The Rise of AmorePacific
In 2017, AmorePacific (AP) was the world’s seventh-largest cosmetics company, competing head-to-head with leading companies like L’Oréal and Estée Lauder. This case describes AP’s unique approach to beauty products, which reflected the corporate credo of “Harmony and Balance” and other philosophies that traced their roots in Eastern philosophy. AP’s view of yin and yang, for instance, was integral to the company’s approach to R&D. The case also looks at how AP approached the beauty and skin care needs of Korean women initially, developing new make-up and skin care products as well as entirely new beauty routines—based on an Eastern medicine view that the body undergoes substantial changes every seven years.
The platform upon which AP formulated and implemented its strategies could be explained as a “cushion-like,”flexible, and adaptable organization structure. While many Korean companies continue to be heavily male-oriented, the AP organization was quite unusual. Respect for women, a progressive approach to childcare and flexible schedules, and open communication were hallmarks of how AP operated. AP employees were expected to become “creative craftsmen” who embraced new ways to create new beauty products. The products they created, from the IOPE Air Cushion to the Laneige Beauty Sleeping Pack, reflected this approach.