Innisfree Making Big and Bold Moves
Doyoul Lee – Country Head at Innisfree India and General Manager of AmorePacific, leads the Korean skincare brand’s growth in the country. K-Beauty is currently one of the driving forces behind innovations in the global cosmetics industry. Innisfree has grown with this USP and recently made some bold moves with the launch of India-specific products like their Bold Kohl and Camelia Head Massage Oil. Beauty Launchpad caught up with Lee to decode these big steps in the Indian market as well as the way forward for Innisfree and AmorePacific in the country. — By Ritoo Jhha
The Bold Kohl is a big step forward – what is the research that has gone into creating this line and why?
Kohl is considered an essential part of an Indian woman’s make-up routine. Innisfree’s local marketing/product team first studied the latest trends and ingredients. Thorough research and extensive strategizing were then shared with the Research & Development team at Innisfree Headquarters in South Korea. Post extensive studies, the R&D team shared the final samples of Innisfree Bold Kohl which we introduced in the Indian Market, in 2017. But this year, we went a step forward and Innisfree India introduced 3 more colours under the Kohl category. As per the feedback shared with HQ, special ingredients were added to the Green & Blue variants to give a little sheen in the texture. The final names were decided by our team, keeping the Jeju Island and global Innisfree standards in mind. Basalt Black, Forest Green, Volcanic Brown and Marine Blue are the four colours offered. The kohl not only helps you achieve that perfect winged look but will also help you curate the perfect festive and wedding make-up. The product is smartly priced for Indian customers and is doing well in the market.
Innisfree has taken its time with retail expansion in India. With 20 stores now, do you think the Indian consumers prefer the brick & mortar experience more? What are your future plans in expanding boutique retail?
We have seen great success in the Indian market with the brick and mortar experience, as the consumers can personally touch and feel the products. Even from the brand’s end, we can give one-on-one consultations and suggestions to the customers based on their skin concern and skin type. Our Greenus (Beauty Advisors) are professionally trained to explain the products and regime; they also tell the customers how to apply a particular product and what is the right way to use them. We have installed vertical gardens in our stores which gives fresh oxygen to the visitors. Over the years, we have opened several stores in prime locations and the future plan is to extend our physical stores at an even quicker pace to connect with our target audience — not only in Tier 1 but also in Tier 2 and 3 cities.
Which are the fastest moving categories/ products in retail? Is it different for online retail?
Innisfree’s Green Tea Range has been the most popular and the demand for the same is extremely high in the country. Our most popular products are Green Tea Seed Serum, Perfect 9 repair cream, Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask 2x, Orchid Enriched Cream and Whitening Pore Synergy Serum. Apart from these, the Innisfree My Real Squeeze Mask and Innisfree Skin Clinic Masks are among the best sellers and are the brand’s fastest-moving product ranges. Compared to online retail, products in the high price-range are moving well, such as the Perfect 9 Repair range. Our product ranges sell out fast – both online and offline.
You have also launched Camelia Oil — a first anywhere in the world for Innisfree. How has the response been? Are you looking at other categories to launch India-specific products?
Yes, Innisfree India is the first Korean beauty brand to launch a hair oil in the country, since oiling is an integral part of the hair routine for Indians. Innisfree’s time in India over the years has given us an opportunity to understand the market and the needs and demands of the consumers in depth. Hence, we often try to make changes in our portfolio as per the market needs. Innisfree follows the trend faster than any other brand and we have a principle of changing 30% in & out every year to give newness to our customers. Innisfree Camellia Hair Range, featuring the Innisfree Camellia Hair Oil is made using Jeju Camellia seeds, which deeply nourishes the scalp, leaving behind a subtle, natural fragrance, making you feel relaxed. Camellia, with its great moisturizing effect, is a traditional ingredient that has been used by women for their hair, for hundreds of years. It is scientifically known to restore the scalp’s health by effectively treating the problems caused due to factors such as stress and environmental pollution. The response to the product has been great. People have given good reviews and have seen results from using it on a regular basis. Customers really like the texture and its fragrance.
Yes, we plan to launch more products that will cater to the Indian audience. We are currently doing research and undergoing studies that will help us in curating the perfect product that one needs for themselves.
AmorePacific also launched Etude House—how has the brand faired in the Indian market?
Indian market has a vast potential for make-up products. With so many beauty brands already in the country, the demand for more has only increased in the last few years. People are open to trying new brands and product ranges. Based on our studies, we realized that India is the perfect market for launching Etude House. Etude House has been doing extremely well globally, especially in Dubai. The beauty market in India and Dubai is very similar. People are intrigued by Etude House’s product ranges, the quality as well as the packaging. I think it will get tremendous response from Indians, especially millennials. So far the response to the brand has been amazing and we plan to introduce more products for the Indian consumers.
Has AmorePacific officially launched Laneige with Nykaa? What is your India plan with this brand?
We introduced Laneige in the country through Nykaa in 2018 and got a tremendous response from the consumers. Most of the products were sold out in the first couple of days. As a well-known brand globally, Laneige is a very popular premium beauty brand. Our objective for Laneige is to make it a top skincare brand in the premium beauty brand segment in India. We will connect with the customers through online and multi-brand stores and will also, invest in more marketing activities to familiarize the audience with the brand’s offerings and its USP.
What’s your vision for the next decade?
The brand’s vision is to become the No.1 skincare brand in India and to ensure that every household consists of an Innisfree product. We are hoping to expand to tier 2 and tier 3 cities to cater to the target audience.