SHANGHAI — The fashion world knows Wendy Yu well as an investor and as founder of the Yu Prize, but creative director of a beauty venture is a completely new hat for Yu. The young businesswoman has unveiled a luxury and cruelty-free line of color cosmetics, YUMEE , that sees its official launch Friday.
The initial collection comprises eight products and will be available on Red this week, followed by WeChat and Tmall in later months. Housed in light blue packaging with a peony logo, YUMEE lipsticks retail for 328 renminbi, a highlighter trio for 398 renminbi, and eye shadow palette for 488 renminbi. The lipsticks, in particular, come in a special faux-leather tassel that can be attached to a key chain or purse.
While she did examine investment opportunities within beauty, she told WWD, “I always knew I’m going to do a venture from zero to one to 100 myself at some point.”
“I found myself repeatedly using brands from Japan and from Korea from America or from Europe. And I was wondering why C-beauty is not rising because you can see the Chinese [fashion] designers, they were rising. But C-beauty was not rising globally at all,” she said.
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Chinese beauty brands like Perfect Diary, Florasis, Home Facial Pro and Winona have grown exponentially, however, they all occupy a mass price point and are virtually unknown to overseas consumers. In contrast, YUMEE is positioned in the premium space and Yu has designs to roll it out in high-end retailers internationally.
The brand was a year and a half in the making and the name YUMEE incorporates not only the founder’s name but comes from the Chinese character “yu” which denotes the word “jade,” while “mi,” which is anglicized as “mee,” expresses “exponential possibility.”
Cruelty-free beauty awareness is still low in China, but Yu said it was important to her for the brand to be rooted in the right values and utilize sustainably-minded packaging.
“We set the vision for the brand to be really the most globally positioned Chinese luxury beauty brand,” said Yu. “And I think if you set that standard and that benchmark, you really need to have high social values. Even though it would add a lot more of a process for the business when it comes to operations, it’s definitely something we should be standing for, something we should pioneering and setting a good example to other Chinese beauty businesses, no matter how big or small.”
“I think we need to create something that is, speaking our own language and speaking our own vocabulary to our consumers,” she added.
Expect to see more products added to the line later this year. Yu’s plan is for the YUMEE woman to be able to create a total look including base layer products like foundation to finishing powders and potentially even skin care, too.
“I think Charlotte Tilbury has set a great example in the way that she started from cosmetics,” Yu said, “but then, she now has skin care. I love her magic cream, I love her masks, so I’m definitely looking at that sector.”