Race Corporation was founded in 2009 as an OEM company producing cosmetic products, most notably licensed cosmetic products for brands such as Sanrio, San-X and Chupa Chups.
The company has recently become a brand owner with the launch of Shojin Cosme, a halal and vegan make-up line certified by JAKIM-recognised Japanese Islamic Trust and The Vegan Society.
The company was able to launch Shojin Cosme last November after it completed the construction of its own factory in the Fukushima Prefecture.
Marketing manager Eiko Narazaki told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that the company decided to develop Shojin Cosme as it noticed a sizable gap in the market for Japan-made halal and vegan cosmetics.
“Shojin Cosme was inspired by Shojin Ryori, a traditional Japanese vegetarian cuisine that originated from Buddhist monks in Japan. This cuisine does not utilise meat, fish or other animal-derived products,” explained Narazaki.
She said the company decided to base its brand on the concept and principles of Shojin Ryori as they are similar to halal and vegan ideals.
“It’s a concept that we believe resonates with Muslim and vegan consumers while retaining Japanese identity,” said Narazaki.
Eyeing potential in SEA
Narazaki admitted that while halal and vegan trends were not particularly strong in Japan at the moment, the firm still saw the potential for it domestically.
“Japan is a bit behind in terms of these trends. However, for example, we are seeing more vegans in Japan. It’s not a lot but we expect veganism to keep growing.”
She added that the brand’s potential is probably the largest overseas where there is a larger demand for halal and vegan cosmetic products.
“While vegan and halal beauty is not so major in Japan, we definitely see opportunities outside of Japan, such as SEA and in the future maybe even Europe.”
Narazaki said the firm was currently seeking partnerships to help it expand into the wider Asian market.
She highlighted the company’s interest in SEA countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, where there is a large Muslim population.
“We want to give Muslim consumers access to high-quality Japanese cosmetics. Likewise for vegan consumers,” said Narazaki.
Unlike the fanciful and kawaii licenced items it produces, Shojin Cosme has a minimalist black and white aesthetic.
The range currently consists of blushers, eyeshadows, lipsticks, lip glosses and a lip balm. These products are made from distinct Japanese ingredients such as yuzu peel oil, rice brand oil and sesame seed oil.
“On top of being free from animal-derived ingredients, our products also do not contain parabens, silicones and fragrance. Technically, it was quite difficult to develop make-up products with these conditions,” said Narazaki.
She said the company hoped to include more make-up products in the future, but those plans are dependent on the capacity of its Hirono plant.
“Right now, we are a very small cosmetics company. In 2020, we hope to expand the capacity of our factory so we can produce higher quantities and more product types.”