Skip to content

How Yami is becoming the Amazon of K-beauty and J-beauty

Original Article 

With its new $50 million Series B funding round, Asian online marketplace Yami is doubling down on beauty.

Last month, the 9-year-old e-commerce marketplace announced the funding round led by investment companies Altos Ventures and Balsam Bay Partners, which brings its total funding to $60 million. Existing investors J.P Morgan and GGV Capital also participated in the new round.

Originally started as an e-commerce outlet for Asian packaged food in the United States, Yami has invested heavily in building up its beauty business. As the retailer has invested more in beauty marketing and ridden the wave of the K-beauty boom in the U.S., beauty now accounts for 35% of its total sales, up from 10% in 2014.

“The beauty category is definitely going to get bigger and represent a higher percentage of the business in the future,” said Alex Zhou, founder and CEO of Yami. “More non-Asian customers have started to recognize Asian beauty brands.”

The e-tailer sells over 30,000 Japanese, Korean and Chinese beauty products via a direct sales and marketplace model, with warehouses in both the United States and Asia. According to Zhou, K-beauty and J-beauty are the top categories, with K-beauty sheet masks from brands including Dr. Jart and Mediheal among the best-selling products. Prestige beauty is also popular, with SK-II sheet masks and Shiseido skin care also top sellers. K-beauty makeup from brands like 3CE is also popular.