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After 26-years in business, Greek beauty brand Korres has a rich history to tell.
Korres began as a homeopathic herbal remedy brand within a Greek pharmacy that was founded by George Korres in 1992. In 1996, the beauty brand was born, and it has since built up a portfolio of skin care, body care and fragrance products. They include staple Greek ingredients like olive oil, Greek yogurt, white pine and Assyrtiko, a white grape variety from the Greek island of Santorini.
After first selling through Henri Bendel department store in 2000, Korres relaunched in the U.S. market in 2018 with a digital-first approach. This shortly followed Morgan Stanley’s investment of over $56 million into Korres in Nov. 2017, allowing the brand to push further into international markets. More recently, in Jan. 2021, the 26-year-old brand entered Ulta Beauty stores through the retailer’s Conscious Beauty program, following its Ulta.com launch in Dec. 2020. Korres is also sold at Sephora, HSN and Dermstore,
With Ulta Beauty, the Korres team hopes to reach Gen-Z customers, which is a big focus for the beauty brand. Additionally, Korres plans to set up livestream shopping on its DTC e-commerce site in April. The goal is to better control its brand story and introduce people to its history as a Greek apothecary-pharmacy brand, while focusing on ingredient harvesting within Greece, in-house formulations and productions.
“My vision is not to sit here and tell a story. My vision is to bring people in,” said Lena Korres, Korres co-founder and gm of North America, on the latest episode of the Glossy Beauty podcast. “That’s why livestream shopping and being able to show things and introduce people [to Korres] and [let them] ask questions [is important]. That’s where I see our brand heading toward and making a difference.”
In 2020, Korres earned $30 million in U.S. sales and $97 million globally. Korres expected to earn $120 million in 2021 global sales in a Glossy Jan. 2021 story, she said.
Below are excerpts of the conversation, which have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Differences between European and American pharmacy beauty brands
“[European pharmacies] are places where you go to get a curated assortment and personal advice and reliable products that really work because you are, of course, in a pharmacy. We don’t come just from a pharmacy but from the first herbal homeopathic pharmacy in Greece. What sets our brand apart from other beauty brands is that, before Korres ever made any beauty products, we were making herbal remedies. We have worked with herbal ingredients for many years and we know those ingredients inside out, [including] how they work in your body and how they translate on your skin.”
Why Gen Z is a priority for Korres’s international markets
“Gen Z is a priority for a couple of reasons. Some of our most iconic products, like our Greek Yogurt [franchise], are phenomenal for Gen Z and the millennial consumer’s [skin]. I feel a stronger responsibility when it comes to younger consumers to show them how to have healthy skin for a lifetime. This goes back to [what] Greek beauty [is]: glowing skin because it’s healthy skin. Apart from that, our brand and our sustainability footprint — we’ve been a clean brand for 26-years now — are values that are important for those consumers. It’s easier to educate them because if you are used to a specific routine or way of treating your skin, it’s sometimes harder to change.”
Livestream shopping ambitions
“One of the big things we are doing this year is our own livestream shopping. We know how to do livestream shopping because of our TV [shopping] experience on HSN and QVC. We have the talent in-house, I’m available. We can livestream from our labs and do exciting things. [Livestreams will be on] our website, maybe also on our social media. I want to show [customers] our production, recycling lab and wealth of knowledge. With livestream shopping, I can do this from wherever and whenever. I can bring the people in to see the olive oil harvest on the island of Crete, or they can come in the lab and see formulations with Greek yogurt.”