‘Modern way is the old way’: Teaology eyes brick-and-mortar expansion in China as online competition intensifies

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Teaology has its sights set on building a physical retail presence in China. [Teaology]
Teaology has its sights set on building a physical retail presence in China. [Teaology]

Related tags Skin care China e-commerce brick and mortar Italy

Italian skin care brand Teaology has its sights set on building a physical retail presence in China as competition through cross-border e-commerce heats up.

Founded in 2015, Teaology is a skin care brand known for its use of tea infusions as a solvent instead of water in its product formulations.

The B-corporation-certified company has patented technology that makes it possible to preserve the antioxidant properties inherent in tea leaves, allowing it to deliver the benefits of tea to the skin, it claims.

The brand is currently available in China through cross-border e-commerce.

It has resonated with Chinese beauty consumers with its clean and ethical principles, effective formulations, and its use of tea sourced from China.

While its performance in China has been healthy, the company believes moving into brick-and-mortar will help advance the business there.

“On Tmall, the brand is doing well but it’s not like 2015 or 2016. Right now, its all diluted because the market is too crowded. The boom in Tmall, Little Red Book – these made it too easy for everyone to be there so everyone was there,” ​said CEO Paolo Bevegni.

Breaking through the clutter

The firm believes having a physical presence will help cut through the noise online.

“Now to be modern in China, you must do it the old way. That means you must be in brick and mortar, where at least there’s a filter for the brands,” ​said Bevegni.

Bevegni told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that the firm was in the process of registering its products in China.

The company had hoped to start the process earlier but was hindered by the regulations.

“We had to wait until we had assurances that our products will not be tested on animals,”​ said Bevegni.

The brand is part of PETA’s Global Beauty Without Bunnies program and its products are 100% vegan. The formulations are 95% to 100% of natural origin, complying with the ISO 16128 standard.

Due to the regulations, the company is only registering a selection of SKUs. Products such as its Bakuchiol Infusion face oil will likely not be available in market.

Additionally, the company recently inked a distribution deal to enter the South Korean market through the health and beauty channel as well as department store channel.

The brand is set to make its debut in Korea in the third quarter.

This follows the brand’s return to the Singapore market​, where it launched exclusively with health and beauty retailer Watsons Singapore in January.

Product innovations

The brand recently launched its first makeup product, Tea Lash Peptide Volume Mascara, which is 95% natural origin (ISO 16128).

It contains white tea and made with vegetable waxes and plant-based film forming agents.

Additionally, the formula has a peptide complex that “acts on keratin genes to thicken and lengthen lashes”.

According to the company, in vitro and in vivo tests have shown an improvement in eyelash density of up to 66% in four weeks.

While the company is proud of its latest launch, Bevegni told us the firm may not necessarily develop more makeup products.

He added that the development of the mascara was natural step following the launch of its Lash and Brow Peptide Infusion, which was very well-received by its customers.

The brand will focus on hair care innovation instead and is set to launch a new line soon following the successful launch of its Matcha repair line.

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