Meet Laka, the Brand Challenging Stereotypes in the Beauty Industry
With K-beauty taking the beauty industry by storm, the world has been paying attention to more Korean brands — you can find brands like Laneige, Innisfree and Dr.Jart+ in Sephora now.
But one brand is making waves in a way unprecedented by others in the country before.
Dubbed the first-ever gender-neutral beauty brand in South Korea, Laka champions expression, empowerment and uniqueness, challenging stereotypes in the beauty industry. The brand sees makeup as an expression of one’s identity beyond gender, creating products for both men and women.
Believing that there should be no rules in beauty, Laka celebrates every individual by enhancing their unique features through the label’s makeup products in versatile and muted shades. With a range of products such as cushions, concealers, eyeshadows, blushes, and lip products, it’s easy to build a core makeup collection without sacrificing variety in your daily looks.
We caught up with Laka founder and brand director, Minmi Lee, to chat more about the brand, the inspiration behind the gender-neutral philosophy, and more.
Tell us more about your career journey. What were you doing before Laka and what inspired you to start the business?
I worked in advertising for a decade after studying advertising and PR at university. For four years at the advertising agency I established, I worked on building my portfolio, working with skincare, makeup and jewellery brands.
Advertising is working to convince the public of the appeal of a brand and so, I was attracted to the beauty industry because it had so much appeal. I decided I wanted to create a brand, from the ground up, instead of dealing with an existing brand. And that was how I created LAKA.
Can you tell us more about Laka? What made you choose gender-neutral as your brand identity?
I wanted to create a beauty brand reflecting the times we currently live in, responding to the ‘gender-neutral perspective’. I thought it would be great that such a response came from a makeup brand, which often caters to women instead of men.
Do men really use Laka?
You would be surprised! I would love to see a time when it’s no longer strange to see male colleagues sitting next to me wearing blush.
What is your secret to success?
We’re not a success — not yet. I don’t think we’re considered a success until we see men shopping around for red lipstick and we don’t think it’s strange. We’re doing well thanks to our consumers; if you ask how are we doing so well, I would say it’s because of our sincerity.
Everyone working for the brand understands and grasps the concept of “Beauty is for everyone”. We don’t think of the gender-neutral concept as a marketing strategy or a trend. We genuinely hope that anyone who is a beauty fan can have positive experiences with our products, and I think that our customers can feel that.
Most of Laka’s products are based on neutral colours. How did you decide which colours to include in the collection?
They were chosen based on practicality. It was an essential point to consider when we were developing the colour scheme. We wanted comfortable and easy colours that would look good on anyone. Of course, we’d add a pop of colour to keep things interesting, perhaps adding brown to a typical coral shade or orange to an otherwise plain red.
Most of our “fans” would agree that no matter what colour you chose (when using our products), there are almost zero chances of failure. It’s why people love our brand.
What are your personal favourite products in the range?
This is such a tough question because they’re all close to my heart (laughs)! Since I prefer light makeup, I guess I would choose the Watery Sheer Lipstick — I really love its sheer texture.
What’s next for Laka? What can we expect from the brand?
We will continue creating gender-neutral products and hope that our products can help make people feel beautiful. You can definitely look forward to it!
Shop Laka on BEAUBIT now.