You will not be surprised to hear this a lot especially in Korean culture. South Korea is considered the “plastic surgery capital of the world” with the highest number of cosmetic procedures per capita worldwide. Since 2015, medical tourism to South Korea has also increased exponentially, with foreign patients seeking to take advantage of medical expertise and attractive prices that come with Seoul’s glamorous Gangnam district.
Despite the increasing demand from foreigners, there have been many hurdles including language barrier, clinic verification (as Seoul alone has over 600 clinics), price transparency for foreigners, and general unease that comes with being in a new-to-you place for the purposes of a medical procedure. To tackle these issues, Joy Kang and her co-founders founded Eunogo in 2015 and provided clinic verification and medical translation and concierge services to foreign customers. Eunogo also runs an e-commerce and booking platform for beauty treatments including anti-aging facials, stem cell programs, lip enhancement and many more. Since its foundation, Eunogo has raised two rounds of funding, first, from Singapore, and more recently, from South Korea’s Carelabs. The company is operating in three countries: South Korea, Singapore and Indonesia and its customers are coming from all over the world including North America, Europe and Asia.
Vulcan Post spoke with Joy to learn more about trends in beauty enhancement and her entrepreneurial journey to run a beauty company.
Vulcan: Could you share more about your clientele? What are the demographics and what are they getting done?
Joy: We have about 85% female customers and 15% male. Since our company is physically based in Singapore, Indonesia and Korea, we attract a large number of clients from Indonesia, Singapore and expat community in Korea. We also have quite a significant portion of clients from the US, Canada and UK. I would say our typical clientele is very internationally savvy, obviously very much into beauty and healthcare and willing to invest in themselves.
For non-surgical procedures, lifting laser treatments, v-line programs, and skin boosters are quite popular. There is a constant change of new technology and machines for skin treatments in Korea, so what’s popular for non-surgical treatment changes quite quickly! We at Eunogo enjoy the dynamic nature of this business in terms of the effective results we can get for our clients.
Vulcan: Some may view that going under plastic surgery is a reflection of lack of self-confidence. What are your thoughts?
Joy: I see getting cosmetic procedures as a way of self-improvement. I would say our customers are generally confident but want to improve certain parts of their face or body. I think that self-confidence is like a muscle: you can keep building it to make yourself more satisfied and happier. I’ve seen many women, including myself and our customers, gain more confidence after addressing certain complexes through procedures.
Vulcan: How did you start Eunogo?
Joy: We founded Eunogo in 2015 as a concierge service that connects Korean plastic surgeons in Korea with international patients. The Korean plastic surgery market alone is more than 10 billion dollars and inbound medical tourism has been doubling every year since 2010. When I saw the opportunity, we started Eunogo as a concierge service for foreigners to help them vet the clinics, offer much-needed translation and give them support they need while going through surgery in Korea.
Then, we opened up to more non-invasive procedures as well as wellness experiences for people who are not yet ready or don’t want plastic surgery but still dont mind trying non-surgical beauty procedures. I think many women have an internal desire to finetune their look or keep being youthful. And Korea is an amazing place to try the trendiest new beauty programs at a reasonably good price.
Now we are opening up Thailand and Singapore which are also huge travel destinations with impressive aesthetic and wellness facilities.
Vulcan: What is your favorite K-beauty treatment?
Joy: There are so many! I would say my favorite procedure that I occasionally receive when I go to Korea is v-line botox and injection as well as skin booster like Chanel Injection and Skin Botox. I love to get non-invasive slimming and cellulite treatment like PunchWave. I always love to try a new treatment but these are the classic treatments I get every 6 months or so. Most of these treatments are only available in Korea and Korean dermatologists themselves often get these treatments as well.
What is your typical day like as a CEO of a beauty company?
I think my job scope changes every one or two months. In the beginning, I spent most of my time talking to customers because I was the only salesperson in the company. When we closed our latest funding earlier this year, I spent most of my time recruiting, setting up the right team and training them. But overall, I think my main role in the company is a brand evangelist, so I set the vision, directions, tone and manners of the Eunogo brand. I make sure we always stay trusted, updated and growing.
What is your vision?
I envision Eunogo as the first name that people think of when they want to experience beauty and wellness procedures in Asia. Let’s say I want to book a plastic surgery or anti-aging procedure in Korea, then I go to Eunogo.com and I can find these amazing programs and clinics and book easily within the Eunogo platform. Or I’m travelling to Thailand and I want to book a spa experience, and I can discover and browse all the beauty and wellness related experiences in Thailand, and I can also easily book. I want Eunogo to be the single platform where people can find some trusted picks about beauty and wellness experiences in Asia.