Memebox Corp., which sells Korean beauty products online, primarily via mobile devices, has stopped directly selling goods to consumers in the United States.
Instead, Memebox will use its U.S. website as a clearinghouse for beauty tips, product reviews, recommendations and how-to instructions. Memebox is No. 218 in the just-released Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500. The company will continue to sell Korean beauty products online in Korea and China.
The U.S. website now provides links to the “most reliable sellers” on Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1 in the Top 500) for consumers looking to buy its products, Memebox CEO Dino Ha says. When shoppers use the links to buy a product via Amazon, Memebox (pronounced mee-mee box) gets a small percentage of the sale, which is known as an affiliate fee.
“The goal of Memebox is to refocus beauty around the people and accelerate the personalization of beauty,” Ha says. “We want to create the world’s most comprehensive and trusted source for buying beauty products.”
Via the website, Memebox wants to help consumers understand their product needs, he says. The site also will aim to help retailers better understand consumers and, by doing so, accelerate the personalization of beauty products, Ha says.
Memebox sells more than 170,000 SKUs of its own line of cosmetics, as well as other brands. Ha declines to provide sales information. Internet Retailer estimates Memebox’s 2016 online sales at $150 million, double the $75 million of the retailer’s estimated 2015 online sales.
Ha declined to elaborate on the reasons for discontinuing its direct-to-consumer operations in the U.S. but said the move does not mean Memebox is pulling back from the U.S. market over the long run.
“We anticipate more than 10 million units sold worldwide over the next year,” Ha says. “The majority of our sales today are in Asia, but we see the U.S. as a larger contributor in the coming years,” he says.
In August, Arnold Hur, president of Memebox USA, said 83% of its sales come from its mobile website or its mobile app. Ha declines to provide a current breakdown by sales channel, but says the company still sells most of its goods via mobile devices. However, offline retail sales of its private-label products “are picking up quickly,” Ha says. Memebox sells its products in physical Watsons Personal Care Stores in Asia and has said it will investigate selling at other retail stores.
Memebox raised nearly $130 million from investors in 2016 and about $160 million since its founding in 2012. The latest cash infusion came in December when Memebox raised $60 million in a funding round led by Goodwater Capital. That latest funding round provided Memebox enough money to fuel growth and it has no plans to seek additional capital, Ha says.
Memebox, which was founded in Seoul and is now based in San Francisco, uses a data-driven approach to developing new products, combing through millions of data points, to identify emerging beauty trends.
Its technology, the company says, allows it to identify and estimate the market demand for new products 12-18 months before consumers make clear they want a particular product. One example is its line, “Pony Effect,” developed in conjunction with YouTube beauty celebrity Pony. Memebox’s first eyeshadow released under the Pony Effect brand sold 20,000 units in the first 45 minutes it was available, the company says.Favorite