If you follow #beautytok, #beautytube or any other beauty content on social media platforms, you know that popular product trends are hard to follow. Summer International stays ahead of the game by identifying the most influential content creators and working with them to incubate new brands. Founded in Singapore, Summer International is based in Los Angeles and South Korea. Today, Summer International announced 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 around $500 million.
Xiaoski Kuik, co-founder and CEO of Summer International, said the company’s goal is to create an ecosystem that supports influencers and creators to market 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 founded in 2018 alongside Gushcloud International, an influencer marketing firm. Since then, Summer International has launched brands like skincare line Baby Face with Singaporean influencer Jamie Chua, who has over 1.2 million followers, wellness brand HANJAN, which debuted at Coachella in April, and recently partnered with singer Nicole Scherzinger has been received.
Kuik told TechCrunch that Summer International is looking for creators and influencers who have a strong connection with their audience based on engagement rates, how active they are on a video-first platform, and whether they have a strong local community and global presence .
“Creators often come to us for 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 the founders of the next generation of beauty, skincare and wellness brands, giving them the access and resources they need to break into the marketplace.”
Other companies that also work with creators to bring brands to market are Pietra and Forma Brands. According to Ko, Summer International is different in that it owns its own distribution network and also has a network of live commerce and social commerce distributors, mostly 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 work with developers to build brands more cost-effectively,” said Kuik. Summer International’s live commerce distribution network helps the company understand which brands and products consumers from different parts of Southeast Asia want to buy. It also provides data points like pricing and demographics to help create and market new brands.
Summer International’s 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 proprietary social commerce network.