely rare to see it being sold at cafes.
‘This menu alone guarantees success.’
Chairman Oh Kyung-jin officially signed the contract and completed payment on the spot.
‘I can’t wait to see the results.’
The work started a little later.
I began working in earnest right before vacation was over.
It’s often said that interior construction takes about 15 days to a month, but in the meantime, I had nothing to do.
‘You’re really making it exactly as it was designed.’
Chairman Oh Kyung-jin did not save any money.
I thought there would be a little compromise in the estimate and blueprint I sent, but he just implemented it as I ordered.
He seemed to trust me.
Thanks to this, I was happy when I visited the construction site from time to time and looked around.
‘This store will have no choice but to make a jackpot.’
There was a severe difference in level.
With all due respect, there was an extreme difference in level from other cafes of this era.
Starbucks can’t even begin to compare.
Customers who have experienced [Heaven’s Door] once will never be satisfied with another store.
Just like the chairman did.
‘Then my wallet will be full, too.’
The promised 10 million won would be shared with the other team members, but there was a separate option that I received from Chairman Oh Kyung-jin.
‘1% of franchise sales. That’s mine.’
It was a royalty contract.
This is what Chairman Oh Kyung-jin offered me separately.
At first glance, the 1% may seem small, but the royalty of a typical cafe is 3.3% of sales, and considering that I didn’t invest anything in this franchise, it was very generous.
‘When a store generates 10 million won a month in sales, my share is 100,000 won.’
It may feel small. However, this was a fact that no one knew.
‘In a few years, the number of franchises alone will surpass 100.’
By then, just breathing would make more than 10 million won a month.
What if Chairman Oh Kyung-jin achieved the number in my previous life?
It’s thrilling just thinking about it.
‘I won’t have to worry about the cost of meals in the second semester.’
And, I received another reward from Chairman Oh Kyung-jin.
“It’s almost time to enter.”
“I was almost late.”
“Thanks to Jaeha, I get to enjoy everything.”
It was a ticket to a drawing show.
Ashley Kruger, a world-renowned artist, had made a visit to Korea, and Chairman Oh Kyung-Jin received the ticket as a gift.
[I got a gift from someone I know, but I think Jaeha will have more use for it than me.]
So if you ask me if I’m happy….
I was so happy that my heart was pounding like it was going to explode.
‘I can’t believe I get to watch this person’s performance.’
A figure who is even referred to as the God of Drawing.
Is there any better gift than this for a drawing enthusiast like me?
While we were waiting to enter, Kyutae looked at me and asked,
“You know the shaved ice?”
“Why is it called Hanbing?”
The shaved ice was named Hanbing.
I shrugged and said, “Seol-noona likes shaved ice, so I named it Hanbing after my sister’s name.”
[T/N – Note here that shaved ice in Korea is called “Bingsu,” and that’s where the “bing” part of “Hanbing” came from]
Kyutae seemed convinced by what I said, but he pondered again and said, “Then, rather than that, why not call it Seolbi—“
“That name doesn’t work.”
I stopped him from talking in a hurry.
“Why not? Doesn’t it sound better? The meaning of the word also fits.”
There were some words in the world that should never be spoken out loud.
This translation is presented by Nocturne Translations.