Beauty Architects' brand Masqueology


Masqueology wants no one to miss out on the South Korean skin-care craze.

After originally launching five years ago with prestige positioning at Sephora and Macy’s, the brand has pivoted to the mass market by entering Wal-Mart. The world’s largest retailer last month began carrying six of its sheet masks at moire than 3,000 doors: Vita Clarifying Cream Mask, Moisturizing Face Mask, Special Care Mask, Moisturizing Foot Mask, Moisturizing Hand Mask and the best-selling Collagen Lifting Cream Mask.

“When we started, [South] Korean skin care was basically nonexistent in the U.S., and it’s come to the forefront. Everybody has started jumping on the [South] Korean skin-care bandwagon, and a lot of the big mainstream retailers contacted me about [South] Korean skin care,” said Phillip Ha, chief executive officer of Masqueology parent company Beauty Architects. “The mass market is looking for this technology at affordable prices. Mass customers are more savvy about technology now because of the Internet and social media.”

To suit a broader customer base, Masqueology had to slash prices, but it sought not to make sacrifices while doing so. At prestige retailers, it’s masks were $8 to $12 per sheet and, today, the masks are available for $2.50 to $4 per sheet. Although they’re cheaper, Ha emphasized the products haven’t changed. “Because of the volume, we could bring down our costs and the price,” he explained. “We bring high quality products to the mass market.”

As Masqueology widens its retail distribution, it’s also widening its merchandise assortment. Masks developed to improve hair are due out next month. Ha detailed there will be three hitting Wal-Mart shelves that are designed to hydrate, volumize and remedy damage. “After you wash your hair, you put them over your hair. They’re almost like a turban. It’s a specially made foil with ingredients inside,” said Ha. “You keep them on for 15 to 20 minutes and, after you finish, you take them off and wash off the formula. It’s a deep treatment.”

In January, Masqueology is pushing beyond masks with skin-care products including Bubble Cleanser and Hydro Booster Sleeping Cream. Of the former, Ha expounded, “Once this product gets in contact with oxygen, it bubbles up. It’s a light exfoliation, and it cleanses your face. The bubbles help the formula penetrate deep so you get all the dirt out.” Of the latter, he continued, “You put it on your face, and you sleep with it on all night. That is what’s trending right now. It’s all about leaving the product on overnight to really moisturize your skin.”

Masqueology is on course to generate $15 million in retail sales over the next year, and Ha indicated that figure could mount if the brand enters additional retail accounts. He’s in talks with large chains interested in giving customers the latest in South Korean skin-care with Masqueology. Beauty Architects’ mission is to leverage South Korean beauty innovation for release in the U.S.

“We talk with the chemists and factories all the time…to see what new technologies there are going forward, and we gather all that information together to see how the market is moving,” Ha said. “We sometimes even bring technologies to the market before the trend is actually there. My goal is to be a trendsetter.”

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