If you follow #beautytok, #beautytube or any beauty content on social media platforms, you know it’s hard to keep up with hot product trends. Summer International stays ahead of the curve by identifying the most influential content creators and working with them to incubate new brands. Founded in Singapore and headquartered in Los Angeles and South Korea, Summer International announced today that it has raised a seed round of $5 million from investors including GDP Ventures, Teja Ventures, Gushcloud International and Singaporean angel investors Koh Boon Hwee. and Shirley Crystal Tan.
NYX founder and Bespoke Beauty Brands CEO Toni Ko will also join Summer International as a strategic investor. NYX was acquired by L’Oreal in 2014 for about $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 was launched in 2018 together with Gushcloud International, an influencer marketing firm. Since then, Summer International has incubated brands including the Baby Face skincare line with Singaporean influencer Jamie Chua, which has more than 1.2 million followers, and wellness brands HANJAN, which launched at Coachella in April. and recently teamed up with singer Nicole Scherzinger.
Kuik told TechCrunch that Summer International looks for creators and influencers who have a strong connection with their audience based on engagement rates, how active early video platforms are, and whether they have a strong localized community and global presence.
“Many times, creators look to us for our reach and resources,” he said. “We have our own supply chain and have the power to distribute brands in Asia through our live distribution and social commerce platforms. Our goal is to establish these top influencers as founders of next-generation beauty, skincare and wellness brands and provide them with the necessary access and resources they need to enter the market.”
Other companies that also work with creators to launch brands include Pietra and Forma Brands. Ko said that Summer International differentiates itself by having its own distribution network and also has a network of live commerce and social commerce distributors, mainly micro-influencers based in Southeast Asia.
“It gives us the ability to understand data about what consumers want and would buy and this allows us to collaborate with creators to build brands in a more profitable way,” Kuik said. Summer International’s live trade distribution network helps you understand what brands and products consumers in different parts of Southeast Asia want to buy. It also provides data points like pricing and demographics to create new brands and market to them.
Summer International brands are sold through a mix of digital and offline channels, including e-commerce platforms, live and social commerce platforms, and department stores. They are also available on Summer.store, the company-owned social commerce network.