Big star picks Korea for beauty product rollout

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Big star picks Korea for beauty product rollout


Rihanna demonstrates makeup at a beauty class in Jamsil, western Seoul, held to celebrate the launch of cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty in Korea. [NEWS1]

Robyn Fenty, the 31-year-old Grammy winner popularly known as Rihanna, introduced her Fenty Beauty cosmetics brand in Korea on Sept. 3.

Fenty paid a visit to Seoul on Tuesday to hold a beauty talk and makeup class in Jamsil, southern Seoul. She also held a beauty class in September in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Although she showed up two hours late to the event, citing traffic congestion, the event was seen as signaling the importance of Korea’s beauty market.

Together with a makeup artist from her brand, the singer, wearing an oversized white suit, personally demonstrated makeup on a model and shared her makeup tips for two hours.

Sweeping the stage from one end to another, she tried to communicate with the participants by meeting their eyes, saying, “You can ask anything at anytime throughout the show.”

Some 600 people, including bloggers and Lotte Duty Free customers, showed up at the beauty class. Others paid as much as 120,000 won ($107) for a ticket, which sold out five minutes after they became available online last month.

Fenty Beauty is a global makeup brand created in cooperation with Louis Vuitton owner LVMH.

It was developed by LVMH’s Kendo division, known as a cosmetics incubator.

The brand was initially released online, but it generated significant buzz and generated $100 million in sales in just a few weeks after introductions. LVMH said it is also launching a new fashion house with the performer.

In Korea, products from Fenty Beauty are only distributed at duty-free stores. It has five offline stores: at Lotte Duty Free in Myeongdong, central Seoul, and Jamsil; Shinsegae Duty Free in Myeongdong and Gangnam, southern Seoul; and Shilla Duty Free on Jeju Island. Only Lotte and Shinsegae distribute the brand’s products online.

“Although I can’t say the exact figure, we achieved the sales goal we had planned in a month in just 10 days,” said a spokesperson from Lotte. “In addition to people in [their] 20s and 30s in Korea, the brand is being well-received by customers from China and Southeast Asia.”

A spokesperson from Shinsegae said Fenty Beauty “is well-received among people in [their] 20s and 30s regardless of their nationalities. Diamond Bomb, a highlighter with glittering pearls, in particular, is a product that became viral.”

According to duty free sources, the singer planned the beauty class in Seoul and does not have plans to visit neighboring Asian countries.

“The importance of the Korean market, which pulls in Chinese customers, is significant,” said a spokesperson from Kendo. Fenty Beauty, which sells vegan products, hasn’t entered the Chinese market, where animal testing is compulsory.

“We suggested holding an open event where Korean consumers can try out products after it was confirmed in December that Fenty Beauty would debut in Korea,” said the Lotte spokesperson.

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