By Kevin Lee
"TIRTIR will further solidify its global D2C (Direct to Consumer) marketing strategy in 2021 based on the strengths of customer communication and contents through SNS," TIRTIR CEO Lee Yu-bin said.
“Based on this, we are preparing for full-fledged entry and revitalization into the U.S. market, along with the activation of the already entered Chinese and Japanese markets,” said CEO who received the “$10 million Export Tower” award at the 57th Trade Day on Dec. 8 last year.
In an interview with The Korea Post media, Lee said, "With the prolonged spread of COVID-19 globally, most consumers' shopping pattern has changed from offline to online. And live commerce is emerging as a new shopping trend, regardless of home and abroad, as the culture of untact consumption culture is spreading."
For example, China has grown into a 170 trillion ($156 billion) market last year with live commerce in earnest since 2016, and global platforms such as Facebook and YouTube have also begun to join the live commerce market.
In Korea, major platform companies and distributors are expected to form a market worth 8 trillion won ($7 billion) in 2023 due to aggressive entry into the market from last year. As a result, K-beauty companies are expected to enter live commerce more actively, she said.
The followings are key excerpts from the interview:
Question: TIRTIR won the '$10 million Export Tower' at the 57th Trade Day. Would you introduce the background of winning this award?
Answer: Before entering the overseas market, we considered a model that can lead the domestic and global markets, and we selected EXO Baek Hyun, a global idol who is very popular not only in Korea but also in the global market. The popularity of K-Beauty and K-POP has created a synergy effect, which has led to the introduction of TIRTIR in many global countries and a significant increase in sales.
In addition to the Chinese market, we are actively exporting our products to other Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. In terms of export activities, we are not just selling products, but we are doing marketing activities focusing on communication with local consumers as well as domestic consumers. In the product development process, we consider global strategies.
Q: Would you comment on your business plans for 2021 and the future?
A: Through more active communication with consumers, we will work harder to prepare our plans for 2021 based on what real consumers want and understanding the market conditions from a consumer perspective.
Currently, many k-beauty brands are suffering from the damage caused by COVID-19. However, TIRTIR plans to accelerate its efforts to enter the global market in order to strengthen its position as a global beauty brand.
In addition, I feel a strong sense of duty to the social responsibility of companies, which has recently become more emphasized as a global issue. We will actively participate in the realization of public interest values and establish ourselves as a beauty brand that strives to create a society where the weak do not suffer as well as the environment.
Q: Please introduce your management philosophy to overcome the threats of COVID-19 that all companies are suffering from it.
A: My consistent management philosophy is sharing management. Since the COVID-19 incident, we have been steadily donating hand sanitizers and delivering donations to the needy, thinking that when everyone is in trouble, our company should share more than want to earn more profits.
In addition to the big sales events, which are held about four times a year, we are conducting many smaller events that customers can benefit from them. Since the economy is in such a slump and everyone is having a hard time, I think customers are responding to and like such small events.
To respond quickly to the COVID-19 crisis, TIRTIR created the 'SAFE ZONE' category in its mall and quickly developed and produced personal hygiene products such as hand sanitizers, cleaning tissues, and portable cleaners. These sanitary products are always on sale at a minimum price for the safety of everyone, not for profit.
We think that TIRTIR's sincerity of thinking about the customers once more, not the instant's profit, in a difficult situation, is truly approaching the customers.
Q: Do you have any requests for the government to promote exports?
A: Due to the prolonged situation of COVID-19, the export market is also limited. I think it's time for the non-face-to-face market to be developed to suit the current situation. As the opportunity to meet overseas buyers is falling through various offline events such as beauty fairs, it is urgent to develop digital trade channels such as non-face-to-face online fairs. I think we need active government support in this area.
Q: Please introduce the main products of TIRTIR and the future products you plan to develop.
A: The “Pottery Cream,” an upgraded version of TIRTIR's signature extremely moisturizing cream, also known as “water shining cream,” has been launched on home shopping and is also loved very much by customers.
Also, the “Pure Rosemary Essence', which contains 100% extract of rosemary grown in Jeju Island, is very popular for its online and offline home shopping. In addition, the “Mask Fit Cushion,” which was developed in line with the current trend of mask becoming a daily life, is very popular and is being marketed as the main product.
We are also planning to develop vegan and body lines according to future trends.
Q: What additional overseas markets are you planning to target in the future for the globalization of K-beauty?
A: Due to the global COVID-19 prolonged period, most consumers' shopping has shifted from offline to online, and live commerce is emerging as a new shopping trend, regardless of home and abroad, with the spread of contactless and non-face-to-face consumer culture.
Since 2016, China has grown into a 170 trillion won ($156 billion) market last year with live commerce in full swing, and global platforms such as Facebook and YouTube have also begun to join the live commerce market.
In Korea, major platform companies and distributors are expected to form a market worth 8 trillion won ($7.3 billion) in 2023 due to aggressive entry into the market from last year.
As a result, K-beauty companies are expected to enter live commerce more actively. Based on the strength of customer communication and content through SNS, we will further cement our global Direct to Consumer (D2C) marketing strategy. Through this, we are also preparing for full-fledged entry and activation into the U.S. market along with the revitalization of the Chinese and Japanese markets.
Lee Yu-bin, CEO of TIRTIR, was born in 1988 and graduated from the Department of Clothing Fashion. Lee launched the clothing shopping mall "TheThat" in 2013 and operated it for four years. Since 2017 when the beauty brand 'TIRTIR' was established, she has served as the CEO.
CEO Lee has proved TIRTIR's brand power by winning various brand awards in the highly competitive cosmetics industry.
In addition to the "2017 Korea Best Brand Awards", TIRTIR has gained a firm foothold in the beauty industry by winning the "Grand Prize in the 2018 Korea's Hit Brand category", the "2019 Korea Consumer Satisfaction Evaluation Award", the "2020 Korea Industrial Awards, Minister of SMEs and Startups Award in the customer impression category", and the "2020 Trade Day $10 million Export Tower Award."
In November 2020, she starred in the “Influencer,” a documentary film about the lives of four influencers, including CEO Lee Yu-bin, showing her appearance as the representative of cosmetics brand TIRTIR and one of Korea’s representative working mothers.