While I was in Seoul I had the opportunity to visit the marketing office of organic Korean beauty brand Yuri Pibu. Yay! I should explain that so far I had only read about Yuri Pibu’s iconic beauty products (like the famous parsley toner and artichoke serum) on various K-beauty blogs and forums.
Yuri Pibu is not retailed in Europe (yet!); in Korea the brand is sold online only and Google Translate wasn’t particularly helpful with the Korean-language website. Basically, I was intensely curious about the brand and although I’m really good at online research I was getting nowhere with Yuri Pibu.
So I was very excited when EGT Korea, the company behind Yuri Pibu, invited me to visit their office and check out the products myself. I also asked them a bunch of question about the brand, the products and Yuri Pibu’s further expansion plans. Click on the link below to read more!
Yuri Pibu is one of three beauty brands belonging to Korean C&T manufacturer EGT Korea (the other two brands are dermocosmetic range Yoon Dermaline and body and hair care brand Mad). The company started out by importing and distributing Italian cosmetics in Korea. Then, in 2010, they launched Yuri Pibu. The first product was the Bifida Repair Ampoule and the Bifida range remains one of the brand’s Asian bestsellers.
The brand’s focus lies squarely on face care and the product portfolio comprises some 40 sku. There are six ranges in total: the Cellum range contains galactomyces extract and is for skin brightening, the Bifida range with bifida bacillus ferment filtrate strengthens the skin barrier, Artichoke (with artichoke leaf extract) is for pore care and tightening the skin, the Cucu products contain black truffle extract and are for dry skin (Cucu is the richest Yuri Pibu product line), Asiatica is formulated with centella asiatica extract and is especially good for calming sensitive skin and Parsley (with parsley extract) is for problem skin.
What I like about the products is that they do not contain water; instead they are based on an active ingredient (the extract after which the product is named; the Asiatica Calming Lotion, for example, contains 80% centella asiatica extract). It reminds me a bit of Whamisa’s products which are also water-free and based on an active (in Whamisa’s case it’s aloe vera juice).
Each Yuri Pibu line comprises 2-4 products; the average is three – usually a toner or ampoule, an essence and a lotion or cream. The product portfolio also include Grante Cleansing Oil and a brand new product, Kakadu Spot Toner (with kakadu plum extract), will be launched next month. There will also be new sheet masks in the Bifida and Cellum product ranges.
Let’s start with Yuri Pibu’s home market. In Korea, Yuri Pibu is sold exclusively online, with the entire 40-sku portfolio. In the US, Yuri Pibu is retailed online with around 20 sku. Glowrecipe is probably the best-known US retailer; I think they might also have been the first online store to pick up Yuri Pibu.
The brand has also started distribution in China with around 20-30 sku, there is a shop-in-shop in the city of Hangzhou and Yuri Pibu products are also available in some Chinese outlets of Malaysian department store chain Parkson.
The Cellum and Bifida ranges are Yuri Pibu’s Asian bestsellers while in the US, the Artichoke and Parsley lines are most popular. This makes sense, I guess; consumers tend to instinctively veer towards the ingredients they recognise and are familiar with. And in Europe and the US parsley is a very common kitchen herb, no matter whether you cook Western, Mediteranean or Middle Eastern, and artichoke – well, even if you don’t eat artichokes you’ll presumably have seen them in a supermarket or farmer’s market.
And now for the most exciting bit (exciting for me anyhow): Yuri Pibu is planning its European market entry! France and Spain are of particular interest to the brand and I was told that the products are already going through the EU registration process. EGT Korea has been testing out selected European markets which also explains why Yuri Pibu products and reviews have been popping up here and there on European Instagram and beauty blogs over the past year or so.
The company is currently talking with distributors in eight European countries, including a couple of distributors in Germany (one interested party is even based Berlin). Initially the brand will sell 5-6 products in Europe (which, I would imagine, will include Parsley and/or Artichoke rather than Cellum or Bifida ; )