The fruits of Memebox’s labor — including a massive strategy shift — are about to launch in Ulta Beauty stores.
The company is introducing two private label skin-care brands, I Dew Care and Nooni, online at Ulta on June 26 and in 300 bricks-and-mortar doors July 10. Ulta will launch 14 stockkeeping units from each line.
“It’s our first major partnership for the U.S. market,” said Dino Ha, chief executive officer of Memebox. “We’re starting with 300 stores, but our hopes are quite big on this and I think Ulta is interested in taking this further.”
The launch comes after Memebox closed a $60 million venture capital round in 2016, with plans to center its attention on China. But now the company is focusing on its private label brands in the U.S. because China has been tougher on imports of Korean beauty following political tensions between the two countries. It also changed its web site, once a distributor of South Korean beauty products, to a content platform (since then, active users on the site have increased 60 percent, Ha said).
I Dew Care is actually a re-branded version of Memebox’s former Bonvivant line, which focuses on glowing skin.
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“It’s hard to resonate with the U.S. target audience, but we worked on this project for more than a year — we’re keeping the [South] Korean beauty DNA,” said Ha. “One of the primary focuses for the redesign was around copywriting, so that the product names and the brand names resonate with the audience. Ulta has been very helpful in understanding the U.S. audience better.”
The line includes a mask called Disco Kitten, which is a renamed version of Bonvivant’s signature chrome mask. In connection with the Ulta launch, I Dew Care is bringing two new masks — Ginger Aide and Berry Bubbly — to market, plus a collection of its five best-selling clay masks.
For Ulta, Nooni is introducing Snowflake Jelly Cleansing Oil, a jelly-like cleanser that transforms into oil when applied onto skin and can dissolve makeup.
Memebox’s products are rolling out in Ulta as the retailer looks to up its K-Beauty offerings.
“[K-Beauty] is so full of innovation, we are always adding brands and products with the aim of offering them first,” said Julie Tomasi, senior vice president of merchandising at Ulta Beauty. “Memebox is such a strong curator of the best of the best in K-beauty.”