Whoo (后), the cosmetics brand designed by Mario Gagliardi, is now Korea’s most successful luxury brand, selected by the Seoul Economic Daily in 2017 (read more about its creation). The brand exceeded 100 billion Korean Won in annual sales in 2009, 200 billion Won in 2013, 400 billion Won in 2014, 800 billion Won in 2015, and annual sales exceeded 1 trillion Won last year. Whoo’s parent company LG Household & Health Care, part of LG Group, expects the annual sales of Whoo to surge to 1.6 trillion Won (US$ 1,4 billion) in 2017, making it the best-performing Korean luxury brand in history.
Designed at a time when Western cosmetics brands dominated the Asian market with narratives of Paris and New York, the brand was revolutionary in being the first cosmetics series to focus instead on Asian culture and history.
Made with premium ingredients including Korean roots and herbs, Whoo tells the stories of historic Korean dynasties. Whoo is especially popular with Chinese consumers, with whom in 2017 it gained 197% in sales from 2014. Currently 150 brand stores in China carry the brand in department stores such as Youtang and SKP in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Beijing and Chongqing. In Hong Kong, LG operates brand stores at Lane Crawford, Times Square, IFC Mall, and Harbor City. LG plans to expand Whoo outlets in China to 200 units in the mid- to long-term.
According to the ranking of sales by brand in duty-free shops by the Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance, Whoo (后) is ranked first. The top five brands in duty-free shops since 2015 were Whoo, followed by Sulwhasoo, Louis Vuitton, Hera and Rolex. Louis Vuitton, which maintained its top position in duty-free sales until 2014, was pushed to third place due to the strong domestic sales of Whoo. After-tax sales of Whoo (后) at duty free shops between January and August 2017 generated sales of 355.26 billion Won, while Korea’s second-ranking cosmetics brand, Sulwhasoo by Amorepacific, generated 64.94 billion Won.
Whoo, the brand which defined the genre of ‘K-beauty’, is expanding its influence in currently 13 Asian countries including Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
Whoo also actively supports the preservation and maintenance of historic Korean cultural monuments. By way of a cultural property preservation agreement with the Korean Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Whoo has been supporting the preservation of Korean historical palaces since 2015.
A celebration of the brand with the theme ‘The Four Seasons of the Queen’ is underway in the four Royal palaces in Seoul: Deoksugung Palace, Gyeongbok Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace, and Changdeokgung Palace. A unique culture experience program with a series of prestigious showcases, exhibitions and performances sponsored by Whoo are being held this fall at the Royal Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul.