Overseas debut: Japan’s Athletia landing in UK this October to start European expansion push
The brand was launched in February 2020 by E’quipe Ltd., a subsidiary of Kao Corporation that also owns cult J-beauty classics RMK and SUQQU.
Athletia was created to tap into the rising influence of wellness and mindfulness among consumers. Since its launch, it has positioned itself as a leader in Japan’s clean beauty movement.
For instance, the brand cultivates its raw materials like ashitaba and perilla leaves in a circular agriculture system where it claims to control all processes from soil preparation to extraction.
All products from the brand carry the natural origin index that conforms to the international ISO16128 standard.
Additionally, product packaging is primarily made from over 90% recycled glass and 100% recycled paper. The brand has also partnered with recycling business TerraCycle to start a container collection programme.
Athletia has unveiled a flagship in the swanky Omotesandō district which serves as a retail as well as lifestyle space complete with a studio that holds mediation and yoga workshops. The brand has also expanded its product range and has partnered with brands such as Lululemon for pop-up events.
However, the firm now has its sights set on an international expansion. It announced that it will be launching in the UK through a direct-to-consumer (DTC) website on October 6.
The company believes the brand will do well in the European region, which it believes to be the “home of clean beauty”.
While there are many clean beauty brands in the market already, it believes Athletia will stand out by leveraging on its J-beauty roots and emphasising its product quality and use of advanced technology.
Building a presence in Europe
Initially, the company said it will focus on DTC as it builds its brand awareness in the UK. It plans to operate on its own e-commerce website and focus on direct communication with its core audience through social media channels.
The company will then start to look for third-party e-commerce partners and expand into brick-and-mortar stores in 2022.
Considering the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the retail market, the firm said it will be looking to work with retail partners that have “high online visibility”.
It sees the expansion into the UK as the formation of a stronghold in Europe where it will plan its expansion to “major European countries” within the next three years.
Previously, CosmeticsDesign-Asia reported that Kao was working to strengthen its cosmetics business by focusing on overseas markets, such as Europe, where it sees huge potential for its brands such as SUQQU.
Last June, SUQQU debuted in French department store Le Bon Marché as part of the company’s plan to expand its presence in the region since launching in the UK in 2006.
In April this year, SENSAI launched an official online store in Europe to service the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Italy.