K-beauty indie brands set sail on global expansion via strategic partnerships and tapping into new markets

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

Several Korean indie beauty brands have recently announced their overseas expansion plans. ©rataplan
Several Korean indie beauty brands have recently announced their overseas expansion plans. ©rataplan

Related tags K-Beauty Business development Korea

Several Korean indie beauty brands recently announced their overseas expansion activities, with collaboration with distributors and entry into new high-potential markets being their key strategies.

The K-beauty space was abuzz with activity at the end of 2023, with various indie brands trumpeting their expansion moves consecutively.

For one, Korean cosmetics manufacturer C&T Dream unveiled its partnership with cosmetics exporter Retail Lagoon to accelerate the entry of its skin care brand JEJU suguk into the global market.

Through this collaboration, C&T Dream seeks to utilise Retail Lagoon’s worldwide distribution network and digital marketing expertise to launch products in markets such as Japan, India, Thailand, and the UAE.

JEJU suguk’s nature-inspired products contain hydrangea leaf extract as a key ingredient to offer brightening and moisturising effects. Its line-up includes mist toner, serum, sleeping pack, and moisturiser sunblock.

“The plan is to establish JEJU suguk as a skin care brand loved by consumers around the world through a ‘high volume, low cost’ strategy.

“To strengthen global competitiveness, we introduced product ranges tailored to the needs of consumers in different regions. In particular, the Clear Line and Moisture Line cater to the humid climate in South East Asia (SEA), and the dry environment of Central Asia and the Middle East respectively,” ​C&T Dream said.

Strength in collaboration

Another company that has fortified its resources for expansion via collaboration is Derma skin care brand Catch By Son Yuna, launched by aesthetics clinic Dr.Sonyouna Clinic.

It has joined hands with Korean distributor BGT Company to set foot into the Japanese market.

BGT Company is actively engaged in the beauty business both locally and abroad to assist Korean cosmetics brands with their overseas expansion. Its work not only includes distribution, but also marketing strategies in Japan and in offline stores.

“With the growth of K-beauty and the number of Japanese consumers who visit Korea for skin care [products and services], Catch By Son Yuna is preparing to launch in health and beauty shops, cosmetics stores etc. in Japan.

“The brand has set its sight on the Japanese market as there is already demand from the local consumers. Our business is driven by the commitment to help all Korean cosmetics brands aiming to enter Japan. We strive to enable more local brands to successfully penetrate into this market in the future,” ​said Byung-soo Kim, CEO of BGT Company.

Potential in Russia

Following SEA and Japan, clean beauty brand rataplan recently announced its venture into the US and Russia via e-commerce platforms Amazon and Podrygka respectively.

According to the brand, its calming moisture cream under the Water Parsley series has received good responses in both new markets.

Due to Russia’s cold and dry climate, its best-selling Donghae Deep Moisturizing Cream is also ranked high on the sales chart.

“There are customers who already know about rataplan and purchase our products, even though they have not been advertised or marketed.

“The US is the second-largest export market for Korean cosmetics. Local small and medium-sized indie brands with relatively low prices and of good quality are doing well there. We will continue to promote Korea’s clean beauty concept through rataplan in these large markets,” ​the firm stated.

Based on data from the Korea Cosmetic Industry Research Institute, while Russia’s export share is small compared to China, Japan and the US, its export volume as of October 2023 had reached US$349.44m, up 21.8% from the same period of the previous year.

“Through this, we can see that the interest in K-beauty in Russia is rapidly growing.”

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