Men LOVES Cosmetics, too! Interview with CEO Kim Han kyu of Papa Recipe

5A man whose life greatly depends on cosmetics,

Kim Han Kyun – CEO of Papa Recipe

Kim Han Kyun talks nothing but cosmetics.

My first part time job was working at a cosmetic store selling beauty products. In college, I majored in chemistry and I also earned certification in makeup, hair, and nails. While I was working as a beauty blogger, I got hired at a cosmetic industry and learned about product planning and marketing strategies. This enabled me to attain a real time experience with ten years passing. Now I am in charge of my own cosmetic industry, and I have also written a book called ‘Whan So Kyun’s Grooming Book’. It’s also referred as Whan So Kyun.

Please tell us more about Papa Recipe.

It’s a natural organic brand called Papa Recipe that focuses on women in their 20s, makeup i.nga, rose brightening for pregnant women, and cross skin for men.

That name ‘Papa Recipe’ is really great.

Papa Recipe has done a lot of good things for us. My daughter struggled with her skin ever since she was little, and it was really difficult for us to help her with that. So that’s when I figured something must be done. I tried gathering all organic ingredients to create something that would help relieve her skin, but nothing seemed to work until coming across this specific organic oil that started the whole papa recipe that we use today. Nothing was planned from the beginning, but this name ‘Papa Recipe’ helped my daughter overcome her skin problems, and everything has worked out successfully since then.

I’m so surprised by the wide range of choices we have here.

Product quality became famous through word-of-mouth. From launching papa recipe, we’ve been selling goods online since then. Our success comes from not wanting more than what we already have, and fixing our production number to the orders we have. It’s also important that we are only selling through our online store.


Bombee Honey Pudding Cream. 135ml, 56,000 KRW.
Image5i.nga’s Aurora Brilliant Cream. 50ml, 28,000KRW.


Bombee Honey Mask. 1x 2,400KRW.

How come you only focus on internet marketing and selling through your online store?

I’m afraid since we started out as an online store, it’s important for us to maintain this same feature. That’s the whole point of having an online store: making everything easy to buy online. Our goal is to produce the right content for skincare, and spread it through the word-of-mouth so that we can have a large number of consumers buying from Papa Recipe.

How did Papa Recipe become popular in China?

We haven’t thought about expanding our market to China, but apparently Papa Recipe’s current sales rate in China are 8x higher than what’s being sold in Korea. ‘Bom Bee Mask’ started our brand’s advancement there. I met a lot of people while attending school in China for MBA, and I was able to start my first round of creating masks there. I was confident in the masks’ product quality, but I have to admit, it was a big challenge to get through the China’s distribution channel. I visited almost every distribution corporations in China on a weekly basis, sometimes leading to months, and this eventually enabled Papa Recipe to become successful.

Isn’t it hard to maintain this cosmetics industry going as a male CEO?

There were people who looked at me differently, because unlike normal men, I had passion for makeup and skincare. Even my parents had a hard time accepting it at first. But come to think of it, if I didn’t like cosmetics this much, I wouldn’t have lasted this long in the industry. And thanks to my supportive wife and children, I was able to continue to work with passion.
1604mcmabemd08 18Young modern interior at the office of Kostory

As a lover for cosmetics, what is your favorite item?

I really like Make Up For Ever’s collection for makeup. Especially the 9 different color concealers, HD powder, compact, and brush. They work well with my skin. And for skincare, I like using Clinique’s 3 step clarifying lotion and Peter Thomas Rose Blue Marine Algae Mask.

What does the idea of cosmetics mean to you?

I have nothing else but to talk about makeup and skincare, because everything revolves around those two in my life. Moreover, Papa Recipe is me, myself. That’s why I don’t partner up with other companies, because I feel like that would ruin the whole meaning behind the original papa and recipe that I once created.

This article is translated by K-Beauty Now and originally published from Marie Claire Korea:

Editor  Ahn So Young
Photographer   Kim Myung Sung, Lee Gun Ho