K-beauty is taking the world by storm, yet it can be troublesome to find the products you are looking for on the European market. We had the opportunity to interview Anna Mathisen, the founder of IPUDA COSMETICS, an online store selling Korean skincare and makeup products. The company is based in Sweden but offers shipping to other countries as well. It is worth noting that their website currently only supports the Swedish language. However, the company is planning to make their website available in English as it caters to a wider range of customers. They recently had a pop-up store in Stockholm, Sweden with the hope of opening up a permanent physical store in the future. We went there to ask them a few questions.
Why did you decide to start IPUDA COSMETICS?
– It has always been a dream of mine to start my own company. I have always been interested in skincare and cosmetics. When I decided to start IPUDA COSMETICS, there was no access to K-beauty in Sweden, which I thought was a shame. I wanted to offer K-beauty on the Scandinavian market. The beauty industry in South Korea is huge, and is responsible for many of the trends we see even here in Sweden. Sheet masks, cushion products and fermented ingredients in skincare happens to be some of South Korea’s specialties. The products are also price friendly and of good quality. During the last few years the demand for K-beauty products has increased, which is great in my opinion!
Can you tell us more about why you decided to sell specifically Korean skincare and makeup?
– First of all, the prices are in general very reasonable for the quality you get. The skincare and makeup companies also put a lot of focus and resources on the packaging of their products, which I think is positive since we do tend to shop with our eyes. South Korea’s beauty industry and government also invest a generous amount of money on research and development of these products. Skincare is also considered a cultural phenomenon in the country, and part of the Korean people’s philosophy regarding the skin has its roots in the Korean traditional medicinal art, which is still being practiced and is the base not only for healthy skin but also serves as a great base for your makeup. During my years living in South Korea I had the opportunity to experience and try most of what K-beauty has to offer. Many Korean products also contains a high number of natural plant extracts, which is something we at IPUDA COSMETICS advocate.
What does the process for choosing new products to sell look like?
– Our company visits South Korea several times a year to create new contacts and meet our current suppliers. We also visit different fairs all around the world to stay updated. Before deciding which products to bring into our product range, we conduct tests and evaluate every product during a longer time period, if we are satisfied with the results the product will be available for sale in our online store. Some products fail our criteria’s and we decide not to sell them for various reasons.
Do you offer cruelty free products?
– Selling animal tested products is prohibited by law within Europe and thus within Sweden. We only offer products which follows the law regarding cosmetics. All products also require a special registration for selling within Europe and Sweden, which we abide by to ensure the safety of the products for our customers.
Is there a possibility that you will start to sell more brands that are vegan or carry vegan products?
– The demand for vegan and organic products is relatively low but a steadily growing part of the South Korean beauty market, therefore it is not a priority for most companies. There are also high demands that you must fulfill to be able to market a product as natural or organic in South Korea. We at IPUDA COSMETICS advocate natural and organic as much as we can. Even if it is not a guarantee that a product with natural ingredients will be superior in all cases, since some natural ingredients can cause allergic reactions. We are always looking to create long-term business relationships with new companies. We are currently discussing with several new companies within this area.
Do you have a current favorite skincare or makeup trend?
– The current trend in South Korea is called ’’Derma Cosmetics’’ which focuses on the skincare, since it is the base for healthy skin. The packaging industry for cosmetic products is also changing towards minimalist thinking with more focus on the environment, which is something we like! Several of our favorite products will be available to buy on our website during the summer and the rest of the year. These products are currently undergoing a process to be approved and registered for sales within Europe.
If you want to buy products from IPUDA COSMETICS they will be present at the ’’Korean Culture Festival’’ held in Kungsträdgården, Stockholm in Sweden on the 25th of august 2018. However, if you do not have the opportunity to go, you can always check out their website.