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TonyMoly’s Appeal Stretches Beyond the K-beauty Craze

A pioneer in the U.S. for Korean beauty, TonyMoly eyes opening its own flagship.

Just weeks after launching on, TonyMoly beauty products have moved so briskly that the retailer added five more items to the original 33 in the assortment.

“Within the first week, more than half of our inventory was completely sold out,” said Alice Hyun, vice president of operations at TonyMoly USA. “We’re the first stand-alone Korean beauty brand at Macy’s,” she added, noting other K-beauty items are part of curations rather than brands.

Plans call for TonyMoly to be added to the Impulse Beauty department in Macy’s physical stores by year-end. The company is also scouring locations for its own company-owned flagship location.

The acceptance at Macy’s marks a milestone for TonyMoly. “Our success there proves we are a true brand, not just part of a [South] Korean beauty trend. We are becoming more mainstream in the beauty industry,” Hyun explained. “Our products resonate with customers beyond just being Korean beauty.”

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TonyMoly bowed in South Korea 10 years and was one of the first K-beauty players to expand into the U.S. three years ago. The line is sold at Ulta Beauty, Urban Outfitters, select specialty doors and franchised units.

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Industry sources estimate the TonyMoly has sales between $5 million to $10 million. TonyMoly would not comment on sales figures.

The bestsellers at and in general, Hyun said, are sheet masks. “We offer a wide array of accessibly priced masks from $3 to $10. Our products are high quality, but in fun K-beauty-esque packaging,” she said noting an example of a panda-shaped hand cream.

An online shop launched last year helps the company gather data and insight into its shopper. “We find many are repeat customers who might start with a mask but come back for skin care,” Hyun said.

Next up for TonyMoly is expansion of pore care, a budding category in the U.S. Hyun said the company has more than 6,000 stockkeeping units in South Korea to cull from for U.S. distribution. “We are unique that we have our own research and development lab. We do work with others, but much of our innovation comes from in-house,” Hyun said.