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MBX, Sephora Co-create Korean Skin-care Brand, Otzi

Otzi launches with five products that will be part of Sephora's Clean at Sephora campaign.

MBX, formerly Memebox, and Sephora are collaborating on a second K-beauty brand.

The two have co-created Otzi, a five-product, skin-care line that is vegan, cruelty-free, PETA-certified and approved by the retailer’s Clean at Sephora initiative. Otzi will launch on Dec. 16 in the U.S., with prices ranging from $25 to $35.

Otzi’s launch comes two years after that of Kaja, the K-beauty makeup line created by MBX and Sephora. Dino Ha, MBX’s chief executive officer and cofounder, said that after finding success with Kaja’s Beauty Bento eyeshadow — which, at one point, was the top eyeshadow at Sephora, whose biggest makeup category is eyeshadow — he and the retailer began to ideate skin-care brands.

OTZI Skincare Sephora
Otzi’s C-Drip Brightening Serum, Dough Therapy Pore Treatment Mask and Multi-acid Drip Resurfacing Serum. Courtesy of OTZI Skincare

“[Sephora was] looking for something that’s going to speak to the next generation of consumers,” Ha told WWD via phone.

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Otzi, he continued, is a rearrangement of the Korean word 우리, which translates to “us.” It is meant to signify unity and inclusion.

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The debut lineup consists of a makeup-removing cleanser, brightening serum, resurfacing serum, gel moisturizer and pore treatment mask — a tighter edit than the buzzy 10-plus K-beauty regimen of years past. Otzi’s products underwent clinical testing, the results of which Ha said will soon be revealed.

In addition to checking the “clean” box, by Sephora’s standards, Otzi uses recyclable packaging without secondary packaging.

“I majored in environmental engineering in school, so I’m glad that the world is heading that way,” Ha said. “[Otzi’s] product line doesn’t have secondary packaging. The best way to be sustainable is to not produce.”

The packaging and campaign imagery seem to be intentional efforts to position Otzi as a gender-neutral brand — another point of differentiation between it and the rest of Sephora’s matrix. Ha called gender neutrality a “pillar” of K-beauty. South Korea is reportedly the world’s largest men’s beauty market.

Otzi plans to work with influencers within the Gen Z age range and microinfluencer tier — a strategy meant to foster greater social media engagement.

“We want to do more of a bottom-up approach in terms of the community or engaging with ambassadors,” Ha said.

The brand aims to further encourage engagement through a texting program that will allow customers to receive alerts for product recommendations and information, new launches and promotions.

“We wanted to make sure that we not only do customer service, but we offer the community aspect of it and guidance through texting,” Ha said.

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