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Pioneering a New Horizon of Beauty

Volume 1 Value Creation Edition:
Starting with Where We Came From and Where We’re Going

April 16, 2024

Kaori Nagata Fumi Kasai

On February 1, 2024, Shiseido launched SHISEIDO BEAUTY WELLNESS, a new inner beauty brand that expands the realm of beauty and offers value that aligns with the changing times and the consciousness of consumers. While a notable aspect of this brand is its value development done through collaboration not only within the company but also with partners such as Kagome and Tsumura, to create new values, there were also various challenges that were overcome by not being bound by precedence.

The first installment of a three-part series focused on the journey of value development that began even before the brand's launch. We spoke with Fumi Kasai, Group Manager of Shiseido’s Inner Beauty Business Department, and Kaori Nagata, Creative Director at Shiseido Creative Co., Ltd., who have been exploring value development.

SHISEIDO BEAUTY WELLNESS is a brand that views health and beauty not only in terms of appearance or the ‘skin,’ but also as a state in which the skin, body, and mind are in harmony. As such, it aims to help realize a healthy beauty that is unique to every individual through everyday living. In February 2024, the following three product brands were launched.

  • TUNE BEAUTE, co-developed with Tsumura & Co.
  • ROOTINA, co-developed with Kagome Co., Ltd.
  • The renewed, The Collagen

In search of Shiseido's new vein of resources

―SHISEIDO BEAUTY WELLNESS (SBW) was launched on February 1, 2024. When and how did you two get involved?

Kasai: I joined around September 2019. There was a project called "INSPIRE 2026," and it was a medium to long-term project that was to explore what comes after skin beauty and to find a new winning strategy for Shiseido. At that time, we were still in the stage of open discussions; we weren’t deciding on what kind of brand it would become. Currently, I am looking at the medium to long-term strategy and the finance for the SBW team.

Fumi Kasai, Inner Beauty Business Department

Kaori Nagata, Shiseido Creative Corporation

Nagata: I was approached in June 2021. I was involved from a very conceptual level to consider what kind of brand suitable for Shiseido from a creative perspective. Since then, working with the team, I have been in charge of the overall brand, including the mark and logo, and the practical work of package design.

―You both joined at a very early stage. Who else was involved?

Kasai: The team was very diverse, and it included creatives, researchers from the MIRAI Technology Institute, members who had been involved in the food business for a long time, and people who had just transferred to Shiseido. It was a team organized by Umetsu-san, the project leader (currently CEO of Shiseido China Region), to challenge new value development methods. Looking back, we didn't have a common language at first (laughs).
Nagata: (Laughs). We often talked about the left brain and the right brain. I think I was expected to bring that sense of intuition, something you can’t get from data. In my usual brand work, when a project comes to the creative team, the goals are often clear. For example, creating a drink, making a tablet, etc. My job is to contribute to something concrete like this with the power of design.
In this project, I participated in a stage before that, and my job was, while continuing the discussions, to create a common language so that we could see the new horizon of beauty that Shiseido was aiming for.

Finding a new center with centrifugal and centripetal forces and not heading straight for the goal

―Did you use your brain in a different way than when the goal was clear?

Nagata: In one of the discussions, someone mentioned the word "self-ownership." It was a word that expressed the sense that each person recognized that their body was their own, or rather, that they continued to claim their body themselves. It really resonated with everyone, some saying, "Ah, I get that, that's it." It was a moment when the brand's core connection of "skin, body, heart" that everyone felt became clear. We refined this concept little by little by continuing to exchange words .
It might have been good that not everyone was a "lover of beauty." People with a varying sense of devotion to beauty gathered, including our partners, and we expanded and consolidated the conversation, using centrifugal and centripetal forces as energy to find a new center, the heart of this era. I think this workshop format was greatly significant.

―What a lavish way to do it.

Kasai: I think it was good that it wasn't a team gathered to achieve a visible goal. It's about moving forward while questioning ourselves. We had to realize something, but the goal wasn’t set. The way we spent time might have been lavish, but in a way, it was a tough approach for the members.

―When did the idea of collaboration come up?

Kasai: I had imagined it from the beginning. In this project, we first thought about how we wanted Shiseido to be in the future. Then we thought about the gap between that and the present, and how to fill it. It was at that time that I thought collaboration was a must if were to realize a beauty for the future that Shiseido alone would not be able to realize.

After the logo was created, the brand became visible

―It's clear that the project itself was propelled through a chain of centrifugal and centripetal forces and not in a one-way direction. Where was the breakthrough point?

Nagata: Perhaps it was when the logo was created. We thought about what it would feel like if the logo visualized our vision of knowing one's body well, influencing it, and thereby realizing a beautiful and healthy life. The design team made several proposals, but at one point, during a meeting where we showed the prototype of the current logo, there was a sense that the energy around the team gently came together. There was no need for explanation; there was an intuitive sense of "this is good." It was a wonder. The fact that what we had been thinking about was understood intuitively, and realizing that this is what we represented, was probably the first major thing.

―The joy of advancing a project with a diverse group of people is evident. Could you tell us a bit more about the background of how this logo's shape came to be?

Nagata: Skin, body, and heart were the keywords, so initially, we were focused on the inside, the inside of the body. But then we received input that it wasn’t just about that, but that the connection between the three that was the essence of the brand. So, from there, we came up with the design concept of circulation and flow. It's the same sentiment as the brand copy, "Beauty is alive." When we were creating the animation for the logo, I realized, oh, it's like a heart, it's breathing, it's alive. The image of the heart being filled, of being alive. Then I heard that Aimyon created a song called "Rhythm 64" for SBW. When I heard that 64 was the rhythm of her heartbeat, I thought, wow! It's connected! And I was moved.


―The narrative is being generated automatically.

Nagata: Even though we didn't intentionally create it that way, once it was completed, we realized that it was indeed a heart. It became the centripetal force within everyone, and the story started to connect. This is a common occurrence in creative work, or rather, when you are seriously creating value for a brand, a story automatically forms, and you can feel the magnetic force.

Fostering Mutual Respect in Collaborative Relationships

―What did you pay attention to when creating products with Kagome and Tsumura?

Nagata: First, I studied the history of both Kagome and Tsumura. Like Shiseido, there is always a founder. Understanding who started the company and why, I think, was another breakthrough.
When I learned that the company name "Kagome" referred to the "eye of a basket," and that it symbolized the care and thought put into harvesting vegetables and placing them into a basket, which then became their trademark, I was deeply moved. With Tsumura, of course, the strong association is with Chinese herbal medicine. However, it all started with the power of plants. I discovered that each company had its own origin and its own science. That was fascinating. I felt a connection with each founder's intention to improve Japan through their entrepreneurship. It felt like it was the same as Shiseido at the roots.

―So you choose collaborative partners that shared the same fundamental goal of improving Japan?

Kasai: In the process of talking with Tsumura, I found out that their year of establishment was close to ours and that their company also started as a pharmacy. I felt a mysterious connection.
Nagata: I thought about the challenges we would not be able to take on alone at Shiseido without partnering with our respected collaborators. At the same time, I thought about the concerns of everyone about having the “likeness of Shiseido” to remain when partnering with us, so I pushed the artistic or rather sensibility aspects to the fore in addition to being sincere in substance.
Kasai: When we showed the design to our collaborators, the first thing both companies said was "We can't do this" and "We wouldn't be able to do this." I still think that our ability to show Shiseido’s spirit as a design was a value that they appreciated.

Aiming for a BETTER WORLD with a brand bearing Shiseido’s name

―The brand has just launched in Japan, but there are already plans for the next phase, aren't there?

Kasai: We are planning to expand into China after 2025. We are currently considering how to communicate and deliver value to customers in China.

―What kind of "BETTER WORLD" is this brand aiming for?

Kasai: What I can say clearly is that this brand is not just a brand for Shiseido to enter the health field. It’s a brand that embodies a new way of beauty that Shiseido advocates.
Shiseido is a beauty company, but today, value encompasses both beauty and wellness. We aim to become a brand that customers can incorporate into their daily lives and feel like this is it and it is what they want from now on.

Nagata: I think Shiseido has historically been a company that strived to disseminate new cultures. I think it's a company with a strong desire to improve society. Culture is like a large current, changing from the individual to society, becoming the culture of the time, and making the world a better place. I believe we are working towards such a goal through this brand.
Kasai: There's one more thing I'd like to share. I believe that a BETTER WORLD is one where more people can love themselves right to the end of their life. Of course, I want that for myself too, and with that in mind, I want to continue working with various colleagues to contribute to a better world.