Clean skincare brand Boscia has been at the forefront of the nontoxic movement for nearly two decades now. Based in Irvine, California, the company manufactures cruelty-free, vegan cleansers, masks, moisturizers, serums and other products in the USA. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Boscia executive team decided to look internationally for growth. The brand had always had its eye on expanding into China, given the country’s huge population and healthy middle class, and this spring, Boscia partnered with Alibaba’s B2C cross-border platform Tmall Global to launch in the market.
“For any business, if you’re not looking at the China market, you’re missing out,” says Lan Belinky, Co-Creator and General Manager of Boscia.
The brand’s cleansers have sold particularly well in China amid growing consumer interest in clean, natural beauty and skincare products. Boscia’s hero product—the Purifying Cleansing Gel—has sold out twice in just a few months and saw sales of hundreds of units in seconds following a promotion with a popular Chinese influencer this past summer.
Boscia (the brand name is a combination of “botanical” and “science”) has deep roots in Japan, where its founder and CEO, Gen Inomata, was born and raised. Belinky, who is Inomata’s daughter, was also born in Japan and remembers watching with fascination as a child as her grandmother and aunt performed their multistep beauty routines each night.
When the family moved to the US and launched the brand, Belinky was in her teens and she has been contributing to the Boscia business ever since. She officially joined the company after college and worked her way up from receptionist to her current role as General Manager.
Now, the Boscia team is preparing to launch a Tmall Global flagship store in October and participate in their first 11.11 Global Shopping Festival in November. “We knew we did not want to miss 11.11,” says Belinky. “We’re excited to see the potential and gain learnings from the event.”
The brand is tapping the Tmall Global team’s deep knowledge of the China market as it decides which products it will promote during 11.11. Boscia’s marketing strategy centers on emphasizing three brand pillars: that it caters to people with sensitive skin; that its unisex product range has always been clean, safe and nontoxic (the brand has a list of more than 1,600 problematic ingredients that it eschews); and that it prints a guaranteed freshness date on each package. Belinky notes that Boscia products won’t expire, but that they are best when used by the date on the package, typically about three years after manufacture. The dates are just another way the brand delivers transparency to build consumer trust.
“We have been so guided by the Tmall Global team throughout the process and were so impressed by how quickly we were able to set up our business in China and generate sales,” says Belinky. “We were not fully aware before of the power of this platform before, but we are now.”