Avant-garde appeal: Italy’s Toiletpaper Beauty captivates young consumers in South Korea with ‘disruptive’ retail aesthetics

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

Toiletpaper Beauty's recent debut in South Korea attracted attention for its strong brand image and 'Insta-worthy' elements incorporated into its retail spaces. ©Toiletpaper Beauty
Toiletpaper Beauty's recent debut in South Korea attracted attention for its strong brand image and 'Insta-worthy' elements incorporated into its retail spaces. ©Toiletpaper Beauty

Related tags retail South korea

Italian brand Toiletpaper Beauty’s booming first foray into Asia has given its expansion plans a confidence boost, as it makes headway in broadening its product line-up to include fragrances and potentially colour cosmetics.

Its current product line-up includes shampoo, shower gel, body lotion, soap, lip balm, hand cream and more. Among them, the best-sellers are the hand cream and hand wash.

The brand draws from the experience of its parent company, luxury hotel amenities supplier La Bottega, and is heavily inspired by a magazine called Toiletpaper that it spun off from.

Toiletpaper Beauty recently debuted in South Korea to much fanfare, which it believes is largely attributed to its strong brand image and 'Insta-worthy' elements incorporated into its retail spaces.

“Although we were confident, we didn’t expect the local consumers to be soenthusiastic and their responses so immediate. They raced to purchase our products from the first day of launch. We observed that the Generation Zs and Millennials enjoyed filling their social media pages with selfies shot in our unconventional retail spaces.

“Toiletpaper Beauty is a disruptive brand that breaks the aesthetic conventions of the global cosmetics industry. I ampretty sure that Asian consumers would consider our products ‘cool’ to have at home or as a gift,” ​Gianluca Foà, partner of Toiletpaper Beauty, told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​.

The brand is available at 23 Chicor retail stores across the country. 

“I first visited South Korea in 2009, at the very beginning of what would become the amazing K-beauty wave. I had a feeling that the market would grow exponentially because of the maturity and interest shown by the youngest generations in high-end cosmetics and perfumery.

“As everyone knows, South Korea is now one of the biggest cosmetics markets in the world. Due to my past experience and awareness of the propelling power of this market, it was natural to bring our brand there,” ​said Foà.

According to Foà, it helped that the firm had the support of local partner SJ Beauty, which proposed to introduce Toiletpaper Beauty in Chicor stores. The cosmetics chain is owned by South Korean retail conglomerate Shinsegae.

“Shinsegae is among the top success-makers of international brands in the Korean market. As soon as we received SJ Beauty’s proposal, we promptly accepted it as Chicor stores were the ideal place where Toiletpaper Beauty can be showcased and appreciated,” ​Foà explained.

No limits

Creativity and innovation are said to be the DNA of Toiletpaper Beauty, serving as the basis of the formulation, fragrance and packaging of every product.

The brand’s imagery consists of bold colours and motifs, such as snakes and sausages, which are intended to stimulate the imagination of its users.

“Our idea of beauty starts from the image. We create each product as a piece of modern art, encapsulating satire and spreading fun that the world needs more of. We redefine the limits of beauty to provide a multi-sensorial experience,” ​said Foà.

“Thanks to the brand’s success, we are thinking of extending the collection to other exciting categories like makeup. This would be a new challenge that we need to consider after consolidating more insights on our brand awareness. Nevertheless, we are already working on an upcoming launch of scented candles and our first unisex fragrances,” ​Foà shared.

In terms of market expansion, Foà revealed that Toiletpaper Beauty’s launch in Japan is in the pipeline, and that the firm is in the midst of evaluating distributors for China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

“South Korea represents just the first great step into the Asian markets. The brand, like the art from which it draws inspiration, has no geographical limits.We are looking to cement our presence in the US, Europe and Australia, both online and offline, while staying open to proposals from new markets.”

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