If you follow #beautytok, #beautytube or any other beauty content on social media platforms, you know that hot product trends are hard to keep up with. Summer International continues to lead the way by identifying the most influential content creators and working with them to develop new brands. Founded in Singapore and based in Los Angeles and South Korea, Summer International announced today that it has raised a $5 million seed round from investors including GDP Ventures, Teja Ventures, Gushcloud International and Singaporean angel investors Koh Boon Hwee and Shirley Crystal Tan.
Toni Ko, founder of NYX and CEO of Bespoke Beauty Brands, will also join Summer International as a strategic investor. NYX was acquired by L’Oreal in 2014 for approximately $500 million.
Summer International co-founder and CEO Xiaoski Kuik said the company’s goal is to create an ecosystem to help influencers and creators launch and sell beauty brands using consumer data and analytics. It operates in the United States, South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia.
The company launched in 2018 along with Gushcloud International, an influencer marketing company. Since then, Summer International has incubated brands like skincare line Baby Face with Singaporean influencer Jamie Chua, who has more than 1.2 million followers, and wellness brands HANJAN, which launched at Coachella in April and recently partnered with singer Nicole Scherzinger.
Kuik told australiabusinessblog.com that Summer International is looking for creators and influencers who have strong connections with their audiences based on engagement rates, how active they are on a video-first platform, and whether they have a strong local community and global presence.
“A lot of times, creators seek us out because of our reach and resources,” she said. “We have our own supply chain and we have the power to distribute brands across Asia through our social commerce and live distribution platforms. Our goal is to establish these top influencers as founders of the next generation of beauty, skincare and wellness brands and provide them with the access and resources they need to break into the marketplace.”
Other companies that also work with creators to launch brands are Pietra and Forma Brands. Ko said that Summer International is distinguished by owning its own distribution network and it also has a network of live commerce and social commerce distributors, mainly micro-influencers in Southeast Asia.
“It gives us the ability to understand data of what consumers want and would buy and this allows us to partner with makers to build brands in a more cost-effective way,” said Kuik. Summer International’s live commerce distribution network helps it understand which brands and products consumers from different parts of Southeast Asia want to buy. It also provides data points such as prices and demographics to create and market new brands.
Summer International brands are sold through a mix of digital and offline channels, including e-commerce platforms, social and live commerce platforms, and big-box stores. They are also available on Summer.store, the company’s own social commerce network.