Korean sheet masks are more popular than ever, but there's still a language barrier on product packaging and websites that leaves non-Korean speakers lost in translation. That's where Newport Beach-based Gumii (www.gumii.shop) comes in. Since January 2017, this e-commerce site has offered not only Korean sheet masks and skincare products for English-speaking consumers, but also helpful video tutorials, step-by-step instructions, ingredient descriptions and customer reviews.
Founder Lisa Duran started Gumii (pronounced goo-me, it means "little sister") when she began using Korean sheet masks herself; she considers them to be the most effective and affordable of any sheet mask on the market. "Korean women have always been into skincare, and some of the leading skincare products that are out there are all based from Korean products," she says.
Duran's adviser for Gumii, Bo Lee, agrees, using as evidence her grandmother and other Korean women she knows. "They're really regimented in their routine," Lee says, "and nine times out of 10, sheet masks are used."
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Gumii's small team consists of Duran's co-workers from her day job at ANDesign who supported her vision. Duran picks products herself from research, and if the Gumii team loves it after a trial use, it gets listed on the site. You can find sheet masks that cleanse, moisturize, target wrinkles, hydrate or balance oily skin. Products are phased out in order to keep inventory fresh, although if there's enough demand for a certain item, it will be brought back. Gumii also encourages honest (a.k.a. negative) reviews from customers to better serve everyone's experience.
According to Duran, Gumii's target consumer is the person just starting to get into sheet masking "and would appreciate the fact that I'm giving a description of exactly what it is. I'm posting all the ingredients out there, [and] I'm telling you what it can do for you," as all that information isn't readily available on product websites.
Though it's been less than a year since its launch, Gumii is already a hit and a sign of how much more mainstream Korean sheet masks are becoming. "As consumers, we're being more conscious of what we want to buy," Lee says. "[Sheet masking] is so easy, but they never really knew until sites like Gumii came out."