Category Archives: Travel

Retail notes from Tokyo: [Show Report] Cosmetokyo 2018

I just returned from Cosmetokyo, Japan’s biggest C&T trade show. My last Cosmetokyo visit was four years ago; Cosmetokyo 2014 actually was my very first Asian trade fair! Back then, Cosmetokyo took place in October which worked well with the dates for Cosmoprof Hong Kong (mid-November).

Anyway, over the past three years Cosmetokyo has continued to expand in terms of exhibitor and visitor numbers; in 2015 the trade show date was shifted from October to January and after Tokyo Big Sight exhibition centre became too small for the trade fair, Cosmetokyo moved to Makuhari Messe convention centre in 2018.

Cosmetokyo 2018, the 6th edition of the trade show, took place from 24th-26th January. The first day was a little disorienting; the trade fair has changed so much in the last few years. In 2014 the exhibitors were primarily from Japan and it was very much a domestic showcase.

At Cosmetokyo 2018, however, more than a third of the trade show’s exhibitors came from outside of Japan, and there were many country pavilions and international companies that it took me a while to find my bearings. But then I did and I enjoyed the trade fair tremendously, meeting exciting new brands and re-discovering old favourites.

In 2018, Cosmetokyo organizers Reed Exhibitions Japan had added a number of new features, including a new and very interesting section of the show – Inner Beauty. The entire trade show constellation – Cosmetokyo and its sister show Cosmetech together with Inner Beauty and Beauty & Health Foods Expo (another new show section in 2018) – was renamed Health & Beauty Week Tokyo. And there were a few other smaller shows which took place concurrently with Cosmetokyo, like Health & Beauty Goods Expo and Lifestyle Expo Tokyo 2018.

And now, after this lengthy introduction: click on the link below for more information about some of the interesting brands I met at Cosmetokyo 2018!

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[Brand Profile]: Kimature

I first came across Hong Kong-based beauty company Kimature at China Beauty Expo 2017 in Shanghai this May and was immediately intrigued by this unusual organic beauty brand. Not only are Kimature’s products based on TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) plant extracts but the brand’s cosmetics are manufactured right there in Hong Kong with locally sourced herbal ingredients.

When I was in town a few months ago for Cosmoprof Asia 2017 I met up with founder Kim Chen and her husband Edward Ian and asked them a bunch of question about their company. Click on the link below for more information about Kimature’s products and the concept behind the brand.

Kimature White Jade Orchid range

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Retail notes from Hong Kong: [Show Report] Cosmoprof Asia 2017

I’ve just returned from Hong Kong where I attended Asia’s biggest C&T trade show, Cosmoprof Asia 2017.  As always, it was an exhausting and exciting three days. This year’s trade show took place from 14th to 16th November (the dates for Cosmopack were 13th to 15th November).

As a quick reminder: last year, organisers Bologna Fiere/UBM Asia decided to split the trade show into two separate entities – Cosmoprof (finished cosmetics) continues to take place in the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) while sister show Cosmopack (packaging, ingredients, OEM, manufacturing) was relocated to Asia World Expo (AWE) near Hong Kong International Airport.

Since Cosmopack was moved to AWE the exhibition centre feels much less crowded although, don’t get me wrong, it was still very busy indeed. I also liked it that this year the press office was located on the ground floor next to registration, rather than tucked away in an obscure corner in one of the halls.

And here are the key facts and figures about this year’s trade show! 2,877 exhibitors from 54 countries presented their products, brands and services at Cosmoprof and Cosmopack which equals an increase of 7% compared to 2016 exhibitor figures. Total exhibition space across both locations grew 11% to 108,600 sqm and there were 25 country pavillions. The 2017 Country of Honour was Korea and around 74% of Cosmoprof/Cosmopack exhibitors were from Asia, followed by Europe with 18%, the US with 4% and Africa, the Middle East and Oceania with 1-2% respectively. According to the official post-show press release stats, a total of 83,793 visitors from 135 countries visited Cosmoprof/Cosmopack, an increase of 9% compared to 2016.

There was also an exciting new trade show section in 2017 – the Natural & Organic showcase in Hall 3. The Wellness & Spa and Discover Trends sections returned in 2017 as did the popular Boutique charity shopping area – at the Boutique booth visitors can purchase sample sized cosmetics from trade show exhibitors, with all proceeds going to a Hong Kong charity. Another new feature this year were the Cosmoprof Beauty Circle Awards. For details about the award winners, scroll down to the end of the article.

Like every year, Cosmoprof Asia was divided into four key product sectors: Perfumery & Cosmetics (Hall 1 + Concourse and Hall 5C), Beauty Salon (Hall 3E + Concourse), Hair Salon (Hall 5G + Concourse) and Nail & Accessories (Hall 5E). And, like every year, the three days of the trade show were much too short to see everything, so I concentrated on Halls 1 and 3 with a brief visit to Hall 5.

The 2017 show was my fourth visit to Cosmoprof Asia – if you’re interested you can check out my show reports for Cosmoprof Asia 2014, Cosmoprof Asia 2015 and Cosmoprof Asia 2016. And now, click on the link below to read more about my brand discoveries at Cosmoprof Asia 2017!

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Retail notes from Tokyo: [Brand Profile]: Tokotowa Organics

Today I visited organic perfumery chain Cosmekitchen’s Naturopathy outlet in Shinjuku’s luxury Newoman department store to check out the aromatherapy fragrances of Japanese organic perfume brand Tokotowa Organics. I had met the founder of Tokotowa’s parent company Organic Styles at the Natural Cosmetics Conference 2017 in Berlin just last month – and of course I was immediately interested. A Japanese aromatherapy brand? Cool!

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Retail notes from Bucharest: [Store Profile] MioBio

I just returned from a few days in Bucharest. It was my second visit to the Romanian capital and we were so lucky with the weather this time: very warm, blue sky and sunshine. Beautiful! And perfect weather for sight-seeing.

Most of my time was spent sauntering around the area between Calea Victorei, Piata Romana, Bulevardul General Gheorghe Magheru and Piata Universitatii. I also visited the Museum of Art Collections and sampled the new cocktail menus of my two favourite Bucharest bars (Fixmad and Origo by Night – Origo is a café which turns into an experimental cocktail bar after 8pm!).

I also discovered the recently opened craft beer pub Fabrica de Bere Buna (and became a firm fan of Romanian craft brewery Hop Hooligans in the process!) and in between I actually got some work done (mostly in Ted’s Coffee Co in University Square which has excellent espresso and strong wifi).

Also on my must-do list of things for this visit to Bucharest: check out organic beauty store MioBio!

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Retail notes from Sofia: [Store Profile] Zoya

I just returned from a short city trip to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. The city is absolutely worth a visit: a compact old town center which is perfect for walking around all day, with a wonderful hodge-podge of architectural styles (art nouveau/1930s/1950s and later). Most of the buildings are still very much in disrepair and/or graffitied/vandalised but enough houses have been renovated and restored that you can see the beauty of the cityscape.

My first visit to Sofia was in 2008 and back then the city looked a lot more – well, let’s say: unfinished! Today there is an almost palpable creative energy: new cafés and bars are opening in beautifully renovated historic buildings and small art galleries, fashion boutiques and maker/design stores are popping up everywhere.

And organic beauty/food retail chain Zoya is a perfect example of this new kind of urban development. The Bulgarian company’s first store was opened in 2009 which, presumably, makes Zoya one of Sofia’s organic retail pioneers. Today, Zoya operates three stores in Sofia as well as a flourishing online shop.

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Retail notes from Shanghai: [Brand Profile] Urtekram China / Yatikelan

The last stop on my recent Asia trip was Shanghai; China’s largest city (according to Wikipedia) and one of the country’s four so-called top tier cities. It was my first visit to Shanghai (and mainland China) and I loved it.

Granted, I only saw the (touristic) city centre – I was there for just four nights (on the 144 hour transit visa deal for EU citizens) and two of those days were spent at China Beauty Expo 2017 – but still: such a cool city!

It’s great for exploring on foot, has a fascinating cityscape, interesting buildings, stores and markets, and the food!!! And Shanghai has a fabulous bar scene, too – I wish I could have had an extra few nights to try out all the bars on my short list; thank you @asia.cocktails! – but at least I managed to visit Speak Low bar. An excellent night.

But this article isn’t about Shanghai’s tourist attractions, it is about an organic beauty brand which I discovered quite by accident in a Watsons drugstore on Nanjing East Road (Pedestrian street ). Even more surprising was the fact that I knew the brand – Urtekram is one of THE best-known and oldest Danish organic beauty brands and they have a wide European distribution. However, it seems that Urtekram (or “Yatikelan”) also has a product portfolio of around 100 sku designed specifically for the Chinese market. Exciting stuff!

Essences, toners, lotions, BB creams, CUSHION FOUNDATIONS, men’s care; face masks – these are Asian formats and textures. None of these product ranges are available anywhere in Europe (or in East Asia either; at least I haven’t seen these products in any of the beauty stores I’ve visited in Tokyo, Taipei or Hong Kong). The ranges aren’t listed on Urtekram International’s website either.

I tried to contact Urtekram China through their official Shanghai address but didn’t get a response. I can’t read a word of Mandarin, unfortunately, and Google Translate doesn’t work so well with non-Western scripts, but I did my best to dig up some info for y’all. Keep in mind that most of this info is based on assumptions, conclusions, inferences and some creative lateral thinking.  If anyone of you kind readers out there can confirm or correct the facts or has additional info about Urtekram China, please let me know and I’ll update the article accordingly.

I also took a whole bunch of photographs (I think I spent almost an hour sitting in front of the product display; the sales assistants were starting to give me distinctly nervous glances) and I bought two of the hydrating toners which are SUPERB! Loving the textures.

Anyway, this is probably the longest teaser paragraph I’ve ever written for a trend-traveller article, so click on the link below for more info and pictures!

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