Retail notes from Seoul: [Brand Profile] Yuri Pibu – organic beauty from Korea

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.

Product line-up

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.

Distribution

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 ; )

5 Comments

Filed under Asia, Brand Profiles, Industry News, Retail, Travel, Trends

5 responses to “Retail notes from Seoul: [Brand Profile] Yuri Pibu – organic beauty from Korea

  1. Swee

    There’s Yuri Pibu in Parkson? Which outlet do you know it’s located at?

    • Hi Swee,

      as far as I know there are no retail stores in Seoul that sell Yuri Pibu (unfortunately!); I was told that in Korea the brand is sold only online. I visited the marketing office of Yuri Pibu but they didn’t sell any products there. Sorry!

      Annika

    • Hi Swee. I just realised that you meant the Chinese Parkson stores, not distribution in Korea; sorry! Ok, I was told that in Guanghzou a few Parksons outlets sell some of Yuri Pibu’s product ranges; unfortunately I don’t know which Parksons stores stock the brand. And I don’t think any Parksons stores outside of China sell Yuri Pibu at the moment.

  2. eami

    Hi Annika, Danke für diesen spannenden Bericht.
    Yuripibu (inkl. Yoon Dermaline & Mad) gibt es schon länger bei Testerkorea (momentan allerdings nur noch auf Nachfrage) und ist somit weltweit verfügbar. Bei einem europäischen Anbieter befürchte ich Glowrecipe-ähnliche Preise. Qualitativ sind die Produkte meiner Meinung nach aber nochmal ein ganzes Stück besser als Whamisa, weswegen es mich freuen würde, wenn mehr Menschen darauf aufmerksam würden. Nur ist es keine (reine) Naturkosmetik – ohne Zertifizierung, durch den Verkauf in China mit Sicherheit Tierversuche, und einige Produkte enthalten Silikone und andere “synthetische” Stoffe. Außerdem weiß man bei Korea nie, ob die mineralischen Sonnenschutzfilter non-nano sind oder nicht.

    Spannend finde ich noch folgende Marken: Rootree (größtenteils NK würde ich behaupten), Unik, Enpele/Enpelle und Torriden. Insbesondere zu Rootree finden sich jedoch kaum (externe) Informationen; zu den anderen wenig (deren Angebot ist aber auch noch sehr begrenzt).

    • Hallo Eami,

      vielen Dank für deinen netten Kommentar! Bisher konnte ich meine Yuri Pibu Produkte noch nicht so intensiv ausprobieren – meine Seouler Kosmetik-Ausbeute ist immer noch per surface mail unterwegs nach Deutschland! – aber sobald das Paket (hoffentlich bald!) ankommt, werde ich die Produkte endlich richtig testen.

      Danke übrigens auch für den Hinweis auf die anderen koreanischen Nischenmarken, die ich allesamt nicht kannte. Werde diese Marken demnächst mal googeln (mal schauen, wie weit ich mit Translate komme). Merci!

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