Dale Han, Founder, and CEO of Limese (Seoul and Delhi-based), a business which sells Korean beauty and cosmetics platform at the Indian market. He worked as a data analyst in Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology research center after the master’s degree in IT.
What makes you come to India?
I’ve been part of ISB 2010 as an exchange program, an experience which allows me to see & understand its dynamics through interacting with the young generation in the school. After the period, I was thinking about doing business, whatever it is, someday in India.
There is no doubt that India has been the fastest growing countries and it will last at least 5 years. Even if the market size is still smaller than other developed countries, macro factors such as GDP growth(about 7% per annum even after demonetization), purchasing power parities(3rd ranked in the world) support optimistic views on the market potential.
Since 2015, I have realized that India would be the next Chinese market, then decided to take a trip to India to see the market in 2016. Especially I was very confident with Korean cosmetics because it has been already proven business in the other markets while having the competitive advantage against Chinese manufactured goods because it is “skin” product. Plus, there has been no Korean beauty & cosmetics platform like Limese (til now) in India.
All these factors made me come to India.
What’re your thoughts on Ayurveda?
To my knowledge, Ayurveda is more like the way of life which balances in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing. In a perspective of beauty & cosmetics, however, there is a similarity between Korean and Indian herbal medicine & treatment because our ancestor also relies on herbal treatment for a long history. I believe that it affects modern Korean cosmetics until now – considering beauty products in Korea, for example, a majority of brands are promoting herbal extracts as main ingredients.
Otherwise, it would be very hard to survive without “being natural”.
And of course, there is also a difference – Korean cosmetics are actively adopting state of the art technology & ingredients which are tested & proven by FDA. By combining two aspects of traditional & modern features, Korean cosmetics can be identified as an eclectic skin-care solution.
Is young generation more into Beauty market?
From my perspective as a foreigner, I cannot find much difference from western people in terms of mentality, value system and culture that they consume. The main point is that they are usually very open to change, trying a new option and actively looking for better life style at an unprecedented level.
Actually, it is not just my personal view point. A report published by Goldman Sachs(2016) on Urban Mass, describes the young’s main expenditure as (1)Eating better; (2)Looking better; (3)Better home; (4)Mobility and Connectivity; (5)Having more fun; (6)Well-being and luxury. It is not far deviant from what the other countries’ young generations have while obviously different values from what their parents’ generation had.
The only difference is that these kinds of trends have been recently started in India so that there have been no abundant good options especially cosmetics domain yet.
I see Indian cosmetics market as the supply shortage market for demand. For instance, college-student-focused beauty brands are hardly found as of now. There is much room for new brands at least cosmetics domain thanks to its growing awareness & increasing disposable income.
Your opinion on Young Entrepreneurship in India?
I have found that India is the most vibrant country in the world when it comes to start-up and young entrepreneurship because;
(1) there is sizable domestic market, (2) the young talented tends to come back to India after higher education or career in the oversea (3) and majority of people are very open to change and adopting new technology, partly thanks to the young demographic feature(median age of 27 yrs) which is very important feature in-app service & new types of retail industries.
Fortunately, I have two Indian friends who experienced “exit” in India so that I can hear about the scene much more deeply. Now both of them are doing & preparing new business.
I believe that there is salient virtuous circle among the Indian young generation, a phenomenon which makes the young to take a risk and to challenge and will last a couple of years more.
What will you do from now?
Recently Limese Private Limited was set up on April 2017 in Delhi. The entity will support Korean brands to distribute to right channel properly as well as helping branding & marketing for the local distributor, C&F etc.
Our own platform, Limesecos.com, will be launched on 18th May, where a consumer can buy good quality of Korean cosmetics which is hardly got on the other platform, combining with social media beauty contents.
Plus, “Dear, Klairs”, a very well-known Korean cosmetics available in Sephora Europe and other western countries, will be officially launched through Limese with exclusivity.
By end of this year, we are planning to help in launching curated cosmetics brands successfully as a platform.
As of now, we are cooperating with Health & Glow, Nykaa, Lakme Salons, Flipkart and Paytm.