If you follow #beautytok, #beautytube, or any 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 and based in Los Angeles and South Korea, Summer International announced today that it has raised a seed round of $5 million from investors including GDP Ventures, Teja Ventures, Gushcloud International and Singaporean angel investors Koh Boon Hwee and Shirley Crystal Tan.
NYX founder and Bespoke Beauty Brands CEO Tony Ko will also join Summer International as a strategic investor. NYX was acquired by L’Oreal in 2014 for around $500 million.
Summer International co-founder and CEO Xiaoski Kuik said the company’s goal is to create an ecosystem to help influencers and creators launch and sell beauty brands using consumer data and analytics. It operates in the US, South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia.
The company was launched in 2018 along with Gushcloud International, an influencer marketing firm. Since then, Summer International has incubated brands such as skincare line Baby Face with Singaporean influencer Jamie Chua, who has over 1.2 million followers, and wellness brands HANJAN, which launched in April at Coachella and recently partnered with singer Nicole Scherzinger.
Quick told TechCrunch that Summer International looks for creators and influencers who have a strong connection with their audience based on engagement rates, how active video-first platforms are, and whether they have a strong localized community and global presence.
“A lot of times creatives seek us out because of our reach and resources,” she said. “We have our own supply chain and we have the power to distribute brands in Asia through our social commerce and live distribution platforms. Our goal is to establish these top influencers as founders of the next generation of beauty, skincare and wellness brands and provide them with the access and necessary resources they need to break into the market.”
Other companies that also work with creatives to launch brands include Pietra and Forma Brands. Ko said Summer International is distinguished by having its own distribution network and also has a network of live trade and social trade distributors, mainly micro-influencers based in Southeast Asia.
“It gives us the ability to understand the data about what consumers want and would buy, and it allows us to collaborate with creatives to build brands in a more cost-effective way,” Quick said. Summer International’s live trade distributor network helps it understand what brands and products consumers from different parts of Southeast Asia want to buy. It also provides data points such as pricing and demographics for creating new brands and bringing them to market.
Summer International brands are sold through a combination of digital and offline channels, including e-commerce platforms, social and live trading platforms and large stores. They are also available on Summer.store, the company’s own social commerce network.