Blacksmith revives his trade with the internet

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Blacksmith revives his trade with the internet



In the small, mountain valley town of Yeongju, 66-year-old blacksmith Seok Noh-ki had been bracing for closing his struggling workshop until his homi, a traditional Korean hand plow, began selling like hot cakes on Amazon.com and eBay Inc late last year following a promotional campaign on Youtube.


For over half a century Seok Noh-ki has been a blacksmith.

He makes traditional Korean hand plows called homi, and until recently the 65 year-old had been bracing for the closure of his struggling workshop.

But then he heard of something called Amazon.

66-YEAR-OLD SOUTH KOREAN BLACKSMITH, SEOK NOH-KI, SAYING:

"I thought 'they're talking about the rainforest. I didn't know there was this major website called Amazon."

After a promotional campaign on Youtube late last year, his hand plows have been selling like hotcakes on Amazon and eBay.

He says sales have tripled since he's set up shop online and now he's shipping to all corners around the world.

66-YEAR-OLD SOUTH KOREAN BLACKSMITH, SEOK NOH-KI, SAYING:

"I've never lived overseas or in Europe, but based on the calls and Internet reviews we get, they now seem to know too that this is a great tool for farming and gardening."

With sales soaring, Seok been able to take on more workers- including seniors like himself.

They're all part of what's being called a 'Greynaissance' in South Korea.

That's a mashup of grey plus renaissance.

It's the trend of many seniors working into their golden years, as South Korea grapples with one of the fastest-aging population in the world.

Seok says he's happy to have older workers on the payroll.

66-YEAR-OLD SOUTH KOREAN BLACKSMITH, SEOK NOH-KI, SAYING:

"I can meet demands and the seniors can earn pocket money, maybe save a little for retirement plans."

His 'homi' now sits comfortably as one of the top 10 gardening tools on Amazon.

With demand for 4 thousand plows each month, Seok is no longer worried about shutting down in workshop and that's an encouraging case.

According to the OECD, many elderly people in South Korea end up in poor-quality jobs after ending their careers in their 50s with low earnings or no social protection.

Seok says his success has sparked new life into the somithing he's doing since he was 14 years old and that the 'best time of his life is now'. (Reuters)




In the small, mountain valley town of Yeongju, 66-year-old blacksmith Seok Noh-ki had been bracing for closing his struggling workshop until his homi, a traditional Korean hand plow, began selling like hot cakes on Amazon.com and eBay Inc late last year following a promotional campaign on Youtube.


For over half a century Seok Noh-ki has been a blacksmith.

He makes traditional Korean hand plows called homi, and until recently the 65 year-old had been bracing for the closure of his struggling workshop.

But then he heard of something called Amazon.

66-YEAR-OLD SOUTH KOREAN BLACKSMITH, SEOK NOH-KI, SAYING:

"I thought 'they're talking about the rainforest. I didn't know there was this major website called Amazon."

After a promotional campaign on Youtube late last year, his hand plows have been selling like hotcakes on Amazon and eBay.

He says sales have tripled since he's set up shop online and now he's shipping to all corners around the world.

66-YEAR-OLD SOUTH KOREAN BLACKSMITH, SEOK NOH-KI, SAYING:

"I've never lived overseas or in Europe, but based on the calls and Internet reviews we get, they now seem to know too that this is a great tool for farming and gardening."

With sales soaring, Seok been able to take on more workers- including seniors like himself.

They're all part of what's being called a 'Greynaissance' in South Korea.

That's a mashup of grey plus renaissance.

It's the trend of many seniors working into their golden years, as South Korea grapples with one of the fastest-aging population in the world.

Seok says he's happy to have older workers on the payroll.

66-YEAR-OLD SOUTH KOREAN BLACKSMITH, SEOK NOH-KI, SAYING:

"I can meet demands and the seniors can earn pocket money, maybe save a little for retirement plans."

His 'homi' now sits comfortably as one of the top 10 gardening tools on Amazon.

With demand for 4 thousand plows each month, Seok is no longer worried about shutting down in workshop and that's an encouraging case.

According to the OECD, many elderly people in South Korea end up in poor-quality jobs after ending their careers in their 50s with low earnings or no social protection.

Seok says his success has sparked new life into the somithing he's doing since he was 14 years old and that the 'best time of his life is now'. (Reuters)


Choi Won-suk wschoi@koreatimes.co.kr


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