I remember walking into Richmond Centre, completely unaware of how my life was about to change. (Too dramatic?) As I strolled past Starbucks, my ears picked up familiar riffs. Is that Kpop?! I did a turn and saw a storefront that I thought I would never see in Canada. It was bright green and labelled “The Face Shop”. I think my wallet cried that day. It’s not that Korean makeup doesn’t exist in Canada. It does. There are bright and cute stores that carry Japanese and Korean makeup products – organized chaos style. There are little cube spaces dedicated to 3 Concept Eyes, Laneige, etc. There are makeup aisles in H-Mart and T&T. But to my limited knowledge, this was the first time I’ve seen a brand open a store.
And then I heard about The Face Shop opening in Metrotown. And then there was TonyMoly at Aberdeen Centre.
(Side note – as I am looking up specific opening dates for these stores, it turns out this is their second time attempting to break into Canada! From the barely stocked shelves I’m seeing, hopefully they’re sticking it out for the long haul this time.) Gone are the primitive days where we guess our BB cream shade and cry at shipping and customs. We live in the era of globalization. Jokes aside, I think from a business perspective the conditions are pretty good for further expansion. There is a large Asian population in Vancouver – a lot of whom continue to look to Asia for their style and makeup inspiration. For the newer customers, the attractive packaging Korean makeup tend to have is definitely a drawing point. Even if I didn’t know The Face Shop, I would still walk inside just because it looks ridiculously pretty. Finally, there is growing global awareness regarding Korean makeup and skincare. I personally hope these stores hit it big enough to entice more brands into breaking into Canada. Until then, I will be saying hi to Kim Soo Hyun’s cut out everytime I walk past him in Richmond Centre.