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Memebox eyes return to US after backroom revamp

Memebox, a Korean beauty startup founded in 2012 as a subscription-box service, is relaunching its e-commerce business in the US after a year on hold.

The company has remained active in Asian markets while awaiting its window to return to the US. Founder and CEO Dino Ha identified a rise in Asian beauty-brand awareness among American consumers as being the key factor in the relaunch.

Memebox recently contracted with beauty retailer Sephora to launch a new line of cosmetics to come out this autumn. Its in-house brands are already available in the US on its new online platform, which has been reconfigured to include review and community features designed to bolster consumer education. The company’s community-building efforts to encourage sharing of product information have resulted in an increase in user engagement from three to 25 minutes spent on its platform.

The firm maintains a database that lists the skin types, preferences and consumer trends of its 5 million active users. According to product manager Danielle Zhu, this is central to Memebox’s short product development cycle and trend-forecasting efforts.

Memebox maintains a close relationship with social media influencers as a core strategy since first trading, and is now developing an affiliate program to encourage users to register as ambassadors of the brand. The program serves in part to address recent criticism accusing the firm of only targeting very light-skinned women, excluding many potential users with darker skin tones.

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