Meet Jessica Fry: The Black Woman Running Multiple Successful Businesses In Korea
By DeAnna Taylor
If you caught a few of our Black expat features, you will know that over the years many Black Americans have made their way abroad to live better lives.
Jessica Fry, a native of Michigan, made this same decision 11 years ago when she chose to make South Korea her new home.
Initially, the move came because she wanted to save up some money in hopes of starting a business investing in real estate.
“I was looking for a change and a way to save money,” Fry told Travel Noire. So I thought I would come to Korea, save money, and then start a business. I read a blog that you can come to Korea and work and not have to pay rent.”
However, once she got to Korea she saw that opportunities there were great as well.
Fry, who lives in the Pyeongtaek area of South Korea, started researching ways that she could help make the lives of soldiers easier. The town in which she lives is also home to a large Army base as well as an Air Force base.
She opened her first business, Honey Hair, after seeing that there was a need for more Black haircare products in the area. Luckily, the city where she lives was very affordable for opening a store compared to Seoul.
“I wanted to meet the needs of Black women. I have also expanded to being able to meet the needs of women in general, even Asian women. A unique quality that I have is that I’m a great buyer. So, I’m great at finding the trendiest things and products that people need.”
The store is one of the largest beauty supply stores in the country and even has online options for those that may not live close. Women all over Korea, especially Black women, use the store to purchase hair and beauty products that aren’t typically available for them.
Next, Fry opened a small boutique clothing store. After some time, the government bought her out to make room for a public park. This was actually a blessing in disguise because she really wanted to try her hand in the restaurant industry.
Fry and her husband first tried out running a small sandwich shop. While that business didn’t make it, they were able to gain a lot of experience that helped prepare them for a bigger restaurant.
With the money from the government, she was able to open her second big business, JJ’s American Diner.
“The restaurant is really focused on being just like America. It’s a novel experience for the Koreans and a taste of home for the soldiers.”
Fry is now launching a few smaller businesses under main ones, including a natural and holistic health business in addition to a swimsuit boutique.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel writer. The Charlotte native recently completed one year abroad working as an English teacher in South Korea. Her hobbies include fitness, traveling to new countries, and trying new foods.