“We forecast the future of lightweight backpacking is optimistic because it is natural that people like carrying a light backpack better than carrying a heavy one.”
Hello HyunSang. Thank you for talking with us today. Please tell us a little about yourself. When did you begin hiking, and how much time do you currently spend outdoors?
I am currently in charge of both design and manufacturing of ZEROGRAM products as a general director of the company. I began hiking 28 years ago, when I was a freshman. From that time I’ve been a real lover of outdoor activities. I currently enjoy hiking or rock climbing at least once a week.
What are some of your favorite locations to hike in Korea?
70% of Korea’s land is covered with mountain area. So there are many mountains in our country. Mountains of JiRi, sorAk, and HanRa are the most representative and favorite national parks. Particularly Mt JiRi is proud of its height of 6,283 ft, and the ridge starting from the mountain is close to almost 56 miles while connecting many other mountains of which the heights are above 3,000 ft.
Which of your products have been the most popular so far?
it’s a silicon coated 20D fabric minimalist tarp. 86″ x 102″ sized and 10 oz weighed tarp is the most popular item of Korean backpackers who like lightweight backpacking.
Where are you currently manufacturing your products?
Since Korea has currently world best needlework techniques, a great part of our products are manufactured in Korea. However, for Titanium cookware, we have an overseas production base.
What’s your perception of the “cottage industry” in the US?
It is true that mass production of outdoor products hold considerably positive aspects in magnifying the base of outdoor activities of people and related industry. However, craftsmanship and specialism of cottage industry has influenced on the whole outdoor industry for a long time and still shares an important position with mass production in the same industry. We are inspired a lot from the U.S cottage industry possessing clear understanding of nature and people, right business philosophy, and enthusiasm.
As a smaller, independent manufacturer, what can you say to folks out there who haven’t taken that step away from the mainstream? What should they expect with ZEROGRAM in terms of customer service, and product quality?
ZEROGRAM’s philosophy established when the company started and will be not changed. Our philosophy is well represented by these phrases “for nature and people, and for lightness and ease.” Both customer service and product quality of our company will surely become one of the world best and customers are sure to give endless credibility to us in the very near future.
So, what is your perspective on the future of lightweight backpacking?
We forecast the future of lightweight backpacking is optimistic because it is natural that people like carrying a light backpack better than carrying a heavy one.
Looking toward the future, what’s your vision for yourself and your company
We hope that American lightweight backpackers use ZEROGRAM products soon. Particularly we hope that our products will become the most favorite ones by the hikers walking through JMT and PCT.
Complete this sentence: “I hope that ZEROGRAM products will …”
I hope that ZEROGRAM products will get the brand name value which is the most
impressed by the hikers, mountaineers, and backpackers who act over the world in a few years.
HyunSang, thanks again for making time to talk to us. Is there anything else you’d like to add, or any sage advice to bestow upon those reading this interview?
What I’d like to say is “light freight gives you heavy inspiration, while You are in a mountain.”
And… that’s a wrap! Another look at the cottage industry outside the US. Getting outside in lightweight style is obviously a logic that’s shared wherever people are hiking, regardless of what languages we may speak. Please feel free to take a look at the ZEROGRAM website: http://www.zerogramgear.com which contains all of their products, however no English version as of the time this is published. They are also on Facebook so if you like to follow along like we do, you can stay up to date there. Hope you enjoyed the interview, and keep an eye our for our Hands On with the ZEROGRAM Papillon II tent coming soon!Hike It. Like It.
Quotation from: http://hikeitlikeit.com/2013/zerogram-with-hyunsang-lee/