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How would you describe the Korean luxury beauty landscape right now since Covid?
Due to Covid-19, people have become more reluctant to frequent public spaces, that includes shopping. However, there is still a desire to purchase their favourite products. At the same time, at-home selfcare, including beauty routines, have become more important than ever.
How would you describe The History of Whoo customer and what she’s looking for from a beauty brand right now?
The typical The History of Whoo customer enjoys status, shopping for luxury goods, and places high importance on beauty and selfcare, as well as the entire beauty experience. This customer is well-informed on beauty rituals and already owns an intricate, multi-step skincare routine, but is constantly looking for ways to upgrade it. This customer is also very knowledgeable about existing J-beauty and K-beauty brands and the latest beauty trends in the marketplace.
What are you doing at the moment to target the millennial customer?
The millennial consumer often researches products online, seeking out reviews or testing products through sampling before committing to a purchase, which is why we intend to engage them through an increased online and social media presence along with increasing our channels of distribution. We will, of course, continue to focus on our existing, loyal clientele through customer engagement programs, creating a more personalised and enhanced brand experience.
What are the global expansion plans for the brand and how would you describe the strategy behind them?
The History of Whoo is expanding its reach within the global market, not only by taking a step further into Asia, but also opening its first Canadian flagship store, which was created to showcase LG H&H’s luxury brands in one place. This luxury Korean Beauty multi-branded store concept, all under the banner of The History of Whoo, is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and a stepping stone to a national expansion in Canada, including making these products available at our own bricks-and-mortars and an increasing number of high-end department stores in the future.
What are the plans in terms of digital and direct to-consumer?
Our primary goal is to make luxury K-beauty brands more accessible to the Canadian market. We currently have a branded, non-transactional website that provides key information about Whoo, with plans for this to become one of our main channels in the future.
The History of Whoo entered Canada a couple of years ago. How would you describe the past couple years for the brand in North America and what will the new flagship store look like?
The History of Whoo has been increasingly gaining in popularity in Canada and we felt that it was time to give the brand a dedicated and luxurious space. We wanted every detail of the new space to reflect the same level of luxury as the brands we showcase, from the marble floors, to the gold-plated fixtures and one-of-a-kind custom chandelier – all elements were chosen to deliver an unparalleled, bespoke shopping experience.
We also wanted to create an environment of discovery and felt that it was important to share the story of our brands in order to truly create an immersive experience of luxury skincare and self-care, which is further enhanced by the three LED screens that adorn the space, capturing each brand’s identity through an ongoing series of branded videos.
A lot of cosmetics retailers are now focusing on experiential retail, boosting their omnichannel initiatives and offering in-store services. Is that a focus for The History of Whoo in the future?
In-store services has always been one of our core focuses with our luxury brands. Offering hand massages, skincare consultations and facial services are the key to building customer relationships and brand loyalty. Not only do we love to demonstrate the product efficacy, but part of this experience is to educate our clients on ingredients and how a product works, and general lifestyle habits that have an effect on the skin. As a safety precaution for our clients and staff, we have suspended all contact services due to Covid-19, but skincare consultations are still available.
The out-of-store experience and events are a large part of our luxury brands for clients to truly indulge in the luxury shopping experience and understand the brand philosophy. From incorporating traditional Korean food, décor inspired by Korean cultural heritage and showcasing elements of royalty, we hope to eventually offer an exclusive VIP experience to our loyal clientele.
Last year, The History of Whoo hit a trillion KRW in sales. What do you think has led to that growth in such a competitive market?
The History of Whoo achieves its luxury brand equity based on its differentiated concept of royal cosmetics. Even in today’s fiercely competitive marketplace, it continues to be loved by a loyal customer base, along with being newly discovered and adopted by an ever-increasing base of new customers and skincare fans – always seeking the best in beauty.