[BI Interview]
Leslie Carpenter
– CEO of Carpenter Consulting, LLC

Bi - vol.2
GDKACC Business Magazine

Leslie Carpenter is one of GDKACC's key partners in Smart Biz Expo. By accurately analyzing and presenting the trends of the U.S. consumer market, she provides clear paths for Korean companies to enter the U.S. market. We met business consulting expert Leslie Carpenter ahead of Smart Biz Expo - K Beauty Lux, which runs from July 26 to 30.

Q: Could you tell us a little bit about you and your company?

A: I have worked in all levels of the U.S. government and private sector. I am most proud of my work in the U.S. Senator Paul Simon (Illinois). It was a fabulous time in my young life and taught me so much about a variety of subjects. I always recommend that students start their career by volunteering at the Congressional level during high school or college. The experience opens your eyes to so many opportunities.

After moving from Illinois to Texas in 1994, I did not want to recreate myself in state politics, so I brought my skills to the private sector. Since then, I’ve been advising clients in the areas of government affairs, business development, and community engagement.

My husband, John, and I are parents to three adult daughters, we are foster parents to five Cambodian children, and have been house parents to many Korean and Chinese college students. My Catholic faith is the foundation for my personal and business decisions. It keeps me honest and sustains me during tough personal and business times.

Q: Last year, you attended matchmaking sessions at the Greater Dallas Korean Chamber’s 2020 Virtual Smart Biz Expo and participated in business consulting meetings with more than 10 Korean companies. It’s been a while, but what do you think of the matchmaking meeting with small and medium-sized IT companies in South Korea?

A: I was honored to be involved in last year’s event and believe the business matchmaking sessions offer a huge opportunity for collaboration. The Expo is certain to become a recognized source for innovation and partnerships. Very soon, I expect to see great success stories resulting from the events. Out of the ten meetings, my firm has been to help JoyFun with introductions to U.S. fitness centers and we are in the process of a 3DTada Camp to serve as a focus group for the company’s research and development.

I am looking forward to going into this new round of meetings with lessons learned for last year’s event.

Q: What do you think should be the most important things that South Korean companies need to know in order to get into the U.S. market during meetings with U.S. companies?

A: Be prepared and play to your strengths during these meetings. An effective translator is critical to success and makes a positive first impression to prospective customers. The value you place on the importance of professional translation indicates how easy it will be to do business with your company.

Your website should include English translation because it sends the message that you are ready to do business. Another simple, yet important step, is to be clear about “the ask.” Go into the meeting with a clear statement:

“We are looking for a partner who can bring….”

“We want to be introduced to…”

“We need an investment partner.”

“We need distribution.”

Finally, do your research and do not be afraid to educate your potential partner about opportunities or trends in the marketplace. All businesses are looking for opportunity and this is an important step in selling your product or service.

Q: How does a company know when they are ready for expansion in the US market?

A: Frankly, some companies just are not ready for expansion. Small companies might be better served by testing the market through e-commerce or other sales channels.

While research and development remain an important function in preparing for expansion, budget conscious businesses often cannot afford to undertake this step. In response, Carpenter Consulting has created Market Research 101, an intermediate step, providing clients with basic, but focused, social media driven market research. This new product had its beginning in our work with the Greater Dallas Korean Chamber of Commerce and its members.

Q: Are there any Korean small and medium-sized companies or sectors that you personally interest you in?

A: As a woman, I appreciate beauty and fashion.  While I know this industry well through my experience as chair of the Board of the Dallas Fashion Incubator for emerging designers, my firm serves a broader audience. Carpenter Consulting provides marketing and governmental advice to US and foreign companies. My husband and I have an appreciation for how government policies  affect business and commerce. Our strength is bringing ideas and opportunities to our clients. For example, a corporate relocation or expansion is a prize for any US city. We guide clients and introduce them to communities that may offer them the best business environment, which may include tax incentives, infrastructure support, and more.

I am really excited about this year’s K Beauty event. Skin care and beauty products are projected to have enormous growth in the US and global markets. The growth is exciting for Dallas since the region is a new hub for the growing skin care industry. This can be a real opportunity for the Expo to help Korean brands connect with US brands seeking new emerging products and technologies in skin care. I am proud of the Chamber for having the foresight to encourage the launch of the new US-Korean Beauty

Association, which will begin to provide Korean industry professionals with information and open opportunities in the US.

Most of all, I have a personal interest in helping good people and good companies. The Board and volunteers of the Greater Dallas Korean Chamber have become my friends and I am committed to helping them advocate for good business.

Samuel Kim, Director of GDKACC, BBVA/ Trinity Mills branch/ Financial Sales Consultant

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