Volume 75, Number 20 | October 05 - 11, 2005

Villager photo by Elisabeth Robert

Hoo Joon Kim, in his recently opened Village store, says The Face Shop plans to open 100 locations across the country.

Korean cosmetics store lays foundation on Eighth St.

By Caitlin Eichelberger

Korean doesn’t just mean Hyundai and kimchi anymore. Add cosmetics and skincare products to the list of products from the burgeoning Asian nation.

The Face Shop celebrated its grand opening two weeks ago at 37 E. Eighth St. between University Pl. and Broadway. The shop is the latest addition to an evolving block.

The Face Shop specializes in skincare and beauty maintenance. Its philosophy, to “keep it simple,” is reflected in the ingredients of its products. From facial masks and cleansers to hair conditioners and creams, the shop boasts extracts of natural ingredients like green tea. The minimalist white interior and product packaging, as well, reflects the purity and simplicity of nature.

The shop originated in Korea and the Eighth St. location is the first in the U.S. Other locations outside the U.S. and Korea include Japan, Hong Kong and Canada. Owner Hoo Joon Kim said the shop is projected to open 100 more U.S. locations in the coming years. Aside from Asian products available at select spas and beauty stores, Korean cosmetics are difficult to come by, even in Manhattan. Kim said he opened the shop because it offers a promising product in a hot market. He was drawn to the Eighth St. location because of it’s proximity to New York University, and other area universities.

“Because there are so many young people here,” Kim said. “So, many that [we expect] an impact from university students, and for them to spread our items.”

Kim has 15 years experience working in the wholesale cosmetics industry.

The Village Alliance, a nonprofit business improvement district covering the Eighth St. area and part of St. Mark’s Pl., is pleased to welcome the shop’s arrival. Honi Klein, Village Alliance executive director, said the shop continues the block’s growing mix of stores and services.

“What is exciting about the Face Shop is that it is the first Korean cosmetics store,” she said. “To have that on Eighth St. is no small thing.”

Up next for Eighth St., which underwent a $2.1 million sidewalk-widening renovation in 2001, is Thai restaurant Namjit, an offshoot of Spice, in the former location of Faye’s café. Other recent additions include a Chipotle restaurant and Laila Rowe, a trendy jewelry and accessories shop, both between University Pl. and Broadway.

Klein pointed out that the alliance does not choose the stores, but rather works to provide an environment that is clean and safe and thus attractive to business owners. She called the street’s businesses “a mix, it’s a very healthy mix of stores.”

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