Commenting on the male grooming name’s growth in Asia over the last six years, Simon Duffy, Founder of Bulldog Skincare For Men added how it is “almost unheard of for a British brand in the skincare mecca that is South Korea”.
Pinpointing Asia as a core innovation-rich and dynamic area, Bulldog then launched in Thailand too. 2018 marks a key strategic year for the brand as it now sets its sights on Japan and Hong Kong.
In this two-part interview, we get the latest information on what Bulldog Skincare for Men’s innovation in Asia looks like to date and its upcoming plans.
1. How did the relationship and opportunity to enter 1050 Olive Young stores in South Korea in 2012 first come about?
CJ Olive Young’s team originally discovered Bulldog via visits to Boots stores in London, UK, and Whole Food Market stores in New York, US.
The team from Olive Young got in touch with Bulldog via our website. We started a dialogue and visited Korea for meetings at their head office in Seoul. They are such an amazing team and impressive beauty retailer, that we quickly became very focused on making the partnership work.
2. Why did it select South Korea for its APAC launch?
It’s the beating heart of male skincare in the world. Korean men are globally famous for their approach to skincare and their devotion to various skincare products.
Our competitors are traditionally women’s brands with men as an afterthought, so we thought we could bring something new. With Bulldog’s products targeted to the specific concerns of men, it’s a brand that Korean men (and all men of course) can really connect with as they look for targeted solutions.
3. What has been Bulldog's stand out moment to date in Asia?
Launching with Olive Young, the leading beauty retailer, in South Korea in 2012 was a standout moment for Bulldog.
From a global perspective, South Korea is such an important market for men’s skincare and as traditionally it’s a market that has proven difficult for Western brands to succeed in and we’re delighted with our progress to date.
We have worked hard to adapt to the unique requirements of this market. Today we are proud that Bulldog is available in over 1,000 Olive Young stores and that we are the number one selling men’s lotion and men’s cleanser in store - almost unheard of for a British brand!
4. How has market changed in the last six years in terms of trends and consumer demands?
The routines of Korean men are becoming more advanced as the consumer is hyper-educated. A 10-step skincare routine can be typical for many men.
It also feels like there is a hot new trend every few weeks too, either via new ingredients, new scientific claims, or quirky new packaging.
5. How has Bulldog evolved to adapt to these changing needs?
We have created new products specifically for the Korean market, such as our Multi-Action Toner and Multi-Action Emulsion, which both launched in 2015. They boast ingredients like vitamin E, hyaluronic acid and aloe vera.
In addition, we have recently started to also sell these products via our UK website and they have started to generate something of a cult following.
6. When can we anticipate its entry into Japan and Hong Kong?
We will be launching in both these markets within the next few months.
7. Why have you selected these markets?
We looked at the local brands already in the category and we had meetings with the key retailers in each market. In both cases, we feel confident that Bulldog can bring something new and relevant to the market.
8. Why has Bulldog decided to push for expansion in 2018?
Currently, we see opportunities all over the world for Bulldog, so the hardest thing is to determine the correct priorities for expansion. Our brand is growing so quickly and we feel encouraged by all the positive momentum.
We believe that wherever there is a retailer listing traditional brands like Nivea for Men or L’Oréal Men Expert, Bulldog can launch to bring energy and excitement in stores and help to recruit new male skincare shoppers.
9. Does Bulldog have any additional strategic plans for 2018?
Yes, there will be new products out in the second half of 2018 but that’s a secret for now!
10. What do you hope Bulldog will have achieved this time next year?
Another momentous year of amazing growth.
11. Do you plan to widen your presence in the APAC region?
Yes, we do. We will launch in more places beyond Japan and Hong Kong.
12. What will be next on the agenda?
We have some big innovation plans coming together for launch in various international markets later this year. Watch this space!