[THE INVESTOR] When Style Nanda announced last month that French beauty giant L’Oreal will be snapping up a majority stake, it sent shockwaves across the industry.
Sure, the company was doing fabulously well and had created quite a stir with its success, but then it was soon forgotten -- although not by investors -- before being lurched back into the spotlight with the latest news.
[STYLE NANDA] L’Oreal to take 100% stake in Style Nanda
Style Nanda was established in 2005 amid a boom of boutique-sized internet fashion businesses. Out of the throng of budget fashion shopping websites -- most of whom sold products they bought wholesale from Dongdaemun fashion market -- Style Nanda stood out. Below are the three reasons why.
1. MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY
Style Nanda founder Kim So-hee had a nickname in Korea: Bold Lady. She earned it due to her preference for bold colors and styles. Kim is also famous for her brutal honesty, which became evident when she refused to remove the tags off her Dongdaemun goods to hide their origin. She said she didn’t mind because she was confident about her merchandising choice. She also didn’t want to lie to her customers.
A spokesperson for cafe24, which first provided a sales platform for Style Nanda, put it this way: “Style Nanda successfully formed its own unique style appealing to younger customers. That’s Style Nanda’s core competitiveness.”
2. BRAVO HALLYU
Style Nanda also benefited from the popularity of K-pop and Korean dramas when celebrities began to don Style Nanda items on air.
“It was a trickle-down effect, and Style Nanda definitely benefited from it,” Seo Yong-ku, a professor of business management at Seoul’s Sookmyung University told The Investor.
Whenever anyone famous appeared wearing Style Nanda items, it was cheap, instant promotion. Later on, Style Nanda paid celebrities on popular dramas to promote stuff to an even wider audience.
3. SHE STAYED HUNGRY, STAYED STUPID
Style Nanda never settled, and the present was never enough.
After successfully launching the company’s cosmetics brand 3CE, it launched Speak Undervoice, a new brand selling limited products personally selected by the founder.
Style Nanda was also constantly trying out new marketing styles. For instance, it recently used a so-called “product truck” to promote its 3CE brand. Employees handed out free makeup products to university students from a vehicle resembling an ice-cream truck -- the first for a cosmetics firm.
Despite these recipes of success, some industry watchers believe Style Nanda should spend more money on research and development. They say more experts should get onboard to grow the brands, especially those like 3CE -- currently designed by Style Nanda and produced by ODM companies like Korea Kolmar and Cosmax.
By Song Seung-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)