AmorePacific, South Korea’s biggest beauty firm, is struggling

IN A QUIET street in a glitzy part of Seoul’s Gangnam district sits a sleek building covered in a shimmering grid of gold-effect metal. Inside the flagship store for Sulwhasoo, a luxury skincare line, looks less like a shop and more like a museum. Tiny $150 jars of face cream are backlit for effect; metal plaques next to miniature bowls of green tea and ginseng extol the wondrous properties of the ingredients. Upstairs, customers can book an eye-wateringly expensive facial or sip coffee on the roof terrace. A few streets away Dr. Jart, a brand aimed at younger women, woos them with talk of high-tech lotions. Monthly redecorations in line with themes like “sleep” or “staying cool in the heat”, and face masks in bright-coloured milkshake cups, with straws for home-mixing and lids depicting baby faces, are the main draw.

Welcome to the world of cosmetics as entertainment, which has attracted women (and a few men) around the globe to Korean beauty trends. “The element of fun distinguishes K-beauty from more traditional European brands,” says Son Sung-min of the Korea Cosmetic Industry Institute, a government-sponsored body that aims to improve the industry’s global competitiveness. People started noticing that Korean celebrities appear to have good skin (never mind that most have also had plastic surgery). Aided by influencers on YouTube...

via Business Feeds

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