Who are you? aka Interview with Seong Hoon Shin from NoTs and Mini ReviewsA few months ago my sponsor Q-Depot told me a little bit about the brand NoTs and asked me if I wanted to try some of their stuff out. I was intrigued and decided to check it out. In the back and forth emails that ensued I was told that the emailee was friends with one of the people working for Nots and I promptly asked if I could interview him. I used to interview artists quite a bit a few years back (there are a few here on the blog but most of them are on another site) and thought that interviewing someone that works in the cosmetics industry in Korea might be interesting. I am a curious kind of a person and when I did indeed work in the industry (in Europe of course) I used to question all the interesting people I met be they makeup artists or brand representatives.
So here is the interview with Seong Hoon Shin the Director for the Overseas Business Development division that is in charge with matters for the Americas and EU. He was so nice to take some photographs of his office as well for a more behind the scenes look.
What is your favorite part about your work?
There are a couple of things I love about my job. One, I get to meet new people all over the world. It is always exciting to realise that there are so many interesting characters. Two, I like the tension that comes from the uncertainty when I start a discussion with a new company. After that it is the satisfaction when our product finally did make its way into the buyer or a customer’s heart.
What makes NoTs stand out in the seemingly oversaturated cosmetics market?
I think the design makes it stand out. It is not as Asian as other Korean brands. This is before people buy the actual product but it is all about the results people get after they use NoTS. Especially with 28 Remedy Line, all the products in the 28 Remedy line have over 80% rebuy rate. That shows that most of the people who use our products are satisfied.
We do use the best natural ingredients we can find and the best quality materials for the bottles and packaging.
Our consulting system is also a little different. We provide free samples to all the customers who want to try the product before they buy the actual product. Along with that we have 28 day refund policy. After that we do have CS staffs guiding every customers calling in for any kind of help with skin care.
One other thing grasping people’s interest in Korea is that as a new and still somewhat unknown brand, people see our brand in premium department stores. That gives assurance and trust in quality of the products.
My personal opinion is that there is not much difference. These days the trend is shared through internet and people take interest in other worlds and they travel to experience and see new things. Not just the cosmetics but for anything people purchase, nowadays, people look for quality, safety, natural and eco-friendly products. Just like ours!
If I must pick out a difference, I would say that the design and the concept of the product are different. Usually, culture plays a role in this. In Korea, medicinal or herbal ingredients are constant trend in cosmetic. (eg. Horse oil or Ginseng) I believe that organic and natural ingredients are more preferred. Depending on the ingredient, the color of the bottle and packaging, shape and size will change.
Do you think gender plays a big role in how skincare is marketed to people in Korea, and do you think it differs from the Western world?
Gender plays a very big role in skincare marketing. Most men, all over the world, do not really care how beautiful they look. For man, they want more convenience when it comes to skincare. Men do not use 2, 3 skincare products. It is usually just aftershave.
It is starting to change in Korea. With the younger generation, late teens to 20s, they do use BB or CC creams and color makeups for men. 30s onwards, including myself, we started to use toner and moisturizer, and very rarely, I do see my generation using creams.
When you think about all these and if you market to sell a line with 7 products for men, it is not going to work. However, if you market a men’s product with 7 functions in one, then it will work.
Robust, men’s line at NoTS has the 2~3 function in one product for men to use with convenience.
Which cosmetic item do you consider the most crucial and why?
This is a very difficult question because every cosmetic plays different role. Also, what you must use changes depending on your skin type.
However, to answer your question, within the skin care category, I think toner, moisturizer and cream are crucial. If I have to choose one, I would say cream is a crucial item. Cream usually has the highest density of goodies, nutrients and moisturizing ingredients.
A female might use BB cream as a makeup base, another might use a primer or a foundation, some cases one might use all before going on to color shades.
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The Korean beauty world can be quite confusing for an outsider. Where or how would you recommend a newbie in this field to start?
As a man, this is one of the questions I want to know the answer to. Korean women are so into decorating their skin to make it look bright and clear. There are so many products and cosmetics categories which I sometimes ask myself which idiot came up with all these. Because of that idiot I have to wait couple of hours for my girlfriend to get ready. This was a joke, I am sorry if it was not that funny.
Getting back to the question, if you are a newbie and don’t know what to use and what to buy. Toner, moisturizer and cream are a good start. As for makeup, BB and CC creams are a good start with lipstick. If you are a woman, you will feel the need for “a little more would make this look better”.
If you are in Korea, senior high school girls and university freshmen go to the department stores. Most of the booth has showroom mirrors and you sit there and the stylist will demonstrate how to begin and what to start using first. It is all free and you get some free samples before you go. I do not know whether department stores in other countries do the same but I do know that the sales ladies do give good information and tips on where to start.
What is your secret talent?
This is a little shameful to say but I do not exactly know what my talent is but almost everyone I meet tells me that I make them feel comfortable. Also, I lived in Australia for a little over 12 years so I understand both Korean and western culture and because of that I am quite open to accepting different customs. I think those are my secret talent because nobody knows about it until they get to know me.
A boring answer would be, I am very stubborn and I do not give up easy. Always putting best efforts to educate myself and make things happen.
28 Remedy Balancing Toner
First of the toner. Unlike most Korean toners this one is actually astringent instead of hydrating. I used it by patting it on my face and also by applying it onto a cotton pad and then wiping my face. It smells kind of medicinal but faint. It is watery and fresh like most toners are. The interesting thing about this is that even though it is targeted for acneic skin, and an astringent, it did not dry out my skin. I made a half half test with it and a hydrating toner on my face and neither side felt more hydrated then the other. Only that the Balancing Toners side was a teeny tiny bit less soft to the touch. I am quite impressed by this astringent non drying toner to be honest. I haven't used it long enough to see how my super dry skin would react to it in the long term of course.
28 Remedy Repair Cream
Oh boy was I wrong.
This cream is super balmy actually. It smells medicinal just like the toner and feels really emollient but not heavy at all. When I applied this my skin felt soothed indeed. I can tell it isn't as rich as most creams I use but the texture was marvellous. It is really hard to describe.
See through balm that doesn't leave a film on your skin would come close.
I think this would be a really good option for people who have dry or normal to dry skin AND acneic skin. I read a lot of people with this skin type complaining that there is no moisturisers for them since they are either too heavy or too light but I feel like this one might be exactly in the middle. Again I was not able to use it long enough to see what other effects it might have but in terms of first impression I was positively surprised. My skin wasn't super dried out and my spots were not aggravated.
I hope you enjoyed todays different kind of post. Have you tried any of Nots products and what did you think?
Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes and contains affiliated links. That fact does not alter my review or opinion in any matter. For more information read my Disclaimer page.