DATE Feb 26 , 2021
SOUND SHOP balansa owner
SOUND SHOP balansa, based in Busan, Korea, attracts attention internationally for one-and-only taste for their selection of vintage apparel and records as well as their original products. penco®, the flagship brand of HIGHTIDE, launched collaborative collection with them.
In this interview, Mr. Kim Jeehoon, owner of balansa known for his great collection of vintage apparel and records, talks about himself and the collaboration.
（Jeehoon (left) and Pay_billz from team balansa (right)）
Making one-and-only store filled with his favorites
– Now we know there are lots of your fans not only in Korea but in Japan as well. What made you start your own store?
When I had worked for sneaker shop, I suddenly came up to create my own store only with what I like. I really didn’t have any concrete idea at the beginning, but I just keep doing my own things until now.
– How do you collect items for your stores, such as vintage apparel and records?
These days I often use online stores like e-bay, I would do anything to get what I really want.
– I feel that among your selection there is a kind of mixture of countries and ages, at the same time a certain atmosphere in common. Do you have your personal rule to select items? And is there any style that especially attracts you?
There isn’t really much, I just follow my first inspiration. Strange enough, however, I sometimes feel as if I had it since before about something that I see for the first time. In that case. I never hesitate to purchase it.
– Besides selected collection, you seem keen to launch original items. How and where you get the inspiration for that?
For new products too, I usually get inspired by vintage things that I feel as the base of my style such as old logos, fonts or music. I’m in all kinds of inspiration every day, I always put my brain into full gear unintentionally.
Collection to make life more comfortable
– It’s a great honor for us this collaboration started with your suggestion. Had you already known HIGHTIDE before that?
I saw some of HIGHIDE products for the first time at my friend’s store a couple of years ago. I was amazed at the high quality and affordable price. Since then, I have been checking out HIGHTIDE products, and gradually came to think it would be fun to work together.
– I see. This time our flagship brand penco got an opportunity for the collaboration. Can you tell me the reason why you chose it among several brands of ours?
penco has not only stationery but storages that can be used as interior goods, pouches, mugs and other miscellaneous goods as well. So do we, we make many items regardless of category and this is why I thought the styles of each would make a good matching.
– For what point did you strive in making the products especially in selecting items and design?
The main theme is ‘tidying up.’ Clothes, records…, I keep too many things around me for my job, so I picked up items that I wanted to use for my workplace organization. For design, I tried to make it simple so we could make use of originality of both of us.
– What is your favorite among the collaborative items?
I really like Storage Container. It matches our style and versatile, it’s necessary to tidy up a room!
– For this collaboration, DJ midasbeats, one of balansa’s friends and family, made a special mixtape. What is the remix like?
Originally, one of our staffs were friends with him and I had listened to his remix, basically it’s the main reason why I asked him. We set Brazil as its concept because I like Latin American music. I really like its nice chilling mood.
Close but different countries
– balansa is leading culture especially in East Asia, getting enthusiastic offers from artists and brands based in Korea and Japan. What is the difference between Korean and Japanese culture for you?
In Korea, we tend to adopt various culture from other countries and appreciate diversity. Japan has diversity too, but appears to put value on tradition. We are close but have different balance of culture, and it seems to make both of the countries unique. I have lots of friends in Japan, and really like it.
– To conclude this interview, can you tell me your future plan or message to the customers?
Currently I have several projects to run, so I would like to make good on them firstly. In the collaboration with penco, we made really good ones so I hope our customers will like them.
SOUND SHOP balansa
Opened in 2008 as a select store of US vintage apparel and records based in Busan, Korea.
Named after ‘balance’, they aim to mix various tastes in a new kind of balance. Based on subculture, they keep doing cool thing for themselves and draw attention internationally.