A Pepero Holiday Special: Kwak Tori & Ryeori
It’s 11/11, otherwise known as Pepero Day and it seemed appropriate to introduce you to one of MUTZINE’s favorite couples today. In this special feature, we learn about Kwak Tori & Ryeori's individual pursuits in the art, fashion, and beauty fields. While munching on various choco-sticks they also recount how they survived the longest some relationship ever.
Interview & Photos Gissella Ramirez-Valle, Production Assistant Hailey Kang
When and why did you first start your Youtube channel?
Kwak Tori: I started a blog in 2008 where I would post makeup tutorials using only photos. Two years ago I decided to transition into Youtube. At that time there were less than 5 other Korean vloggers doing makeup. Before Youtube, I was already running an online shop called Unicornpop, so apart from the various makeup tutorial videos, I also make dailylook videos to promote the shop’s items.
How would you describe your personal style?
Kwak Tori: My favorite color is lilac. I enjoy watercolor painting so I like those kinds of light colors. The style that I like is a mix of Dolly and Fantasy. My channel’s viewers always say that I have a ‘Japanese’ style, and it is true that that’s where many of the things I like come from... but you know when I go to Japan and meet people there, they tell me that my style is very ‘Korean’. So I don’t really know where I fit. (laughs)
I’m wondering how was your style in high-school?
Kwak Tori: My style was plain in high-school. I did makeup and wore whatever I wanted outside of school, but I didn’t dye my hair or do any special thing when attending class because I didn’t want to get into trouble with the teachers. Only after turning 20 is when I began to dye my hair and wear makeup on a daily basis. After high-school, I dyed my hair a really bright lemon yellow and everyone would stare at me weirdly. It was pretty hard to get a part-time job because of it…
Did you ever think to just dye your hair back to a natural color?
Kwak Tori: No, even though it was hard to get a job, I never thought about changing my hair back to a normal color. In the end, I started to teach at an art academy, it didn’t matter what my hair color was like there.
Can you tell us more about Unicornpop?
Kwak Tori: I stock the things that I personally like on Unicornpop. From clothing to accessories such as eyelashes.
What's the most challenging thing about running Unicornpop?
Kwak Tori: The challenge is finding the shop’s own color since there are just so many other shops with similar items for sale. Opening a shop is easy, stocking it isn’t so hard as well, but the hardest part is establishing the shop’s color through the imagery.
The photos are the most important part right?
Kwak Tori: That’s right, the photos and styling concepts are what sets shops apart from each other.
Kwak Tori: To develop my Youtube channel further as well as my online shop!!
When did you decide to become a hair stylist?
Ryeori: I started cutting my own hair and my friend’s hair in high-school and from there other people would start asking me to cut theirs too. During that time I found that I really liked cutting and styling hair, so I began to work at salons. That was 10 years ago, and since early on, I always dreamt of opening my own salon. I finally fulfilled that dream earlier this year, after opening Crazy W.C.
What does Crazy W.C mean?
Ryeori: Crazy W.C means 'Crazy Washing Closet'. I started a Youtube series last year where I would cut and style some special guest's hair in my own house's bathroom. I would give them a complete change, so at Crazy W.C you come to change your mind, body, and soul. I wanted to extend this concept to a bigger space, so that's why my hair salon is called Crazy W.C. The salon's interior is designed with the bathroom aesthetic in mind too!
Crazy W.C is in Hongdae. Why did you choose to set up shop there?
Ryeori: I really wanted to have a space in Hongdae, as it’s a cultural center where like-minded people all come to meet. I think Crazy W.C's concept matches the Hongdae community, so it made sense to settle down here.
Who’s your typical customer?
Ryeori: A variety of customers come here. From teens to the neighborhood halmoni.
Really? What does she ask for?
Ryeori: A perm!
You’re running this shop on your own. Do you think you’ll hire and train staff down the line?
Ryeori: For now I don’t plan on recruiting apprentices since I’ve worked at other salons for 10 years already. I set this shop up entirely on my own because I really wanted to be independent for the first time.
Ryeori: To continue doing what I like doing.
When did you two meet? And how did you begin dating?
Kwak Tori: We met two years ago. He worked at a hair salon that I would go to when I was a student at Hongik University. I became friendly with the owner and added him on Facebook. When Ryeori found out he was like, "Why didn't you add me? I'm your stylist!" So I added him as well and traded contact information. (laughs) He would then message me and ask me, "What did you do today?" and "Did you get to school?"
Ryeori: I did that for the other customers too...
Kwak Tori: (laughs) He had like ten Kakao Talk chatrooms with other people. He would always say, "Let’s meet up!" I was kind of lonely at the time and I would always end class very late and didn't have time to meet or eat with other people. He also ended work at the salon late, so we started meeting up often. We would eat some dinner, chat, and eat chocolate together and we got closer as we met up. It was a very some relationship.
Ryeori: It was the longest some relationship of my life. It was two months!
Kwak Tori: I was thinking this guy is a player because he has ten Kakao Talk chatrooms going on. I was wondering if he told the same things he said to me to his previous girlfriends too (laughs). I thought I should be careful with him.
Ryeori: It was interesting because we fit so well from the beginning. It's the first time that I experienced something like that. If she wanted to eat ice-cream, I would eat ice-cream. If she wanted to go to a museum, I'd follow along too. I did it all without hesitation.
Kwak Tori: The feeling was mutual, so we became a couple naturally.
If you'd like to visit the Crazy W.C hair salon the address is 358-99 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
You should make an appointment before visiting by calling 02-336-2818 :)