Lip service

The perfect portable palette for every affair.

Etude House

  • Client
    Etude House
  • Industry
  • Services
    Customer Research, Industrial Design, Product Innovation

The South Korean beauty industry has become a global powerhouse: Its $7.2 billion dollar market ranks 8th in the world in terms of sales, with $2.3 billion of that coming from the color cosmetics category alone in 2017.

Etude House, a heavyweight in the world of K-beauty, approached Smart Design with the goal designing and launching an innovative new lip product for their fans around the globe. Together, the teams dove deep into the world of cosmetic fashion, where they explored beauty trends, talked with makeup artists and K-beauty fans to understand their processes and pain points, and examined the ergonomics of applying cosmetics to and around the lips. From this, the team flushed out more than thirty concepts, each inspired by the need for meaningful innovation and enhanced usefulness in lip products. The finalists were brought to life through full-scale rapid prototyping, and the winning concept was delivered to the client, ready for production.

Just over a year later, the end result is gracing shelves across the world: Etude House’s Mini Two Match Lipstick line hit the market garnering astounding praise. Featuring Smart’s unique mix-and-match applicator design and a lineup of over 30 swappable and replaceable lip colors and textures, Mini Two Match gives beauty fanatics the power to effortlessly and affordably individualize their style, no matter the occasion.

Keeping up with the Koreans.

When diving into the passionately individualistic world of k-beauty, we quickly came to the conclusion that not only is global competition fierce, but trends can change at the drop of a hat. Customers needed a product that allowed them to express their mood and match their style for an array of daily activities, and one diverse enough to ebb and flow with the ever shifting tides of fashion.

In addition to these considerations, the design also needed to reflect Etude House’s economical value; too often were consumers purchasing cosmetics that went to waste due to not being refillable or reusable, not playing well with other color palettes, or were simply cast aside thanks to outdated trends.

Compact customization for every occasion.

Over 30 different concepts were dreamt up, exploring different ergonomic shapes, packaging sizes, and product variations. The winning design featured a durable core which pairs with two interchangeable mini-lipsticks or mini-balms at a time, creating a compact, customizable, on-the-go product.

The miniature size of the lipsticks and balms allow for low cost, low commitment trials of new colors and product combinations as the trends and seasons change. As they are used up, the lipsticks and balms can be easily and effectively replaced. The modest yet durable packaging is designed to take up minimal space, making it an ideal cosmetic companion for busy individuals.

Encouraging an ecosystem.

With over thirty unique Mini Two Match shades to choose from, it’s hard not to want them all. But coordinating and storing so many options can present a challenge. That’s where the system’s organization system truly comes to life. Designed as an exclusive, expandable ecosystem, the Mini Two Match lipsticks not currently in use reside in a holder tray, easily swapped out for new seasonal and trend-based options, truly putting fashionistas in control of their palettes.

We sought out Smart Design for their ability to not only create distinctive and category-defining products, but their track record of designing in a way that is truly inspired by people’s lifestyles, behaviors and desires. Their unique take on the challenge has delivered us Mini Two Match – a product line infused with endless potential for the Etude customer.

Rita Choi
Design Team Lead at Etude House

Beauty in the eye of the beholder.

“The Korean beauty market remains buoyant,” notes Jane Jang, Senior Beauty Analyst at Mintel, “thanks to fast-paced innovations and highly engaged consumers who don’t hesitate to adopt novel products delivering new beauty experiences.” Etude House is no exception, and the Mini Two Match lipstick personalization system is a shining example. Now available in hundreds of Etude House stores and online, the combinations for your perfect palette are truly endless.