K-beauty is here

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Althea founder and CEO Frank Kang

Althea founder and CEO Frank Kang

New e-commerce site brings famed Korean beauty practices to PH
After the local invasion of Koreanovelas and K-Pop—where Filipinos saw not only their idols’ talents but also their flawless and fair skin—another Korean cultural phenomenon enters the Philippines in K-Beauty.

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K-beauty best exemplifies how Koreans—particularly women—are meticulous in taking care of their skin with daily beauty regimens comprised of several steps including cleansing, toning, moisturizing and masking, among many others.

More Filipinas will come to learn more about these duteous ways to beauty which Koreans practice, using endless cosmetic, skincare and personal care products, without having to go all the way to Korea’s beauty hubs like Myeong-dong or Gangnam. All they need to do is sit in front of their computers or get hold of their mobile devices, and type in ph.althea.kr on their browsers. With that, a whole new world of beauty products—which are said to be innovative, of high-quality and affordable—awaits them.

Did you know that face masks are a daily must in a Korean beauty routine?

Did you know that face masks are a daily must in a Korean beauty routine?

These are the promises of K-Beauty according to Althea founder and CEO Frank Kang as he officially introduced his startup company at Kiwa in Solaire Resort and Casino, Pasay City. Joining him at the event were Dave Chang, head of expansion, and Tammy Lim, head of creative communications.

“In Korea, we house top manufacturers of cosmetics that make products for L’Oreal and SkII. These make Korean cosmetics top of the line based from my experience,” he shared. “We are also very innovative in terms of packaging and ingredients. We introduced the snail cream to the world. The BB cream is also originally from Korea.”

The e-commerce site offers some 1,500 products from 50 Korean brands that range from already-popular ones like Holika Holika, Etude House, Missha, Nature Republic, Skin Food, The Face Shop, Banila Co. and Tony Moly; to never-before-heard labels like Dr. Jart+, Dr. Althea, Peripera, and W-Lab; to names with cult following like Laneige, Innisfree, and Guerrison, among many others.

Kang said, “We have the widest coverage. K-beauty fans are happy to see our products, which they have never seen in the Philippine market before. They feel that through Althea, they become updated with Korean lifestyle and trends not only with the products.”

According to Kang, ‘Our website’s mission is to provide value for our shoppers as if they buy from Korea and as if they are Koreans’

According to Kang, ‘Our website’s mission is to provide value for our shoppers as if they buy from Korea and as if they are Koreans’

Besides launching in the Philippines, Althea also operates in Malaysia and Singapore, and also plans expanding in Indonesia.

Asked what made him decide to enter the online beauty retail industry in Southeast Asia, Kang recalled that while working in the region for many years, his friends would always ask him to buy Korean cosmetics whenever he would go home.

This inspired him to build Althea—which takes its name from Korea’s national flower—not only for his friends but for many other shoppers in SEA. Because after thorough research, he discovered it was difficult for women to get hold of their favorite brands outside of Korea, and if they did, they would always be more expensive.

He explained, “Korean beauty brands like Laneige and Innisfree are always fast moving and affordable—even for our young generation. But every time it comes to Southeast Asia, due to duty taxes, the price actually rises and then it is not affordable anymore.”

Althea found a solution to this though its cross border commerce model. The company ships directly from Korean warehouses to customers’ doorsteps as if customers were in Korea, but all the language, payment, and customer support are handled locally.

“Althea’s mission is to cut out all the middlemen to provide value for our shoppers as if they buy from Korea, as if they are Koreans,” Kang enthused.

In addition, the online marketplace makes four core promises to its customers: authenticity, best price, 30-days unconditional refunds, and free shipping for orders above P1,500. All these are delivered straight to the doorsteps inside Althea’s iconic pink box.

Althea is further set to launch its mobile application by third quarter of 2016, while cash-on-delivery mode of payment is also being developed.

“We want to become the No. 1 shopping destination for K-Beauty in Southeast Asia, and hopefully, throughout the world too,” Kang concluded.

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