Welcia-BHG Singapore is a joint venture between AEON subsidiary Welcia Holdings and Chinese retailer Beijing Hualian Group (BHG).
With multiple health and beauty chains in Singapore, Welcia-BHG has made it a point to carve out a niche in the market for itself as the J-beauty specialist.
“It is about differentiation. There are other drugstore chains so in order for us to differentiate, we need to bring in a lot more exclusive Japanese products. This is our strength,” said Felicia Ong, head of merchandising at Welcia-BHG.
According to Ong, exclusive products make up around 40% of Welcia-BHG’s product line-up across all categories from skin care to health supplements.
This year the company has been excited to bring in more exclusive J-beauty brands, including up-and-coming skin care brand Aveaute by Japanese singer Koda Kumi.
Additionally, it has brought in mineral skin care and make-up brand Only Minerals to fill a gap in the clean beauty space for mineral beauty products.
“When I was deciding what to bring in, I saw that the market was missing mineral cosmetics. There are many brands in Europe for instance but not in Singapore. I see a lot of potential for Only Minerals because people now prefer something that’s not so aggressive and more natural,” said Ong.
The company has also launched Resta, a skin care brand that was jointly developed by Welcia Holdings and Rohto Pharmaceutical and first launched in Japan.
“It’s easy to understand why we brought in this brand. First, it’s a collaboration between Rhoto and Welcia in Japan. It was also developed for younger consumers that are interested in preventative ageing skin care. I see a demand for this and also because it is a simple brand, I thought it would be good to bring it in,” said Ong.
Furthermore, Welcia-BHG launched its first skin care brand this year, after five years in Singapore. The brand currently consists of one product, a 3-in-1 facial sheet mask and is exclusively available in Welcia-BHG stores.
“We’ve been [in Singapore] for five years now. Our sales history tells us that sheet masks are pretty strong in terms of sales. We also observed the market leaders and we saw an opportunity to develop something different,” said Ong.
The development of Ojo was in line with the company strategic plans to focus heavily on exclusive products from Japan.
Ong elaborated that Ojo was influenced by the need for multifunctional products.
“The consumer nowadays is very busy, and they want a few benefits in one, rather than a specific one for anti-ageing or whitening. So, we saw an opportunity for this concept.”
The facial mask consists of ingredients such as niacinamide, snow mushroom extract as well as Japanese moon jellyfish extract. According to the firm, it helps with anti-ageing, skin brightening, moisturising, soothing as well as wound healing.
Since its launching in January this year, Ong told us that the sales and feedback have been positive. The company believes there will be demand for Ojo in Japan and is preparing to launch it there next year with its parent company.
Moving forward, Ong said the company is working to bring in more J-beauty exclusives, not just in skin care or make-up, but also for hair care. This is because Welcia-BHG has observed healthy growth in hair care.
“What we’ve realised is that especially the younger consumers, they don’t see hair care as one product for the whole family, unlike body wash. Every person in the family has personal requirements and needs so everybody wants their own personal treatments.”