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Opening Ceremony Welcomes South Korean Beauty

The fashion retailer is introducing 28 South Korean beauty products from seven different brands for the holidays before further branching out in the beauty category.

South Korean beauty is getting the ultimate stamp of approval from the fashion set: Opening Ceremony is adding it to stores and online.

The retailer is unveiling a selection of 28 products from seven South Korean beauty brands on starting Nov. 22 after placing it in Los Angeles and New York locations last week. The move into beauty for the holidays presages deeper participation by Opening Ceremony in the category next year.

“We haven’t necessarily launched the category in a meaningful way before because we felt like, if we were going to do something, we wanted to do it where we could dedicate the right amount of space and have experts talking to the different brands. It’s superinteresting to us, but we wanted to do it the right way,” said Opening Ceremony cofounder Carol Lim. “This holiday felt like a really good time to introduce a capsule of different brands that we researched high and low to offer our customer an entry into what’s superexciting in beauty and especially in Korean beauty.”

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Opening Ceremony’s South Korean beauty assortment includes Manefit’s Bling Bling Hydro Gel Mask, MustaeV’s Cooling Anger Mask, Bonvivant from Memebox’s Real Botanical Mask Pack, SkinRx Lab’s MadeCera Body Moisturizer, Son & Park’s Air Tint Lip Cube, Too Cool For School’s Skinny Body Soda and Eye Candy’s Large Rainbow Mirrored Hairbrush. The products were picked for their unique points of view, ease of application and, occasionally, exclusivity. MustaeV is making its U.S. debut, for example, and Eye Candy’s multicolored brush designed to boost volume is an Opening Ceremony exclusive.

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“We are not necessarily offering full 10-step skin-care regimes. We are offering things our customer is going to be able to use on the go,” said Lim, elaborating, “We wanted to choose what each of the brands are known for, and we didn’t want to get into something that was superdifficult to explain. These are things that I think are really great for the holiday and what’s going to be happening with people traveling this winter.”

Joyce Lee, beauty buyer and strategist for Opening Ceremony, fully vetted the products prior to the retailer’s decision to carry them. She also hosted a beauty clinic for Opening Ceremony staff members to educate them about the products. In the stores, Lim explained, “There is a place where they are presented together, and we have a been pretty diligent about making sure the staff tries the products so they are able to speak about them and talk to what they like, and how to use them. It will be an interactive area, where, if you need to ask questions, you can be informed and, if not, you can grab and go.”

Lim suggested customers are going to be seeing much more in beauty from Opening Ceremony after the holidays. “This is the tip of the iceberg,” she said. “We hope beauty is going to be a very important category for us. We have been thinking about it for quite some time, and it has been about finding the right partners to execute our vision.”

Lim is open to expanding the beauty areas within Opening Ceremony stores, but she suggested she’s waiting on the response to the holiday South Korean beauty offering to determine the direction the retailer is headed in the category. “This is a good way for us to test the reaction,” said Lim. “We will know what the appetite is and how we want to build the category.”

Arnold Hur, president of Memebox USA, which created a cat headband as a free gift paired with its Bonvivant mask packs at Opening Ceremony, asserted the retailer can make a compelling statement with South Korean beauty. “They are really dedicated to something new. You really come there to discover things you have never seen. They are great storytellers, and they can help translate a lot of what is going on into something exciting for the average consumer,” he said. “I’m excited to see where this goes.”