South Korea's growing influence on popular culture, from beauty products to viral musical hits like "Gangnam Style," has put the country on the world map.
Now Althea, a Seoul-based start-up, is trying to cash in on the trend by making inroads into southeast Asia's growing e-commerce market.
Demand for South Korea-made cosmetics has seen a substantial growth in recent years due to the global appeal of its pop stars and actors, attractive pricing as well as the frequent launching of new products to keep up with consumer demands.
The country's beauty exports globally in 2015 stood at $2.5 billion based on data from Korea Customs service, having seen an average of 37 percent annual growth since 2011, Sunny Um, an analyst at Euromonitor, told CNBC by phone.
One of Althea's co-founders and CFO, Jae Kim, told CNBC the decision to move into the region was a "no-brainer" because of a pent-up demand for Korean beauty products that was being unmet by other companies.
The startup sells more than 100 local brands on their site, from internationally recognizable names like Laneige to quirky ones such as Witch's Pouch and W.Lab.
"To give you a perspective, there are about 8,000 Korean cosmetic brands in (South) Korea alone," according to Kim.
Southeast Asia represents an important market for e-commerce players given a large base of young consumers and growing internet penetration. A study from Google and the Singapore government's investment arm, Temasek Holdings, predicted in May that Southeast Asia's digital economy was set to grow to $200 billion by 2025, driven by a rise in e-commerce.