Life & Style

South Korean beauty brands keen to explore the Indian market

Innisfree, a major South Korean beauty brand, is out with their first store in Bengaluru and plans to open another one soon

There was a spring in the step, a twinkle in the eye and a smile on the lips of many a woman, who entered Mantri Square Mall last week enquiring and looking around for something special. Innisfree, one of the biggest South Korean beauty brands, was inaugurating their first physical store in Bengaluru. For those who swear by the Korean beauty regime, it is certainly a noteworthy occasion.

Like K-pop, K-drama, South Korea has also also created another rage in the world with K-beauty. The 10-12 step Korean beauty regime with an emphasis on skin care has numerous takers across the world.

We were introduced to toners, BB creams, CC creams and now, the latest — cushion foundations — by South Korea, considered the 8th largest cosmetics market in the world.

This is what makes Innisfree's entry into Bengaluru a big deal. This is their 13th store in India and the first in Bengaluru. "There was just so much interest and demand from the customers in Bengaluru on social media that we had to open one. We have been waiting to open the store for some time. We were waiting for the right location and appropriate store size," says Mini Sood Banerjee, Senior Manager, Marketing, Innisfree.

Though Korean beauty products are now available on Amazon, Innisfree is not available on the online shopping portal. In India, it has its online presence on Nykaa and Purplle.com. "But now you can come to a physical store and see it for yourself. That makes a lot of difference. A lot of customers came and realised that we also have gift packs and were so happy about it," beams Banerjee.

A day after the launch, the brand also conducted a K-beauty class by an expert at the store.

According to Banerjee, there is also a shift in brands which are moving away from using chemicals, towards naturalism. "And Innisfree scores there because we are about naturalism, as a brand. All our products incorporate green tea water. Our jeju volcanic pore skincare series is also preferred because the products contain volcanic clusters from Jeju island.”

In that case, Ayurveda, India's ancient system of health and beauty harping on natural and holistic treatment, must pose competition? "Yes, it has started to. This is why we need to keep innovating to keep our customers hooked. We introduced eyeshadow and eyeliners according to Indian colour tones and demands. While we had cushion foundations in a limited shades, they have come out with 20 shades for other markets. Koreans never use kohl but we had to do it for our Indian customers."

Banerjee emphasises that back in Korea, skin care takes precedence over makeup. She says that South Korean women indulge in 10-12 steps before going out. "How many do we do here? With cream/moisturiser or a foundation, we follow two or three steps at the most. South Koreans have glowing skin because they take care of it."

At the store, customers can find all their favourites from cushion foundations, lip-tinted balms, green tea seed serum, super volcanic pore clay mask to orchid enriched cream and much more.

With Innisfree now planning to open their second store (where they might toy with VR experience and eco-healing music) in another upscale mall in Bengaluru, not to forget Face Shop's launch in Delhi in 2016, South Korean brands' seriousness about Indian markets is evident.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 4:17:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/into-your-skin/article24494411.ece

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