Origins of Growth
The Y Combinator graduate started by introducing Korean beauty products to new demographics through its online platform, which now sells over 170,000 of Korea’s most popular products to women primarily in the U.S. and across Asia. Memebox’s sales in China have grown by 1200% year-over-year, while U.S. sales represent 490% year-over-year growth. As Memebox’s sales have flourished, the company has proven that there are no boundaries for its products, as it now sells to more Spanish-speaking customers than Chinese, Korean, and Japanese combined, with emerging U.S. hotbeds in New York, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Antonio.
And by prioritizing mobile from the start, 83% of Memebox’s online sales come from its mobile platform. Since launching, the Memebox app has been downloaded more than 4 million times.
Additionally, more than 50% of Memebox’s traffic comes from tens of millions of 18-24-year-olds. The company has effectively reached this much sought after audience by heavily investing in digital initiatives and developing engaging content. For example, Memebox has received more than 70 million Facebook video views so far this year– more than L’Oreal, Benefit Cosmetics and H&M have combined in Asia and the U.S. — and it retains twice the industry average of people who watch videos to completion. Memebox has more than 4 million followers globally, as well as over 2 million followers on Weibo, not to mention its massive and devoted YouTube following.
Building Its Own Brand
Memebox has used tech not only to promote the products it sells, but also to predict, create, and market its own branded products. The company analyzes millions of data points to identify emerging beauty trends and the need for new products 12-18 months before consumer demand becomes apparent. The company then takes these data insights and product concepts to the best beauty manufacturers in the world, with whom Memebox has secured strong strategic partnerships. The result is the launch of a new, high quality product line under a Memebox brand within a few months, a process unheard of in the beauty world where the typical product development cycle takes an average of 18-24 months. Memebox’s data-centric private-label model has translated to explosive growth, with sales increasing by 60% per quarter.
To date, Memebox has launched four highly successful branded product lines within the last year, resulting in 540 SKUs under its brand portfolio. One example is its line, “Pony Effect,” developed in conjunction with YouTube beauty sensation, Pony. Memebox’s first eyeshadow released with Pony sold 20,000 units in the first 45 minutes of availability. Memebox has plans to launch two more new brands by the end of the year.
In addition to utilizing social media darlings, Memebox has secured numerous celebrity partnerships. Song Joong-Ki, star of the wildly popular drama “Descendants of the Sun” (which has nearly 4 billion views) is just one example. Others include a sponsorship of the drama “Uncontrollably Fond” which features Suzy Bae, Woobin Kim, and Hui Ryoung Jang. Memebox has also struck key marketing, content and distribution partnerships with Chinese ecommerce giant, JD.com, one of China’s largest online video and streaming service platform, Youku and other major players including T-mall, Jumei, and Viki to ensure that it reaches its target audience through multiple channels.
Merging Online and Offline for a Beautiful Experience
While Memebox has garnered enormous popularity online, it recognizes that women like to touch and test beauty products offline as well. The company recently introduced its first stand-alone shop in Korea, which has consistently reached over $1,095 in sales per square foot by embracing and pampering its online customers. And in Korea, its products are out-performing leading American brands — Memebox has topped Maybelline in the drugstore category and in the department stores that Memebox has launched in, the brand has outperformed Benefit.
“We approach our stores as an extension of our online environment, which is why we created spaces with makeup booths and unique seating areas where they can have conversations with our beauty experts. We’ve proven that we can generate even more sales on mobile or online when customers enjoy their experiences at our offline stores,” said Hinges Dino Ha, co-founder and CEO of Memebox.
“The new stores cap off the amazing ride we’ve taken over the past year,” added Ha. “While Memebox was well-known in Korea, we have experienced hyper growth in the U.S. and China as we continue to introduce the magic of beauty to a larger, global audience.”
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