Charlotte Cho is bringing a skin-care line to market — but don’t call it K-beauty.
Cho, who has added more than 45 brands and 550 products to South Korean beauty curator Soko Glam’s roster in the six years since its launch, has simultaneously been developing a skin-care line. Now, with a web site and social assets separate from those of Soko Glam and sister editorial site The Klog, Cho is launching her own brand, Then I Met You.
“In the past 10 years of getting introduced to Korean beauty, and then Soko Glam, I’ve reached a new turning point,” Cho said. “I’m ready for something that can help me go deeper in the things that really matter to me. With this new line, I wanted to embody what I’m personally going through and what’s important to me.”
Named to evoke a change in one’s skin-care routine, Then I Met You launches today with two products: the Living Cleansing Balm, $38, and Soothing Tea Cleansing Gel, $36, sold separately and as a duo for $68. The products are sold exclusively on Thenimetyou.com and will ship to all U.S. states and territories.
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The K-beauty market is on fire in the U.S. According to Larissa Jensen, executive director and industry analyst of NPD Group, K-beauty brands sold in prestige grew by 41 percent so far in 2018. Soko Glam, which Cho launched in 2012, is responsible for the popularization of the 10-step K-beauty skin-care regimen in the U.S. It has been profitable since year two, according to Cho, and is growing an average of three times a year in both New York and Seoul.
Cho declined to offer sales projections for Then I Met You, but industry sources estimate the line will do $35 million in total revenue its first year.
The choice to launch with a double cleanse, a staple of K-beauty, is a nod to Cho’s K-beauty expertise — though Cho doesn’t want the brand to be labeled as K-beauty. It is, however, Korean-inspired, and was made with the Korean concept of jeong in mind.
“Jeong is a deep, emotional connection you can have with somebody,” Cho said. “Our society needs it more than ever, something that’s substantial, that inspires you to go deeper and form deep connections with people. That’s something I want to bring to the world.” She is writing her second book on the concept of jeong.
Cho, who earned her aesthetician’s license in 2015, worked with South Korean R&D experts on the ingredients. The cleansing balm contains a high concentration of sea buckthorn oil, which softens and nourishes the skin, and comes with a spatula that reads, “Glow Deeper.” The cleansing gel is made with green tea, licorice root and rice ferment filtrate, all of which help to clean and brighten the skin. The use of rice ferment filtrate is another nod to K-beauty; rice water is often used in South Korea to wash and brighten the face.
Asked for her thoughts on the state of K-beauty in the U.S., Cho said, “Korean beauty is now synonymous with quality skin care. Korean beauty ultimately is helping the U.S. adopt good skin habits and skin-care education. That will never stop. People will always want someone to help guide them because skin care is such a customizable experience.”
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