Star power: South Korean start-up taps top influencers to create hit beauty products

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Ice Creative is banking on its extensive network of Korea’s hottest influencers to create hit beauty products. ©Ice Creative
Ice Creative is banking on its extensive network of Korea’s hottest influencers to create hit beauty products. ©Ice Creative

Related tags: influencers, trends, Product development

South Korean start-up Ice Creative is banking on its extensive network of Korea’s hottest influencers to create hit beauty products that resonate with consumers.

Founded in 2017 by CEO Eunha Kim, Ice Creative is a beauty influencer network that works with influencers co-create cosmetic products.

The firm represents some of South Korea’s biggest names in social media, including Risabae, Holy, Yooncharmi, Dayeong, Serim’s Life and Yiseungin.

The company also uses its channel to collect feedback during the development process to create a product that resonates with consumers.

One of the co-brands the company has created is Jellyskin in collaboration with the influencer Dayeong.

The product launched in March this year and sold out 5,000 units within that month. Currently, it is planning to restock another 5,000 units for sale at the end of August this year.

Most recently it collaborated with the influencer Doenda to co-create a sunscreen.

The product, which was launched last month, promptly sold out and the company already working to restock the product.

Aside from creating products, Ice Creative leverages on this network of influencers to work with other brands on content creation. Some brands it has worked with include, Dior, Estee Lauder and Hera.

According to Kim, the company has carried out more than 2,000 projects for more than 500 brands and advertisers in three years.

Kim believes the beauty influencer is especially important in the beauty industry. For instance, beauty influencer can help break down information to consumers very effectively through entertainment, making them an extremely valuable tool for marketers.

“New products are constantly emerging in the beauty and lifestyle markets, and the role of influencer to experience and share new products on behalf of consumers is becoming increasingly important.”

Managing influencer IPs

Kim said that role influencers play in the market today would be difficult to replicate or replace.  

To effectively harness this resource and support influencers, the firm manages influencers’ intellectual properties (IP) with an IP management system.

Kim explained to CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that this was a large and important part of what the firm does.

“Today, within our industry, it’s very important to have top intellectual properties with influencers’ own identities and manage those IPs, and no other company has a system to manage it.”

The management system is crucial to the company in order to maintain its partnerships with influencers.

“The key here is to design a structure that can effectively create added value without hurting each creator’s creativity,” ​said Kim.

Additionally, it is crucial for the company to brand the IP so it has a connection to the business at the same time.

“As part of this strategy, we are looking at expanding identity through original content, diversifying distribution, collaborating externally, and conceptual activities,” ​said Kim.

She added that these activities also ensured the sustainability of this market in the long run.

Expansion potential

This year, the start-up was one of five chosen to participate in Beiersdorf’s exclusive beauty accelerator program, Nivea Accelerator (NX).

Moving forward, one of the company’s aims is to focus on monetising its branding-oriented activities.

The company also hopes to grow the events arm of its business, which organises the Comet Beauty Festival, the largest influencer and consumer beauty event in Korea.

In addition to that, the firm will soon be launching the Comet Store, an online marketplace.

Given the popularity of Korean culture, beauty and style worldwide, Kim is certain there is international potential for the company.

Currently, the firm is in the process of expanding its business internationally.

“Currently, there is a strong need for items, stories, culture and content from the Korean market in China and Asia. I think this will be a good opportunity for us and I believe this is a time to create synergy based on our experience and skills in Korea… I think we could expand the markets depending on the capabilities and value of the influencer,” ​said Kim.

She added: “Our core influencers are largely fashion and beauty-specialised creators that have their own distinctive identity… I’m sure that we have a competitive edge as a hub that can connect stories and concepts of K-culture and K-style.”

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