Looking to capitalize on the popularity of face masks and differentiate itself in the increasingly crowded Korean beauty space, e-commerce company Beauteque is making a shift in its business — moving from a broad assortment of Korean skin-care products to selling mostly face masks.
The move comes as part of the web site’s rebrand, says Elina Hsueh, who started the operation in March 2014 with her mother Josephine Wang. The revamped site launches June 15. “We really want a niche and to be the company where people think, ‘Oh, where do I buy masks? Beauteque,’” Hsueh said.
“I saw how the Korean beauty wave is expanding more and more,” Hsueh said. “Now you see Korean beauty products all over the news, all over chain stores like Sephora to Target to Bed Bath & Beyond. There is obviously a lot more competition. There are a lot more people that are selling these products.” There are a handful of e-commerce businesses focused on Korean skin-care products, including Peach + Lily, which is launching its own line of masks soon, Glow Recipe and Soko Glam.
Masks, along with clinical or natural products, are making sales gains as a skin-care subcategory. In two years, face-mask sales have doubled from $60 million for 2013 to roughly $120 million in sales in 2015, according to the NPD Group.
For Beauteque, the opportunity lies in both the popularity of masks but also the loyalty and replenishment habits of regular customers. “Mask users, they use them very frequently, so it’s something that is frequently bought,” Hsueh said. Hsueh sources the masks directly from Korean vendors, she said.
The business already counts a significant percentage of total sales from masks — some from the Beauteque Mask Maven subscription box, which delivers 9 to 11 sheet masks per month for between $13-$15. The box has approximately 2,000 subscribers.
Beauteque has grown sales since its launch, with about $30,000 in year one and $600,000 in year two. For 2016, sales could reach $2 million, according to industry sources. Hsueh said she’s considering taking on a financial partner to accommodate the business’ growth.
In addition to the switchover to mask-selling, Beauteque is incorporating interactive education as the other major component of the business transformation, said Hsueh. The site will feature a tool that will help customers determine which mask is best for their skin type by filling out fields such as age, skin type, skin concerns and ingredient preferences. Then, Beauteque will display top suggestions. “It will be an education introduction for people who have no idea what type of masks to use,” Hsueh said. The site will also have a live chat and phone call option where customers can discuss their concerns with beauty consultants, as well as blog posts and video tutorials.
Beauteque will start off with roughly 600 different types of face masks, and plans to eventually expand to about 1,000. The site will sell other Korean beauty products until inventory runs out, according to Hsueh.