Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sculpting a new reality in Sin Republic

by Zinta Aistars
Published in Rapid Growth Media
January 30, 2014

Sin Chun (Photo by Adam Bird)

Sin Chun sculpts hair and plots world domination from his new Grand Rapids, Michigan, salon, Sin Republic. Zinta Aistars has the story.

To walk into Sin Republic at 1140 Monroe Avenue NW, Suite 2103, is to enter another country. That’s how Sin Chun sees it, and no one coming through the doors is arguing. Enter and you become a citizen.

Sin Chun approaches, his smile bright. He is slight and quick, and he seems to move in complete silence, as if on air. He wears a few bangles on his wrist, a red leather wrist band, and an array of earrings. His hair, dark today with a few mauve streaks, is pulled up and back, a few sprays coming loose, and surely it was intended that way. Nothing is an accident with Sin Chun.

Sin Republic is a hair salon, opened in December 2013, but for its owner, it is home, it is his domain, and it is just the beginning of his global take-over. He has planted his flag here.

“Everything I do, there’s always a reason for it. I am always planting a seed for the future,” Chun says. He takes a seat at the table in the front of the salon, and behind him, his staff bustles about at their ten portable stations (designed by Chun and built locally), where clients come in to have, no, not their hair cut, but sculpted.  

“I have had a plan for Sin Republic for seven years,” Chun continues. “It has been a vision in my mind. I saw where I wanted to be, and from there, I go backwards to where the fun begins.”

The fun began in South Korea. Only it wasn’t always fun. Sin Chun lived with his sister and parents in South Korea until he was 10 years old. That was 24 years ago.

“I am one-quarter American, and back then there was a prejudice against mixed blood,” he says. “I got picked on. Kids teased me.” Chun shrugs and smiles, and there is no sign of a child’s suffering on his face. He continues: “Teasing made me stronger. My parents came here for us, my sister and me, but I got picked on here, too, for being different. I was quiet at first—it took me about two years to learn to speak English—and then other kids got interested in me, in who I was.”

Chun’s wish for a “country” of his own begins to make sense as he tells his story of being an outsider in all places. At Sin Republic, he has even created his own currency: a dollar bill with his own image at its center, with the words at top: “The United Allies of Sin Republic,” and a detailed drawing of the interior of the salon on its back. It is a gift certificate.

Chun learned about hair and beauty supplies growing up, when he and his sister worked at their parents’ business, Hair-n-Mart in Plainfield.

“I worked in the shop up to 20 hours a week while I was going to school,” Chun says. “People asked style questions, and I learned about the ingredients in hair colors.”

Chun’s major in college, however, was a far cry from hair styling. He majored in ...


YouTube of Sin Chun cutting hair in his unique style.  

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