Jessica Hanson joined Amorepacific in September 2017 as the President and General Manager for the U.S. Most recently, Jessica had been Chief Marketing and Sales Officer for Perricone MD. In her new role, Jessica is responsible for overseeing all strategic marketing, sales and operations functions in the U.S. for all Amorepacific brands in the U.S., including Amorepacific, Sulwhasoo, Laneige, Mamonde, Aritaum, and Annick Goutal. Beauty Insider spoke with Jessica recently on what is most pressing for building the business in 2018 and beyond. Here’s what she said.


Beauty Insider: What attracted you to the company?

Jessica Hanson: When I first discussed the U.S. business with the company’s leadership, I shared my strategy on infiltrating North America and potential opportunities for a company with such strong Asian roots. Amorepacific’s presence in North America has been somewhat conservative since the launch 15 years ago – a strategy which I agree was right for the time. Now is the time to lean in, given the rise in consumer interest in Korean beauty products and rituals, the focus on well-being and the high level of interest in brands that deliver effective skin care with key ingredients.

BI: What will you change?

JH: We will not be shy about approaching North America, but we will be very strategic with each brand and decision for distribution. Two years ago, research was conducted to better understand the North American market, including retailers and most importantly, consumer purchasing habits and desires. We must adapt based on these learnings and leverage our leadership position within the Asian Beauty segment. I am looking forward to leading a talented and growing team to achieve new heights because I believe that the potential is quite substantial.

BI: What’s your focus?
JH: We have a dual focus – first is on cultivating our premium business, which we have had extraordinary success with due to our exclusive launch of Laneige in Sephora. Second is growing our luxury brands, including Amorepacific and Sulwhasoo. Amorepacific has just had an amazing first quarter with retail sales increases in each of our channels and we have very strong innovation coming over the next six months. Today for Sulwhasoo we have a very strong e-commerce business that is growing double. We will be soon launch a flagship counter at Bloomingdales 59th Street, later in the second quarter. Every counter offers a Beauty Creator Experience, which offers complimentary facial services by appointment, which we will utilize to attract new consumers and build loyalty with our current consumers.

BI: Talk about the company’s online business.

JH: With the expanding power of online shopping, our goal is to grow our e-commerce presence and stay on the cutting edge of technology. We will do this with our own brand sites, offering exclusive products and special previews, and at the same time, strengthen our retailer .com partnerships through stronger content.

BI: What is your take on selling on Amazon?

JH: Currently, we don’t officially distribute to Amazon and products that are sold there now are by unauthorized resellers. Since many of the products that are being directly imported from Korea are not U.S.-compliant, we are working to decrease these resellers to ensure safety of our customers and authentic Amorepacific experience. It is clear that Amazon is an important retailer to the American consumer, so we must find the ways to partner in the future.

BI: What’s the difference between a Sulwhasoo customer and an Amorepacific customer?
JH: Both products represent our luxury division and both Sulwhasoo and Amorepacific customers care about the best-in-class ingredients in their skin care products. A consumer who is interested in meditation, yoga, holistic lifestyle and wellness as well as effectiveness will have an appreciation for the Sulwhasoo philosophy and rituals. Amorepacific customers love the efficacy and textures, but seeing the results after using products is what keeps them coming back.

BI: How are you targeting younger consumers?

JH: Our premium brands are very accessible to a broad range of consumers and are especially focused on a younger generation; someone who is starting to invest in skin care. For example, the success of Laneige at Sephora is due to the price point as well as the fun spirit of the brand. We are investing heavily in social media to gain awareness with all levels of influencers. Most recently, our partnership with Chloe Kim has allowed us to connect with the millennial consumer and we are looking forward to expanding her role as our U.S. Ambassador.

BI: What’s the latest with the brand’s store strategy?

JH: Last year we began evolving Amore stores into Aritaum stores. In Korea we have 1,300 Aritaum stores. In the U.S. they are located in predominantly Asian communities and we have five new markets that we will open stores. The benefit of these stores is that they offer a place for K-Beauty discovery – from our luxury Sulwhasoo brand to our more accessible premium brands, like IOPE. Thirty have transitioned from Amore stores to Aritaum so far and we will complete the conversion of all stores by early 2019.

BI: What brand can we expect to see next in the U.S.?

JH: We are continuously evaluating other brands to bring over but we’re always very strategic about the new launches. In the first quarter of 2018 we introduced Mamonde, a brand that first launched in Korea in 1991, and since becoming a very dominant brand in Asia. The brand uses flower science to deliver K-Beauty simplified. With ingredients such as camellia and roses, each product delivers benefits to help hydrate and nourish the skin. The line is very feminine and multi-sensorial, with hero products such as Rose Bubble Mask, Rose Beauty Water and Floral Hydro Cream. Ulta Beauty is the brand’s exclusive retail partner. Mamonde products launched on in February. A curated collection of 27 SKUs entered 207 U.S. Ulta Beauty doors in top prestige skin care markets beginning March 5.

Innisfree launched in the U.S. last September with more than 900 SKUs in our first U.S. flagship in Union Square and online with Our knowledgeable staff takes customers on a journey of innovative beauty solutions in each category – skin, makeup hair and body – that are powered by the finest natural ingredients responsibly sourced from Korea’s pristine Jeju Island. We exceeded our retail sales plan and are set for expansion to at least five new locations in 2018 which will focus on the NYC tri-state area and the West Coast.