Independent spirit powers entrepreneurial journey
With Crystal (Balcom) Ju’s fear came a sense of longing. She longed for adventure, for travel, for fulfilling work. Her ambition and bravery led her down a path she never imagined – owning a successful international business in South Korea with her husband.
Fresh from EWU graduation in 2010 with a car packed full of clothes, college furniture and mementos, Ju drove home to Seattle. On the way, she talked to her father on the phone. Through tears, she explained her nervousness: how was she going to find a job? What was she doing with her life?
Fewer than two months after graduating, Ju found a job, though she didn’t find it fulfilling. She worked for a major shoe company in customer service, proofreading and matching shoe orders for other companies.
“When I was in university, I wanted to see the world,” she said. “I wanted to go and do something and have an opportunity to just do more. I started looking at different opportunities to pursue that while working at Steve Madden – at the time I wasn’t married, I didn’t own a house, I didn’t have children, so it was the best time to go and see the world.”
With encouragement from her sorority sisters who were teaching English in South Korea, Ju gave in to her wanderlust and left her comfortable life in Seattle for a life of adventure in South Korea.