Now that Memebox's new site launched May 1 and their affiliate content site is up and running, they have now focused their attention to pushing two of their five private label brands.
WWD announced that Memebox launched Nooni and I Dew Care (rebrand of Bonvivant) into Ulta both online (started June 26) and offline (starting July 10).
How have they been selling? It's hard to say since the online launch just went live but Memebox CEO Dino Ha did point out on his Instagram that the Disco Kitty product sold out in five days.
Seems promising for I Dew Care but their rebrand means they have to essentially start over with reviews and SEO and content. Nooni looks to have undergone a package redesign which I find to be super blah. I can't imagine the white packaging standing out much on shelf and online it's very difficult to read. After polling a few K-Beauty bloggers about these Memebox brands on Twitter, no one seemed very interested in trying out their products which is evidence of lost goodwill. This is definitely not a statistically significant data source but anecdotally interesting since some of these bloggers were the ones that Memebox courted last year.
I've been a bit critical of Memebox and their mess of a business strategy in the US as of late but I do want them to succeed. As someone in the industry said, if Memebox fails, it's bad for K-Beauty. As the biggest and most well-funded player in the space, they have done a lot in terms of bringing attention to Korean beauty by being such a big and well-funded player.
Unfortunately, their business still seems very disjointed and I would argue Memebox is at a critical, almost turnaround type of situation in the US. According to Google Trends, interest over time for "Memebox" as a keyword has been in relative decline in 2017. Memebox is currently in pilot at Ulta with Nooni and I Dew Care so it's pretty critical that this pilot go well in order for them to go national. If not, well then.....
Their business made a lot more sense when they were an e-commerce site that leveraged purchase data to make their own products in fast beauty fashion. I still think fast beauty is the key here, if they could just make it work.
Instead, I foresee a collision course with W2Beauty, which is just starting to get its legs with a new owner and funding. Both companies are trying to create beauty destinations full of useful information for decision making with the exception that W2Beauty is also trying to create a community on top of that.
When you've raised $160MM dollars in VC funding as Memebox has, a lot is expected of you. Rumors are running rampant and everyone is asking, "What is Memebox doing?". I think the answer is they themselves don't really know and the political situation in China is certainly putting a wrench in their original plans.