‘Let your skin breathe’: HK brand OSCO aiming for global expansion on the back of rising interest in anti-pollution products
OSCO was founded in 2018 by Coyran Cheung, a former nurse and Formula Botanica graduate.
Cheung conceived the brand to fill a gap in the market for skin care products with anti-pollution protection properties.
“Pollution has become more severe and is one of the most challenging issues affecting women in Hong Kong today. More and more women have problems like sensitive skin and acne, and we believe pollution is a huge factor of that.”
Cheung told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that the brand was launched at the time where there was very little knowledge about how urban pollution can affect the skin, and very little products that could tackle the problem.
While this has improved over the last two years, the company believes there is still a lot of consumer education to be done on this topic.
“Generally, people are aware of the dangers of pollution, but very few take action to protect themselves against it. People don't realise how easy it is to protect their skin and fight against environmental damage such as air pollution” said Cheung.
The company expects the global market size for natural skin care and anti-pollution products expanding “significantly”.
“Consumers’ consciousness about health and awareness about the skin impacts of pollution is rising, and their demand on natural and anti-pollution skincare products is increasing, thus we will see market growth,” said Cheung
According to a 2016 World Health Organisation (WHO) report, 92% of the world's population breathes substandard air by WHO limits.
This trend is being accelerated by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, which has led to a phenomenon of mask-induced acne, also known as ‘maskne’.
“We can see there’s an increasing trend towards anti-pollution and sensitive skin care products to help cleanse, soothe and repair the skin. As you can see in our brand tagline – let your skin breathe – our original meaning is that our products are like a mask that protects your skin but lets your skin breathe under polluted environment,” said Cheung.
Additionally, the company is seeing an upward trend for more minimalist beauty routines, which it advocates.
Cheung predicts that frequent mask-wearing will drive consumers to seek out simplified routines with lightweight formulas.
She added that increasingly busy lifestyles would also contribute to the growth of this trend.
“They may want to simplify everything with fewer steps. There is a trend towards minimalist skincare products and routine with simple steps and fewer ingredients. That’s what we have been promoting since we launched.”
Since the COVID-19 outbreak hit Hong Kong, the company has seen business take a dip.
“Every industry is struggling and facing difficult times especially this year due to the COVID-19. There are impacts on our business as well, but we appreciate that we have built a loyal customer base that our loyal customers continue to support and put trust in us.”
Despite this, the company is aiming to grow in terms of product range and market expansion.
“We will be continuing in-depth research on the effects of environmental conditions and the challenges of climate change on the skin. We aim to launch at least one to two new products in our anti-pollution collection next year,” said Cheung.
Aside from Hong Kong, OSCO is also available for sale in the US, UK and Australia.
Moving forward the company hopes to further grow its brand awareness in those markets and expand to Singapore and Taiwan as well, where it believes consumers have similar needs as in Hong Kong.
The company is optimistic about market expansion opportunities, but the pandemic has caused the company to put its market expansion plans on hold, said Cheung.
“As we are growing, we will expand our team soon. We aim to continue expanding our market in Hong Kong and internationally. We will focus on marketing and product development in the next 12 months.”