Korean-inspired fragranced start-up Elorea closed a $2 million seed round of funding led by CJ Investment, a subsidiary of South Korean conglomerate CJ group, the owner of beauty retailer Olive Young.
WHO: Korean American husband-and-wife team Wonny Lee and Su min Park launched Elorea in 2021 to highlight the importance of scent in their culture. Elorea—a portmanteau of “Elements” and “Korea”—was inspired by the couple’s mission to capture, preserve, and share the stories of their heritage.
WHY: The funding will enable Elorea to ramp up its marketing and product pipeline with plans for monthly launches.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: "We felt it was necessary to take on additional capital even at the cost of extra dilution to give the brand enough to weather any economic climate," Elorea co-founder and CEO Wonny Lee told Beauty Independent. "The truth is it was a terrible time to raise money. I think a lot of people are just very shy or timid or frightened to deploy capital."
He says, "We felt it was very important that our earliest investors were Korean to not only validate what we were doing, but we felt that, if we built a brand that was representing the culture, the cap table really had to be filled with people who truly understood what we were trying to do."
Paul Hyunkyu Kim, Senior Investment Manager at CJ Investment, says, "Elorea is the first fragrance brand based on a deep understanding of Korean culture and history, with a sophisticated modern interpretation. Early success and traction led us to invest because of its very promising growth potential. I am excited for the brand to make a significant impact in the global fragrance market, with the brand's combination of integrity in quality fragrance and excellent branding."
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