New e-tailer on the block, Hermo promises to source 'hard to find' international brands

By Michelle Yeomans contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Asia

New e-tailer on the block, Hermo promises to source 'hard to find' international brands
Malaysian cosmetics startup, Hermo has raised US$2 million in funding to back its ambitions to break into new markets with a service that promises to simplify sourcing international brands for online shoppers.

The online beauty retailer, set up in 2012, received funds from venture capital firm Gobi Partners to support its platform that claims to save Southeast Asia's shoppers time and money sourcing hard to find or overseas products. 

The platform stocks international brands and partners directly with brand owners and distributors, however the founders say that Korean brands are the most sought after.

By September 2015, revenue reached RM 10 million (US$2.37 million), a threefold year-on-year growth and claims to be the first full-listing e-commerce supplier for L’Oreal in Malaysia. 

We believe that Hermo will continue to benefit from the Korean wave. We will work with them to establish improved supply chain relationships with suppliers and manufacturers from Korea and other major cosmetics markets​, ” Kay-Mok Ku, partner at Gobi Partners told regional publication, Tech in Asia.

K-beauty demand

Korea’s commitment to beauty is a cut above the rest in Asia where it is leading the way with some serious brainpower and cool technology.

And when it comes to personal care and beauty, this hefty R&D spend yields cutting-edge advances in ingredients and formulation – from nanotechnology to stem-cell related actives and growth factors. 

The country's beauty launches have been categorized by trends like 'K-Pop' which are heavily influenced by flamboyant male pop icons, the alphabet craze known as 'BB' (et al) creams, and more generally 'K-Beauty' which refers to Korea's influence on the West's skin care developments. 

As the West calls for more of South Korea's beauty innovations, even the smallest of players are benefiting, despite struggling to ward off stiff competition at home.

This overseas demand is giving even the smallest of players a voice where they might be struggling to be heard in their competitive domestic market.

Take for example; the Elisha Koy brand first launched in 2007, which got major coverage for its BB cream in the West and now exports to over 20 countries and accounts 60 per cent of its sales from overseas demand. 

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