K-beauty delivered: Bulgarian clean beauty online store looks to double innovative brand offering

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Boutijour’s Snow Lotus Lifting Serum rejuvenates skin and improves elasticity and resilience while protecting from harmful environmental aggressors and premature ageing ©Undone Store
Boutijour’s Snow Lotus Lifting Serum rejuvenates skin and improves elasticity and resilience while protecting from harmful environmental aggressors and premature ageing ©Undone Store

Related tags bulgaria Europe South korea clean beauty

Bulgarian online retailer Undone Store has added South Korean skin care brand Boutijour into its portfolio in January 2021 as it looks to double the number of brands on the store by the end of this year.

It currently retails four other South Korean brands, Shangpree, Iope, Olivarrier and Son & Park, as well as its in-house brand (Undone Silk).

Undone was founded in April 2019 in Bulgaria, aiming to create an online multi-brand platform for clean and innovative skin care.

We wanted to bring in brands that Europe has not seen before, with innovative ingredients, formulations of the next generation of skin care products​,” co-founder and director, Vladimir Popov told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​.

According to Popov, Europe’s beauty market was saturated with legacy and pharmacy brands such as La Mer and Nivea.

The store was initially opened to any brands globally that fit its criteria of being clean, natural and innovative.

It just so happens that our first brands were South Korean brands​.”

These brands (that we have) are rare to find in Europe, as their formulations and products are so innovative, and they appeal to the new consumer looking for exciting new skin care​.”

Clear criteria

Being clean, natural and innovative were key criteria for Undone Store.

We looked at the cleanliness of the product, they must not contain sulphates, parabens, animal by-products, alcohol, and synthetic ingredients. Ideally, they should be cruelty free and vegan too​.”

For instance, Olivarrier incorporates squalene oil extracted from pure olives, Boutijour uses Himalayan White Lotus as a key ingredient, and Iope extracts botox actives from organic products.

In terms of innovation, Popov cited Iope (parent company: Amorepacific) as an example.

The key ingredient in Iope’s hyaluronic cream is the East Asian mountain yam. I haven’t seen any product in Europe using the East Asian mountain yamin their cream, and this product is one of our best sellers​.”

Another example was incorporating oxygen molecules in the products, which Shangpree is doing in its gel and foam products.

Popov hopes that Undone Store can drive the movement of K-beauty in Europe. “Korean skin care is clean, innovative in ingredients and formulations, and offer the luxury experience at a reasonable price​.”

There are not many Bulgarian companies bringing in Korean skin care.We find brands that are not available on the European market or very difficult to find, and we offer to people here, and we hope to drive this trend.​”

Consumer trends

In Bulgaria and Europe in general, products with hydrating and anti-ageing functions were sought after by consumers, according to Popov.

In Europe, people live very fast lives, especially in the capital cities such as Sofia, Berlin, Paris and Frankfurt​.”

Rising urbanisation and environmental pollution contributes to skin irritation, sensitivity, inflammation, dehydration, pigmentation and premature ageing.

People are looking for products that are hydrating. Those in their 40s and 50s are looking for anti-ageing, non-invasive skin care products. Instead of going for procedures, they are likely to turn to high performance skin care​.”

Popov added, “no products can reverse ageing, but rather products that can hydrate the skin and protecting and restoring the skin barrier to slow down signs of ageing​.”

Business model

Undone Store imports products from the brand directly instead of using distributors. The products are delivered anywhere in EU and US.

Last year also saw the global supply chain disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Popov said this did not significantly affect its business.

Some raw ingredients were affected, which in turn affected some of the brands, but it was not much of a disruption. The skin care companies we worked with managed to handle the COVID-19 situation well​.”

Last year, the firm also recorded an increase in sales, although Popov declined to share specifics.

During the lockdown, people were spending more time at home, and looking to take care of their skin, and general health and wellness​.”

As we are an online store, we don’t need to transition from brick and mortar. We were well-positioned to deliver to our end consumers​.”

The firm plans to add new brands, doubling the number by the end of this year.

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