Chinese Herbal Skincare Brand INOHERB Supports 1.5 Million Yuan for Shanghai’s Anti-Epidemic Work

As of April 14, Chinese skincare brand INOHERB has donated nearly 18,000 pieces of anti-epidemic materials worth nearly 1.5 million yuan (about $232,700) to universities, communities, medical institutions, and volunteer service teams through the Shanghai INOHERB Charity Foundation.

After the outbreak of the epidemic in Shanghai, on March 25, the INOHERB Foundation donated 200 masks to the Baoshan Women’s Federation, and on March 28, donated 428 personal care products to the Putuo District Volunteer Association. In April 2022, the INOHERB Foundation purchased 2,230 sets of protective clothing and shoe covers to donate to the Baoshan Industrial Park Epidemic Prevention Office and other institutions and donated 7,000 hand creams to the Shanghai Women’s Federation.

Founded in 1999, INOHERB is one of the earliest enterprises in China to enter the field of Chinese herbal skincare, always adhering to the concept of safe and effective beauty skincare and fully exploring the essence of traditional Chinese medicine. Since the establishment of the company, a total of more than 20 Chinese herbal medicine invention patents have been authorized, with a total of about 30 patents.

The brand’s early positioning was “mask expert”. Due to the grasp of the supermarket channel that is in the initial stage, the brand has seen rapid growth and completed the early original accumulation. In 2007, INOHERB received the investment from CAPITAL TODAY and reached $33.68 million of sales revenues in the following year and then increased at a growth rate of nearly 100% for four consecutive years.

With the blessing of capital, since 2009, the brand positioning of INOHERB has been adjusted from “mask expert” to “herb skincare expert”, developing patented Chinese herbal medicine technology and expanding the product line. By its peak in 2013, INOHERB reached 2.3 billion yuan (about $357 million) of sales revenue.

In 2014, INOHERB began to decline after experiencing multiple storms such as IPO failure, president Yan Ming’s departure, and market misjudgments.

At the same time, with the rapid development of China’s skincare market, skincare products with the advantages of Chinese herbal medicine and herbal skincare are emerging in an endless way and the concept of skincare around traditional Chinese medicine, herbs, and plants is no longer novel. In addition, the lack of chain channels and the failure to follow e-commerce channels such as live streaming in time is also another mistake of INOHERB.

In 2017, Yan Ming returned to INOHERB and launched a rebranding schedule, saying that he hoped that INOHERB would be in the top three in domestic cosmetics in the next 3 to 5 years. To this end, INOHERB repositioned itself as a “Chinese herbal skincare expert” and decided to concentrate its energy and resources on the Chinese herbal skincare segment and tried to differentiate itself from other brands. INOHERB began the road to self-help.

In terms of products, INOHERB concentrated on promoting the skincare line with “Rhodiola Rosea” as the main ingredient and created a star product ” INOHERB RADIANT ESSENCE”, which is also the most well-known product of INOHERB on various social platforms.

In addition, INOHERB has also laid out 11 series of product lines including men’s skincare, sunscreen, masks, etc., and launched a high-end line “INOHERB Tang” in May this year. The series was first released exclusively on Sephora’s e-commerce platform on June 24, whose prices range from $34 to $137, which is much higher than the price of $5 to $45 of conventional INOHERB products.

In terms of marketing, INOHERB has adopted a variety of methods, including cooperation with intangible cultural heritage, The Summer Palace IP, and even with WUFANGZHAI which is a Chinese time-honoured food brand.

In addition, INOHERB has also made efforts in product innovation and quality improvement. In 2020, INOHERB used freeze-dried technology to create a series of Long Dan An Xin, which was deeply loved by consumers. The GMV of the series reached 12 million in two weeks on the market, topping in the category of 99 cost-effective masks on Tmall. In May 2021, INOHERB signed a strategic cooperation agreement with WEIBO HI-TECH to carry out in-depth cooperation in the fields of Chinese herbal skincare and freeze-dried product research and development.

In June 2021, INOHERB reported a shopping guide competition. During the competition, the omnichannel performance of the 11 stores participating in the competition increased significantly, the performance of excellent shopping guides increased by 3.5 times and the omnichannel GMV increased by 60% year-on-year, an increase of 37% month-on-month. The new WeChat users of the participating shopping guides were nearly 7,000, with the GMV of the Mini Program increasing by 87% month-on-month and the cost of advertising being reduced by 30% compared with expectations.

With the rapid development of China’s cosmetics market, not only is the competition between local brands fierce, but also the impact of foreign brands. Although currently INOHERB has been improved through a series of measures and achieved success, INOHERB still has a long way to go considering how to outshine many brands and return to its peak.



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