The Deputy Consul General of South Korea in Atlanta said he hopes to make further inland into the cosmetics industry in Atlanta, Georgia through K-beauty and community building.
Over 100 companies gathered at the Cobb Galleria Centre on Sunday of the 12th annual Georgia Beauty Trade Show. For decades, Atlanta has served as the mecca for “Black beauty” where cosmetics and other beauty accessories tailored an African-American demographic. It is an industry that is surprisingly powered by South Koreans.
Staring in post-war South Korea, women sold their hair in exchange for money that could be used to buy food and other basic necessities, reports The Economist. The export of the product in the throughout the 1960s helped them corner a booming market in the U.S. Presently, Korean-Americans largely control the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of hair extension and wig to a customer base that is overwhelmingly Black.
Unsurprisingly, this market monopoly has spawned tension in the beauty industry. However, at this year’s Beauty Trade Show, organizers pushed a message of community building and reconciliation.
Son Young-pyo, the Deputy Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Atlanta said at the opening ceremony that with the thousands of business people in attendance that the venue becomes of “festival to communicate with each other, eat together, and share the joy as well as economic exchanges.”
As in years past, the event allowed sellers and beauty experts a space to show off trending items, new wears, and products, with a slight difference. Seeking to overcome the current division and tension in the beauty industry, there was a push to have the participating companies actively interact. Further, there was also a focus on opening a channel of communication between the local market and the Korean beauty industry.
This push for more K-beauty in Atlanta coincides with the ever increasing popularity of Korean popular culture products — most evidently music. Atlanta houses over 50,000 Korean-Americans and has become an increasingly appealing stop for K-pop groups touring in the U.S. Moreover, as K-beauty begins to expand their products to accommodate a broader range of needs, they also become more appealing.