What is Coree, interview with the founder Kate Kim
This month I was surfing the net searching information about Korean Beauty is setting new standards and why it become so popular. That’s why I interviewd Kate Kim, a young entrepreneur from South Korea living now in Zurich. She’s the founder of Coree, an e-commerce selling the best Korean cosmetics in the European market.
What is your background and when this business idea come from?
I grew up in South Korea, so skincare was always an important part of my lifestyle. In 2010, I started to live in Europe to work as a business analyst in Samsung Electronics Europe. Before, I had expected that European people would be interested only in food or KPOP about Korea. However, I was amazed that many women including my colleagues asked me how I looked after my skin and recommendation about my favorite Korean cosmetics brand or the best sheet mask and so on.
At that time, I enjoyed buying and trying more European brands in a cosmetic shop which I still love. Soon, I found there was not enough products’ selection for my specific need. For example, when I wanted to try a Peeling gel or B.B cream in my favorite brand there, they had no idea what I was talking about.
Then, I realized that Korean cosmetics would be the right item for me having the strength that I can recommend right products and solutions for individual needs. After I moved to Switzerland, I decided to start my own business to be an ambassador of K-beauty in European market.
When did you start with Coree?
Coree was born in June 2018, so it’s still a baby who will improve many things and needs a lot of love. Our team is also so young and flexible to get inspiration with various collaboration.
The name came from the meaning of ‘Korea’ in French. The name and logo were made with hope to approach people as a lovely character or friend.
You focus only on Korean cosmetics & skin care products. Can you tell us more about this beauty market niche?
To talk about Korean Beauty market, we should see Korean consumers’ behavior first. From my own experience, Koreans are early adapters and the most demanding beauty consumers in the world who are knowledgeable and picky about cosmetic types and ingredients. They have a very high standard of skin and dream for having flawless and glowing skin. The most frequent topic among my female friends was skin care and cosmetics. Beside trying cosmetics, some visit dermatologists regularly to get laser treatments. I know it sounds funny but I have to admit I was one of them. It is also one of the biggest markets to import global brands. I think all of those led Korean cosmetic companies to work hard to produce innovative products with competitive price.
Today, Global beauty brands like L’Oreal and Estée Lauder come to collaborate with Korean companies to manufacture their products in Korea. L’Oréal became even a player in K-Beauty with its acquisition of the cosmetics brand 3CE. Swiss biggest supermarket chain, MIGROS has acquired 100% of a Korean brand Doctor G.
What is your Coree Subscription box?
I can definitely say that it will be the best beauty subscription box dispatching here in Europe. That means no need to wait for custom and to pay delivery fee from Korea.
- Sheet mask box : A selection of 7 sheet masks (+ 1 cute gift from Korea)
- Beauty box : A selection of 5 sheet masks + 1 mini sized and 2 full-sized Korean beauty products (+ 1 cute gift from Korea)
Which are the best and most known Korean cosmetics?
The most known items are Face masks, BB cream, and Cushion pact. They made K-Beauty popular at the beginning.
Which are the main differences Korean vs European beauty products?
The main difference is that K-Beauty seems to focus more on Hydration than Makeup and also it has cute packaging, various ingredients, kind explanation & guide for consumers, and reasonable price. Right now, I focus only on Korean cosmetics but I am open to include products of my favorite European brands later. I hope Coree to become like a mini Sephora to offer customers the most convenient way to shop cosmetics.
Some tips for girls who want to become entrepreneurs?
My tip is after you start your business, focus on your customers not competitors. To analyze the market and competitors should be done before starting business. Once you start your business, Entrepreneurs have hundreds of tasks to look for behind the scenes that I haven’t imagined before. Everything goes quickly with consuming your resource and you’ve got to make decisions. So, it is easy to lose your control in the fast changing market if you focus on your competitors. Personally, I believe that I should focus on making my customers happier with my own style and it will also make me happier on the way to my goal.