If you’re a regular Cityline viewer or follower my twitter contests and stories, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of the Shiseido brand. Not as well-known as say Clinique or Estee Lauder in North America or Europe, Shiseido is in fact, the fourth largest cosmetics company in the world. It is renowned for its quality and science throughout Asia boasting dozens of research and development centers and labs. Many top hotel chains in Asia proudly offer Shiseido toiletries in their deluxe rooms as a sign of ultimate quality and respect for their guests.
The reason Shiseido flies under the beauty radar is due to its rich Japanese history. It is considered in bad taste to be boastful or talk about oneself too much in Japan. So Shiseido tends to whisper in its ads and politely smile when you walk past its department store counters. Sadly, many of its advances and skincare advances get lost in the competitive beauty marketing environment in the Western World. Other brands are much more aggressive in their advertising.
Shiseido began in 1872 as a Western-style pharmacy in the heart of Tokyo. It quickly became known for its cosmetic technology and commitment to high-quality ingredients. Trained beauty professionals would take the time to counsel customers not only on the best products for their skin, but the techniques to get the best results from the formulas.
Here’s a little insider timeline to showcase some of Shiseido’s rich history and cosmetic breakthroughs.
1872: Arinobu Fukuhara establishes Japan’s first Western-style pharmacy in Ginza, Tokyo
1888: Shiseido introduces Fukuhara Sanitary Toothpaste
1897: Enters the cosmetic arena with Eudermine, a softening lotion that delivers immediate moisture and improves your skin’s own moisturizing power. It remains a best-seller today.
1915: Sets “Hanatsubaki” (Camellia) as the company trademark
1916: Opens a cosmetics shop at 11 Takekawa-cho (now Ginza 7-chrome). Unveils a design department and testing room.
1917: Introduces Seven Colours Face Powder
1918: Launches a cold cream product.
1923: Begins building a network of chain stores for Shiseido cosmetics.
1927: Changes limited partnership to joint-stock company Shiseido Co., Ltd; Shinzo Fukuhara becomes becomes the first president
1931: Exports Rose Cosmetics to Southeast Asian countries; starts a full-fledged international business
1932: Releases De Luxe
1934: Miss Shiseido promotional campaign begins
1937: Inaugurates the Camellia Club and commemorative gift program (runs through 2003)
1937: Develops new Shiseido-style facial treatment and specialty products
1939: The Shiseido research and development lab is completed in Japan
1949: The company is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange
1953: Establishes Shiseido Institute of Beauty Sciences
1956: Opens Shiseido Beauty Salon in Shibuya, Tokyo
1961: Conducts first ever makeup campaign “Candy Tone”
1962: Establishes Shiseido of Hawaii, the company’s first overseas investment
1963: Begins selling its products in Italy, its first export to Europe
1965: Shiseido Cosmetics America Ltd is established.
1966: Conducts “Beloved by the Sun” campaign and the first overseas shoot in Hawaii
1968: Opens the Shiseido Research Labs in Yokohama (renamed Shiseido Research Center in 2000)
1975: Launches “Shiseido – The Ginza”
1984: Starts the commercial production of the exclusive ingredient “bio-hyaluronic acid”
1985: Hosts “The Art of Beauty” Exhibition in New York City chronicling 113 years of Shiseido advertising
1989: Collaborates with Harvard University to establish the world’s first dermatological research center
1995: Establishes Shiseido International
1997: Marks the 100th anniversary of Eudermine
2000: Builds a new ultra high-tech research center
2004: Sponsors “Global Beauty Consultant Competition” to identify the best beauty experts in the world
2005: Unveils new corporate message: “This moment. This life. Beautifully.”
2007: Celebrity makeup artist Dick Page signs on a Creative Director of Makeup. He’s worked with Kate Moss, Bjork, Emma Stone, Marc Jacobs and Karlie Kloss.
2006: Opens the “Life Quality Beauty Centre” Therapy Makeup Institute
2011: Opens a spectacular new flagship store “Shiseido The Ginza”
2015: Signs a multi-year partnership with the Canadian Synchronized Swimming Team
2015: Launches the first sunscreen that gets stronger when wet.