The first stop on my Asia trip this May was Seoul, for Cosmobeauty 2018 trade show (check out my trade show review here) but also to do my customary store research. This is something I do whenever I travel; even if I have visited the country/city before.
I visit as many health & beauty retailers as possible; at least one chain per distribution channel: drugstore, perfumery, department store, organic store (or equivalent) and whatever specific retail channel a particular country might have.
And then I spend hours in-store until the security staff and/or sales personnel is starting to give me suspicious looks ; ). I’m checking out the products that are displayed on the shelves: are there any interesting new beauty launches – any new key ingredients? Product types? Packaging designs?
Does the retailer have any own label brands and if so, what do they look like? Is there just one own label range or a diversified portfolio of proprietary product ranges? What is the overall percentage of domestic brands vs. international brands? And what do the retail chains look like; do they offer any in-store services, features or activities to make shopping in a bricks ´n mortar store more exciting?
I also take pictures, usually discreetly because retailers in Asia often forbid you to photograph their products or store interiors. Case in point: Chicor and Olive Young (more info in the article!); in one particular Olive Young store I was told no less than three times (by three different staff) that taking photos was not allowed! Although I am a law-abiding citizen by nature I tend to disregard these strictures and as a result I’ve become very good at clandestine photography : )
This was my fifth visit to Seoul and after the first couple of days I was struck by how rapidly the Korean beauty retail market is changing at the moment. And it all started less than two years ago.
There are three (!) new beauty retail chains on the market which offer a European-style perfumery multi-brand concept (and for the Korean beauty market this is is nothing less than revolutionary – again, more info on this in the article!) while drugstore market leader Olive Young is hastily refurbishing its stores across the capital in a scramble to keep up with all of the new competitors.
One week was barely enough to visit all of these new retailers and because so much is happening in the Korean beauty market at the moment, I think it is time for an overview article on all of the new beauty retail chains (with plenty of high-res pictures, of course).
Click on the link below!
The 2018 edition of Korean C&T trade Cosmobeauty Seoul took place from 9th-11th May in Seoul’s COEX exhibition centre. It was my third Cosmobeauty visit (for more information, check out my reviews for Cosmobeauty 2016 and Cosmobeauty 2017) and – just like last year – it was a very worthwhile trade show.
I noticed more Western faces this year (and they were not just buyers) and many international K-Beauty/Asian beauty bloggers. It was an exciting two days. And without further ado: click on the link below for a list of my favourite brand discoveries (and re-discoveries!) of Cosmobeauty 2018.
It was my first trip to Shanghai and my first visit to China Beauty Expo. The trade fair was immense, chaotic and exhausting (as trade shows tend to be!) but also very interesting; mostly because I don’t know many Chinese brands so there was plenty to discover – after all, China Beauty Expo is one of the biggest C&T trade shows in mainland China. Click on the link below for a detailed show review with over 100 high-res pics!
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!
I discovered this store purely by accident: I was actually walking to Gwangjang Market when I saw the sign “Coffee & Cosmetic” on the other side of the street. These are two of my favourite things; so I obviously had to go and check this out. Turns out that Agarbatti is a really cool DIY cosmetics store / garden café.
If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I am currently in Seoul. And I’m so happy to be back! The main event here was, of course, Cosmobeauty trade show which took place from 27th-29th April 2017. It was my second time at Cosmobeauty – you can read my show review about Cosmobeauty 2016 here – and it feels like it was a different trade show. Although I liked Cosmobeauty 2016 I almost prefer this year’s show – and not just because there were so many new organic beauty brands to discover!
And here – as promised – is the brand profile about Jath, the new organic beauty brand from Korean natural products manufacturer Jallon. I had met Jallon at Cosmoprof Asia 2016 back in November; the company has recently taken over the marketing for my all-time favourite beauty brand Whamisa. At the trade show, Jallon presented two new organic brands: Nature Belle (you can read my article about Nature Belle here) and Jath.
Jath is a premium anti-ageing face care range which was launched in the summer of 2016. Like its sister brands Whamisa and Nature Belle, Jath is manufactured by ENS Korea, certified organic by German association BDIH (Cosmos) and the entire range is completely water-free: the first ingredient in all five products is aloe vera leaf water.
The Jath line-up includes an eye cream, a face cream and three serums/elixirs which are packaged in glass bottles and jars; the outer packaging is made from stiff cardboard. All products have been scented with a similar blend of essential oils (rosewood, bergamot, geranium and lemongrass) and the fragrance is rather invigorating: zesty citrus notes, aromatic herbals and spicy wood accords.
At Cosmoprof Asia last month I also met one of my favourite organic beauty brands from Korea: Whamisa. Whamisa’s manufacturer ENS Korea was a first-time exhibitor at the trade show, together with organic manufacturer Jallon which has taken over the marketing and promotion for the Whamisa brand.
And Jallon presented two new certified organic product ranges: premium anti-ageing range Jath and children & baby care range Nature Belle. I’ll post a more detailed article on Jath soon. This brand profile is about Nature Belle. Click on the link below for more information, ingredients and pics!
Well, I’m back in Seoul! I’ve only been here for a few days and already spent a lot of time in various beauty stores to check out what’s new in Boons, LOHBS, Olive Young et. al. (you can see some of my finds on Instagram: @annika.trendtraveller – or scroll down the page to the Instagram widget on the left sidebar).
I’ve also been stocking up on some of my favorite Korean and international beauty brands, including the famous Starting Treatment Essence from Korean brand Secret Key, the Skin Soothing Gel from organic US brand A24 which I discovered during my last trip to Seoul; and the Deep Rich Toner from my favorite organic Korean beauty brand, Whamisa!
However, one of the reasons why I came to Seoul was to visit Cosmobeauty 2016 trade show which took place as part of Health & Beauty Week from 28th April to 30th April 2016 in COEX exhibition centre. There were three trade shows actually: Cosmobeauty (retail and salon cosmetics), Organic Industry Expo (organic food) and Health Industry Expo (supplements and lifestyle products).
First of all, this is not a product review or comparison. It is more of a presentation – three interesting products from different brands, taken from the same product category. In this case: face cleansing. All three brands are from Korea.
So, let’s dive right in! What we have here is a solid cleanser based on coconut oil and glycerin (Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick), a creamy white foam based on sea water and sea salt granules (Sea Salt Perfect Cleanser 40%) and a cleansing oil whose key ingredient, besides deep sea water, is Epidermal Growth Factor cell activator (Pure Propolis Washable Cleansing Oil).
The three brands are equally different: Su:m37 is from the luxury sector, Innisfree is a mass market brand with a very wide distribution and LaCell is firmly rooted in the niche/online retail channel.