Checking Out: Peter Kim

The maverick founder and vice chair of Los Angeles-based Hudson Jeans shares his thoughts on the future of retail, the meaning of authenticity and the importance of creativity
Posted December 4, 2017

How did your upbringing influence the entrepreneur you are today?
I grew up with a hard and troublesome life. I like to believe that it not only made me tougher, but also resourceful and scrappy as well. [My past is] always reminding me to be humble and respectful to all life – human or non.

How do you pass those lessons learned on to those you mentor?
Whether with my children, company, employees, students or mentees, I always try to lead by example.

I would love to meet the person who came up with the phrase, ‘Do as I say, not as I do,’ and kick them in the nuts … for coming up with one of the most cowardly sayings ever!

Explain the creative vision behind Hudson Jeans and what drives your process.
One of the most important pillars of our beliefs lies in creativity. We believe when you freely express passionate and unfiltered creativity, it creates the opportunities for magical things to happen. Here is a formula to our beliefs: Creativity creates inspiration, which engenders hope and enables forward progress. Combine it all, and you can change the world. Our goal is to immerse the consumer in our world through a ‘five-senses experience,’ so by the end of the journey, our product becomes a souvenir of that experience.

Hudson is on the brink of opening its first physical stores. How will the design reflect the brand?
The goal is to create an environment that is consistent with what we believe and what we’re about. These days everybody appears to be searching for the now-bastardized word ‘authenticity.’ That seems like such an interesting and, frankly, sad concept, because if you have to search for it or talk about what that is, then I think it’s safe to say that you’re kind of f---ed!

Service and community are two of the brand’s core pillars. Why are they so important?
Because of the general failures of our leaders – from parenting to school and education to our government and our current broken capitalist system. More so than ever before, I believe corporations, companies, businesses and organizations have a major responsibility to communities, both local and global. I like to imagine a world where every company genuinely cares for every one of its employees, cares for its vendors and partners, cares for its customers. I like to imagine how different the world would be and what that might look like.  

Having launched multiple brands, what life lessons can you share with young entrepreneurs?
Here are my learnings and discoveries: Find your purpose and meaning. Discover your passion, love, bliss in life. Once you find it, own it and make no excuses about it … it’s yours. Bust your ass and never give up on that passion; if you’ve truly found it, this becomes almost automatic. Don’t listen to anybody else, because they will tell you every reason why it’s not possible.