When YG Entertainment, the cradle of K-pop stars Big Bang, 2NE1, Psy and many others, attracted $80 million in investment from the global luxury giant LVMH Moet Hennessy-Louis Vuitton last year, it had the entertainment industry wondering what would become of the company.
And the very first tangible project was introduced in October 2014: beauty brand Moonshot.
Moonshot, established by Code Cosme, a cosmetics firm under YG Plus, a nonentertainment arm of YG Entertainment, took the market by storm. With more than 250 items churned out by Coson Co., of which YG is a major shareholder, the beauty brand is already seeking globalization.
The company currently runs two outlets in Seoul -- one in foreigner-frequented Samcheong-dong and the other in Shinsegae Department Store’s Gangnam branch -- and has been introduced in Hong Kong by Sasa cosmetics store.
Code Cosme introduced Moonshot to the Southeast Asian press in Singapore and Malaysia earlier this week, ahead of the scheduled September launch at global high-end cosmetics store Sephora, which is also operated by LVMH.
Moonshot’s iconic multipurpose color stick -- which can be applied on the cheeks, eyelids and lips -- as well as oven-baked eye shadow infused with a gel formula, foundation cream and many others will hit an entire shelf at the stores there.
“It is true that the brand value of YG Entertainment has given us easy access to the public. But we have more to offer. We aim to become a global beauty trend leader in three years,” said Min Boon-hong, director of Code Cosme.
Min explained that LVMH has indeed supported the showbiz firm’s venture by sending several beauty experts who advised on the cosmetics manufacturing, marketing and the overall value chain. “The support really helped us understand and get hold of the branding and marketing, research and development, as well as distribution of the industry, which we thought were imperative in running a manufacturing business,” Min said.
YG also learned that the firms’ liberal and extremely artistic image should be toned down when it comes to actually selling consumer goods.
“When you first hear that YG is making a beauty brand, you would think of the members of 2NE1 or Big Bang, those self-opinionated, but rather strong characters in the agency. But we have decided to focus on making products that could actually be applied to people living everyday lives. So instead of going wild in the color selection, we blended neutral shades preferred by Asian women,” Min said.
For pan-Asian customers, Code Cosme hired Southeast Asian makeup artists who understand local markets and preferences. With their advice on humid climate and people’s inclination to simpler makeup, the powder pigments became less loose and lipsticks last longer. The company is also planning to diversify its production lineup for the U.S. market, where the population has diverse skin tones, characteristics and bone features.
“Korea’s cosmetics market is very volatile. The trend cycle spins so fast that you just lose your mind in the middle. While not ignoring the domestic market, we will go for a steadier cycle by going overseas,” Min said.
Endorsements by YG celebrities will fill the gap between the trends. “We have a limited-edition collaboration planned with them next year, and one of our artists, a household name, will become our brand ambassador. Hallyu seems quite effective in the American market and we are getting a lot of offers from American countries,” Min said.
By Bae Ji-sook (email@example.com