K-Beauty's Big "Women" Problem
On this week's K-Beauty news headlines episode of the Korean Beauty Show podcast, Lauren discusses why the lack of representation of women on the boards of Korea's big beauty companies is ultimately harmful for K-Beauty's competitiveness. Plus, indie beauty brand One Thing has been acquired by Aekyung Industries.
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An opinion piece in Beauty Nury discussed the controversy over the abolition of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family in Korea.
New President Yoon Seok-yeol has argued that Korean companies, "...need to hire talent based on ability without discrimination between men and women". This is despite the fact that Korea’s gender equality index is the lowest among OECD countries.
Female voters in their 20s to 50s did not have a high turnout for President Yoon, so female voters of the relevant age group are raising objections to his policies
Despite the overwhelming majority of users of cosmetics being female, there is a glass ceiling for women at domestic cosmetics companies
As of 2021, there were no female executives at major cosmetics companies such as It's Hanbul, Leaders Cosmetics, Hyundai Bioland, Sehwa PNC, and Prostemics, and others had insignificant female executives.
What's the big deal about not having a female executive? Company structures that don’t consider women (who are the real users of cosmetics) could be a problem in enhancing K-beauty's competitiveness.
Cosmetics made by male executives for women end users are not going to be the same.
In fact, according to the cosmetics industry, many export-oriented brands are often found to have made no progress after obtaining certification for export to China and the EU.
For cosmetics, it is important to make products that actively reflect women's opinions because they are the actual users of the products.
If the quota system for female executives is abolished with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, this could serve as a major crisis for cosmetics companies.
Aekyung signed a contract to acquire a 70% stake in cosmetics company One Thing for 14 billion won.
They are planning to strengthen their portfolio of cosmetics businesses through the acquisition.
One Thing launched in 2019 and has grown on digital channels with high growth potential in Japan, China, the United States, and Southeast Asia
The brand philosophy focuses on core ingredients and provide value to customers by excluding unnecessary price increases.
The brand’s main products are toners that focus on core ingredients like Centella, Heartleaf and Mugwort. The brand has recently been increasing its line up of products
Koreans aren’t really into facial fillers - my guess is that it’s because a lot of those can puff your face up and Koreans prize having a small face.
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"In the context of Korea's hierarchical corporate structure where decisions are made top-down, having a lack of female representation at the top directly impacts the types of products being made."- Lauren Lee, Host of the Korean Beauty Show podcast
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