▲ Para Jeju CEO Kim Miryang. Photo by Kim Jung Lim
With so many new economically viable and promising projects popping up on the island, the suggestion that Jeju develop a “Cosmetic Valley,” comes as little surprise, especially since Jeju companies have already shown they have something unique to offer.
Jeju’s “cleanliness” is valuable promotional material for cosmetic companies attempting to strengthen their organic image.
Para Jeju is just one of the cosmetic businesses interested in joining the “Jeju Cosmetic Valley.” CEO Kim Miryang said there are lots of small companies on the island at present, and bringing them together in one area would likely yield greater results. Para Jeju (para is short for paradise) specializes in the use of seaweed extract. Kim experimented with seaweed for more than 20 years before breaking into the cosmetic industry.
“I became interested in the use of seaweed on skin because my son suffered from atopy [a sudden allergic reaction],” said Kim.
She had heard the application of seaweed provided antioxidants useful in the treatment of atopy conditions. Kim said she made her own home remedy to experiment on her son, and within a few days his symptoms had diminished drastically. The seaweed extract is not a cureall. The disease returns periodically, but the seaweed has provided the best results in treating the skin condition.
Kim said there are various types of atopy, and while seaweed works wonders for most individuals, there are a few cases in which it has little to no effect. Kim said right now her company only works on creating products for skin disorders related to atopy and acne. However, within the next few years she would like to work on a product line that includes whitening agents and wrinkle cream.
A recent story in JejuSori.net, “Jeju Cosmetic Valley,” claimed the industry to be a 40 billion won investment. The article stated that Jeju is currently about 4 to 5 years behind other developed countries in its research and product development with cosmetics. The construction of a cosmetic valley is expected to accelerate Jeju’s level of competition with the rest of world, and the island has hopes of becoming one of the top distributors in organic cosmetics.
Proposed locations include Gujwa-eup, Handong-ri because of the surrounding lava seawater and Hawondong, Seogwipo City, which provides access to high-quality underground water and carbonated water for production.
Skin Cure Cosmetics relocated its headquarters and research facilities to Jeju in 2006.
“Our company, which mainly sells natural functional cosmetics, decided to establish the head office and the research center in Jeju because Jeju has good resources and a sanitary image. I believe Jeju corresponds to our company’s image,” said CEO Kim Myung Ok who continued that all their products are made from Jeju native plants.
“Skin Cure’s cosmetics are made on the basis of skin science and environmental science. The belief that natural ingredients gained from nature are most suitable to the human body, is our company’s philosophy, and we make and develop the products based on this belief,” said Kim. “We make natural cosmetics and own many brands, including Noste, Sandahwa, Downbi, Stemcello, and Pure Island.”
Noste is a specialized cosmetic for troubled skin and is used primarily to treat chronic skin ailments like atopy, psoriasis, acne, and seborrheic dermatitis.
Downbi is a traditional product associated with oriental medicine, altered by modern science, to rejuvenate aged skin.
“Stemcello is the New-Concept cosmetics that are made based on the cutting-edge stem cell research results. It has products that are made by transforming EMortal, the Peptide that was proven to vitalize the stem cell, into hoof-shaped liposome. Stemcello products alleviate the aging of skin and add elasticity by helping damaged skin cells to be regenerated, therefore allowing people to preserve their healthy skins,” said Kim Myung Ok.
Skin Cure already exports products to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Malaysia. Kim said the company hopes to expand their product line to more than nine countries within the year.
JejuSori.net rated the cosmetic industry at 100 billion won a year.
Skin Cure and Para Jeju both reported a 30 percent annual increase in profit. Skin Cure products can be found online as well as at Lotte Mall. Para Jeju is still developing but can be purchased online at parajeju.ejeju.net. However, the site is only available in Korean.
(Koh Yu Kyung contributed to this report)
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