Missha Takes Low Cost Approach to Cosmetics
By George Anderson
Missha is out to convince American consumers that they needn’t pay a lot for top quality cosmetics and beauty care products.
An article in The Village Voice equates the Korean retailer with Trader Joe’s, preferring to source products directly, eliminate expensive packaging and build its business on word-of-mouth rather than investing large dollars in advertising.
“Consumers are misled that they have to spend a lot of money to buy foundation and cosmetics,” said Michael Fong, Missha’s director of retail development. “As far as raw-material costs for all these products, it’s quite low.”
The company, which now operates three New York stores with locations in Manhattan and Queens, sells products at $5 and $6 price points that The Voice says is comparable to items selling at four or five times that amount in other stores.
The article’s author, Corina Zappia, writes: “Missha’s success here will depend on how comfortable consumers feel paying so little for cosmetics and skincare. After years of successful marketing indoctrination from the beauty industry, most of us don’t just hope that an expensive face cleanser will be better – we trust that it will. We really want to believe that if we pay more we’ll get more. But are the colors really that much more appealing? The consistencies and textures so much smoother? The chemicals truly less harsh? Let’s face it: It’s no huge secret that you’re paying out because Scarlett Johansson has been hired to promote the brand and a top industrial designer brought in to re-envision the packaging.”
Moderator’s Comment: Do American consumers equate the price they pay for cosmetics with the product’s quality? How
does a chain such as Missha convince them otherwise? –
George Anderson – Moderator