The title of this post is a question I've gotten a few times so here are a few reasons why I think Innisfree will do well in the US market.
They have a strong and cohesive brand story
Say what you will about whether or not Innisfree actually lives up to their brand story with their formulations, but their brand story is strong and cohesive. Touted as the first natural Korean beauty brand in Korea, Innisfree emphasizes ingredients of the earth, sourced from Jeju Island (described as the Hawaii of Korea) and their product lineup boasts things like Jeju volcanic clay, green tea, lava seawater and the like.
What I like about Innisfree is their brand and story is very clear. Many other K-Beauty brands churn out products quickly under various sub-lines with design all over the place, which ends up being very confusing for the consumer.
The ingredients-focused products should resonate well in the US market. I can't think of any other brand out there with such a strong earth ingredient story (maybe Farmacy?). If you know of one, please leave a comment below.
Innisfree is hitting upon a few trends
The earth/nature brand story should do well in this era where "eco", "organic", and "natural" are trending. Brands that are somewhat similar like Farmacy, with its farm-to-table positioning, or Skinfood, with its food and nutrients story, are doing well, which bodes will for Innisfree in the US.
Obviously, K-Beauty is the big trend these days and Amorepacific is clearly trying to capitalize on the momentum. Between K-Beauty and the natural/eco trend, I think Innisfree is very well positioned for success.
They have approachable price points
Compared to brands like Amorepacific or Sulwhasoo, Innisfree is the much more affordable brand with price points starting at $1.80 for a sheet mask, around $19 for a moisturizer, and $25 - $33 for a serum. This brand won't break the bank and the entry point for trying an Amorepacific brand has become much more attractive.
Innisfree has resources and investment behind it
As part of the Amorepacific portfolio, I am certain that Innisfree has a decent amount of resources and financial support behind its launch. They will be opening up a store in Union Square at 17th and Broadway. They're already hired a PR firm and will launch with guns blazing to ensure this brand is a success.
I'm curious to see how the brand approaches the Jeju Island story, as I know this will require a lot of education. Most Americans don't really know where South Korea is nor the difference between North and South Korea let alone where or what Jeju Island is. Jeju Island is such a strong part of their brand story in Korea, it'll be interesting to see if it translates well in the US.
I'm also curious to see what Innisfree will do about distribution. Will they go about only opening and selling through their stores or will they get the brand into Target or a similar retailer? Given the approach with their other brands, I'm assuming they will be launching in a major retailer but I'll be waiting to see what their strategy here is.
What do you think? Do you think Innisfree will succeed in the US? Write a comment below.