Franki + Seoul brings Korean skincare to Oz.
Jenny and Jayme Park (pictured) are the identical twin sisters and “beauty nerds” behind Franki and Seoul – an online retailer, brand incubator and distributor of Korean beauty products in Australia. Born in Seoul and raised in Sydney by “kimchi-loving parents”, international health specialist Jenny, whose CV boasts the UN and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and psychology grad Jayme built their brand over 12 months in South Korea’s cosmetic mecca, Gangnam (on the back of a government start-up grant from City of Seoul) before heading home to launch in Oz where they’d found a gap in the market – one they planned to fill with the very best of ‘K-beauty’ (for those not familiar with the trend, it refers to all South Korean beauty imports – and currently sees a considerable number of US consumers liberally applying ‘snail creams’). But, as any surgeon will tell you, it’s not enough to just throw in a foreign implant and hope for the best. Here’s how Jenny and Jayme are successfully introducing Aussies to the concept of K-beauty…
They’re personally passionate about it
Both Jenny and Jayme suffered severe adult acne, rosacea and eczema before finding a solution in Korean skincare products. “Our search for healthier skin solutions started when it was impossible to find natural and harsh-free Korean skincare products in Australia,” they say, which was a shame, as Korean skincare is leagues ahead of the rest of the world in terms of technology and innovation. “Think cushion compacts and sheet masks – these Korean innovations have won the hearts of global beauty consumers. We believe Australia is ready to embrace this global phenomenon, and we want to help Australian women to have healthy, glowing skin and to gain confidence in their skin health.”
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They only stock the best
“Don’t be ashamed to be super-picky and crazy meticulous when it comes to curating the best products.” As newbies to the beauty biz, Jenny and Jayme hit up every beauty store, spa and service in Seoul. “We scoured the internet, grilled beauty store managers, interviewed kind strangers on the streets, consulted with top dermatologists and renowned aestheticians, and vetted hundreds of brands and products,” they say. “Our little apartment in Gangnam was about to burst with so many samples and products! After rigorous product testings and brand vetting, we approached several brands that matched our curation criteria.”
They know their domestic and foreign markets
Both Jenny and Jayme speak fluent Korean and have a deep understanding of Korea’s corporate culture. “As a start-up, this understanding helped us immensely to approach and build strong business relationships with our brand partners,” they say, advising other importers to research both their domestic and foreign markets, including the corporate and business culture of their overseas supplier. “Enjoy the process of learning about other cultures and values. It really expands your business perspective and understanding of working with an overseas brand. This will help to curate and select the best products and suppliers that will translate to a successful launch of your business in your domestic market.”
They’re more than just the messenger
These two aren’t just flogging beauty products – they’re acting as a mutually beneficial bridge between two cultures. “Our approach is unique: we are an e-retailer, brand incubator and a distributor of our exclusive brands and products. We work directly with our brand partners to ensure quality assurance and genuine products, and give regular feedback and ideas to our brand partners that gets implemented into new product developments and reformulations of existing products.”
“Enjoy the process of learning about other cultures and values. This will translate to a successful launch of your business in your domestic market.”
They also know those brand partners intimately, and share their stories with their products. Lagom, they tell us, comes from iconic Korean makeup artist Ko Won Hye and 12 leading scientists (by way of some Noble prize-winning tech).
They educate their customers
“The biggest challenge we’ve faced is the perception that skincare is a chore and a bore,” say the duo, explaining that the Aussie beauty industry is largely focused on makeup and covering flaws. “Korean skincare is all about inside-out results, enhancing your natural beauty is at the core of Korean skincare philosophy. In fact, skincare is the first step to flawless makeup. We actively engage and connect with customers by producing and sharing informative, interactive and interesting online content. We offer skincare and beauty advice, tutorials, and the latest beauty trends via our website and SNS platforms. We want to make skincare a fun and pleasurable experience and not a chore!”
With these two on the case, we’ll all be K-beauty converts.