Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 4.54.29 PMKorea Beauty is having more than a moment in the U.S. Last year, Urban Outfitters devoted a section of its beauty products to Korean skin care and cosmetics brands. Sephora also expanded its line of Korean products beyond Dr. Jart; the retailer is carrying Tony Moly, Belif, and Koh Gen Do and plans to add Peach and Lily products in the near future. Attention to the Korea beauty – aka K-Beauty – multiplied as beauty bloggers and editors vouched for the effectiveness about the products and raved about innovative packaging. Among them Lucky editor Eva Chen, who featured the apple shaped Tony Moly hand cream – available on Lucky Shops – in her famous taxi pose.


Not only are these Korean beauty brands effective and popular, they are digitally savvy. L2 Digital IQ Index: Korea Beauty found that global Beauty brands entering Korea were having trouble competing with locals in terms of fulfillment, social media presence, and campaigns that reach a mobile-savvy audience. (South Korea leads global smartphone penetration; 70% of mobile phone owners use a smartphone and 48% of Korean online shoppers make a purchase on their smartphone). In fact, 12 of the 19 Genius and Gifted brand in L2’s Korea Beauty Index are local brands.


Here are a few Gifted and Genius brands expanding their retail presence in the U.S.:


Etude House: The Genius brand who tops L2’s Korea Beauty Index offers m-commerce on its mobile site and is the only brand with an Android app in the Naver store. It has the largest fan base on Facebook and the most-viewed YouTube channel with 23 million views. Etude invests in gamification across all social platforms, boosting social commerce.


Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 4.46.03 PMTony Moly: Tony Moly’s Facebook contest asking for user-generated content has lead to a 631% year-on-year growth rate on the platform. It is one of the few brands to try KakaoTalk’s new Plus Friend service for brands, adopted by seven local and just three global brands.









The Face Shop: The Face Shop boasts the largest community of all Beauty brands on KakaoStory, built by inviting followers to take quizzes, share new product launches and recruit users to test products.

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Skin Food: Ranked third and Gifted in L2’s Korea Beauty Index, Skin Food plays on its name to engage fans with healthy recipes. Its Facebook community grew by 594% year-over-year and the brand boasts the third largest community on KakaoTalk.


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