How do you celebrate a milestone anniversary in the middle of a pandemic? In the case of beauty giant Kojie.san, art would be the perfect way to mark and memorialize 15
years of hard work and tenacity, success and expansion.
The job of interpreting Kojie.san’s brand and story into art went to Jinggoy Buensuceso, a Filipino visual artist acclaimed for his dramatic and contemporary sculptures that use
difficult and unique materials. After hearing about Kojie.san’s groundbreaking 15 years, it took him less than a year to craft a (literally) larger-than-life, multi-piece sculpture that
now occupies the white walls at the main lobby in one of the manufacturing plants of BEVi Group, the company behind Kojie.san.
The main piece, Okurimono (Japanese for “gift”), is a massive assemblage of black and red metal pieces, crushed and shaped into assorted sizes and random figures. These
pieces are so grand that they look like they form a galaxy of glossy, craggy, aluminum planets. Sitting quietly on its right is the other piece, Red Moon, a simple red circle
illuminated by a soft, warm glow to emphasize its stark beauty.
For one thing, the juxtaposition of Okurimono’s frenzy and Red Moon’s calm reflects Kojie.san’s approach to the ongoing pandemic—finding strength, hope and inspiration in
one’s self, even in the face of uncertainty and chaos.
But more significantly, this sculpture is also an artistic representation of how the brand has become successful, despite challenges and competition. All the jagged edges and
sharp creases on Okurimono are, in fact, not random, but deliberate and careful acts by the artist. According to Jinggoy, every fold he made tells the story of the Kojie.san’s 15
fulfilling but tumultuous journey.
The sculpture’s folds and wrinkles are a fitting parallel because Kojie.san’s road to success was not a smooth one. In 2006, the brand made its debut in a market
overcrowded with over 40 skin lightening brands. But unlike any of them, Kojie.san was the first to commercially use kojic acid, commonly prescribed by dermatologists for
effectively lightening the skin and erasing age spots, sun damage, and scars.
Because Kojie.san was a new brand using a little-known ingredient then, it would’ve been more difficult to convince consumers that the soap indeed works. But that wasn’t
the case. Despite the competition, Kojie.san had an instant connection with its consumers.
Its steadfastness to own their offering gave Kojie.san an advantage, and their distinction attracted hordes of fans. It would have been easy to follow the same steps taken by all the soaps that came before, but Kojie.san believed they could achieve greater success if they defined it for themselves rather than use competition as a yardstick.
It wasn’t long before word-of-mouth and testimonials on Kojie.san spread, and the soap became a cult favorite. The brand now became a household name with its products lining
up the shelves of retailers—all because they looked beyond the status quo, and believed in what they have.
Perhaps this is the significance of the Red Moon as the counterpoint to the other elements of the sculpture. Opposite the chaotic collection of Okurimono, the singular piece sits
alone and unadorned—not in sad solitude, but in power. This shows how Kojie.san draws strength, boldness, and dominance in their decision to be different and unlike anyone
else. This is the same commanding spirit that it hopes consumers espouse from the brand (and yes, the sculpture). Challenges and difficulties may always be part of your story, but
as long as you know and choose who you are, you can thrive and succeed.
And true enough, Kojie.san has thrived. Over the years the brand has developed more products in more categories, opened more manufacturing plants, embraced more
consumers. A beautiful story has emerged from 15 years of trials and troubles, one that is now perfectly and meaningfully encapsulated in this Jinggoy Buensuceso masterpiece.
Kojie.san’s story is far from over though. As long as the brand continues to work toward creating quality products for Filipinos and around the world, we can expect that it will
keep redefining that journey towards beauty and success.