Cosmetics

Entrepreneur brings Asian cosmetics to Halifax

Moon Moon Cosmetics opens in Bishop's Landing

Mengzi Bian owner of Moon Moon Cosmetics
Mengyi Bian is owner of Moon Moon Cosmetics in Bishop’s Landing.   Kaitlynn Burns

Bian opened Moon Moon Cosmetics at Bishop’s Landing in October. She says it’s the first cosmetics store to sell exclusively Korean and Japanese products in Halifax.

Bian, originally from Nanjing, China, arrived in Halifax in 2012 to earn a business degree at Dalhousie University. As a student she travelled to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and noticed they all had stores that sold Asian beauty products.

While still a student, Bian began selling cosmetics to her friends and other international students using the messaging platform WeChat. It was a good starting point, but she wanted to do more.

“People weren’t able to test products like they can in a store and people really want to be able to test cosmetics before they buy them. That’s why I opened my store,” she says.

Bian also wanted to reach new customers outside of her group of friends.

“I could see that there is an increasing amount of international students here, as well as young professionals, that wanted Asian beauty products, but they are difficult to get in Halifax,” she says.

Bian says her most popular items are sheet masks. They’re like a facial in a package, she says, because they contain vitamins to help perfect your skin.

Online competition

Bian still sees many WeChat groups that continue to do business only online.

Jessica Pang, a student at Saint Mary’s University, runs her business using WeChat. She says she can cut her prices because she doesn’t have costs associated with running a store.

Pang orders products from Korea and has them shipped to her apartment in Halifax to save on fees. She has a chat group on WeChat which has more than 200 members.

Jessica Pang sells cosmetics online using WeChat
Jessica Pang sells cosmetics online using WeChat.   Sixian Zuo

So far, all of Pang’s customers are Chinese.

“If people in Halifax didn’t hear about these Korean cosmetics or never used them before, they won’t be willing to buy them,” she says.

Bian says it’s too early to tell how her new business is doing.

“I have a lot of curious people that come in and I spend a lot of time explaining what things are,” she says.