Sephora Teams Up With Ecommerce Company Memebox for a New Korean Beauty Line

The line goes live today

The product line only took 5 months to develop. Kaja
Headshot of Ann-Marie Alcántara

Data meets beauty in Kaja, the new Korean beauty line, formed in partnership with ecommerce company Memebox and Sephora.

The 47-product line of items like eyeshadows and lip stains arrives online today, and will fully roll out to 58 of Sephora’s “best performing stores” on Sept. 28. A smaller collection of the full product line will also roll out to 410 Sephora stores on the same day. Kaja (which means “let’s go” in Korean) will join Memebox’s portfolio of six other brands centered around Korean beauty.

This brand however stands out because of its five-month development time and the fact that it used Sephora’s customer insight to build a more inclusive Korean beauty line.

“This is the first complete K-Beauty color cosmetics line in the U.S., so we’re looking forward to learning how Sephora customers react to this initial offering,” said Dino Ha, CEO of Memebox.

According to Ha, Kaja is different than other makeup lines because of its “roots in K-beaty” which focuses on the consumer, trends and creating products to suit whatever is in style now versus down the production cycle.

But, what really stands out about Kaja, said Yoon Sung Choi, vp brand development at Memebox, is that its product line is buildable and suitable for different skin tones, it can easily be used on-the-go and it’s Instagramable. Without Sephora’s insight, Ha said, the company wouldn’t have known the right products to address consumers needs.

“What was really telling and that helped us was that Sephora has a great understanding of their consumers,” Ha said. “So, it was really them guiding us with a map of here’s the white space and here’s the place that we want to dominate. We were always a customer-centric company but with Sephora’s data and Sephora’s consumer insights, this partnership really came along.”

Ha wouldn’t reveal exactly what type of insights Sephora shared with Memebox, other than adjusting the makeup line to account for different skin types and colors.

“We came up with amazing colors but they [told] us we needed to increase more pigmentation space for the consumer preference,” Choi said. “We offered something on the table so they gave us feedback [on] how we can make an even better version to fit [the] inclusive U.S. market for Sephora.”

Data and insight is a big part of how Memebox functions. The company, originally founded in 2012, started out as a platform to buy K-beauty products, like some of its own private labels like Nooni. It pivoted in 2017 and Memebox stopped directly selling products and instead would redirect customers to other sites to buy them, focusing the website on K-beauty content instead.

In June 2018, the company restarted its shop component with two of its in-house brands, I Dew care (a rebrand of a previous brand called Bonvivant) and Nooni, and that’s when it first announced its partnership with Sephora.

With its 5 million users, the company’s been able to determine why some products have low conversion rates and then use that insight for its own brands. While Ha said data is only 1 to 2 percent of how it drives the company’s insight, it’s definitely important—and a big part of what they stand to gain from working with Sephora.

“[With] cutting edge Korean technology, Memebox’s fast product development process, and Sephora’s [insight] on the consumer, Kaja is really able to complete [products] in half of the time without compromising high quality,” Choi said.

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@itstheannmarie Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.