Popular Korean skincare company Riman Inc., which recently launched operations in North America, has tapped Irvine for a key hub of its domestic growth plans.
Property records indicate that an LLC with ties to the company and its domestic executives recently closed on the purchase of 108 Pacifica, a nearly 34,000-square-foot office in the Spectrum area of Irvine.
The buyer, operating under the Rspectrum LLC name, paid $13.9 million, or roughly $415 per square foot, for the three-story building that sits next to the
Laguna (133) Freeway, records show. It’s the second-priciest office deal in the Spectrum area this year, according to data from real estate market tracker CoStar Group Inc.
The building was sold by an LLC headed by Cameron Merage, the founder of Irvine’s First Team Real Estate.
First Team, which calls itself the largest independent brokerage in California, had used the office for its headquarters but has vacated the property (see story, this page). It has other offices in the area.
The sellers were represented by John Bucher and Greg Endsley, with Newport Beach’s Madison Street Partners. The buyer was represented by Brady Kim of Redpoint Realty.
Riman calls itself “one of the top K-beauty brands in the world,” with a variety of skincare, personal care, and other health-related products.
Its flagship skincare product, Incellderm, provides “cosmeceutical products backed by scientifically substantiated evidence featuring exclusive, natural ingredients,” according to the company.
The company, founded in South Korea about five years ago, says it has topped $2 billion in cumulative sales to date. Sales in 2021 exceeded $600 million, it says.
Riman, which has 13 patents, reports having about 400,000 distributors with 30 million units sold to date.
The company operates under the direct selling method, similar to other local large cosmetics firms like Foothill Ranch’s SeneGence and Irvine’s Arbonne.
Unlike “typical direct selling companies that restrict sales to person-to-person,” Riman says it “utilizes a high margin, wholesale business model, in which individuals, known as Beauty Planners by the company, can market through traditional direct selling channels, yet also through both physical and online storefronts.”
In April, Riman said it had begun operations in North America, with operations headed by Betty Perez, a former president of North American operations for Jeunesse, another cosmetics company.
Riman currently lists its U.S. base in Los Angeles, but job postings indicate that a move to Irvine is imminent.
“Our office is currently based in LA, Koreatown. However, we will move to our new building in Irvine, CA in the next six months,” says one recent posting.
The company could not be reached for comment.
First Team Shuffle
The sale of the 108 Pacifica office marks another recent change to the operations of residential brokerage First Team Real Estate, which was founded by Cameron Merage in 1976.
The brokerage reports having 30 offices and about 2,000 real estate agents across Orange County, Los Angeles County, the Inland Empire and San Diego County.
Last month, the firm announced it had ended its affiliation with Christie’s International Real Estate. The two firms were partners for about 10 years.
“Christie’s will be a great franchise, but First Team is something different from that,” Merage said in a statement.
With the housing market in flux, First Team wants to go back to an “agent-first” model, focusing on its marketing programs as well as training its agents, the company said in a statement.
“We felt that our independence is what got us to where we are today and what will enable us to continue innovating on behalf of our agents,” said Merage, the brother of Hot Pockets inventor and University of California, Irvine benefactor Paul Merage.
“We provide them with what they need to grow their businesses, offering the opportunity to be part of a great company culture while empowering them to develop their own teams.”
First Team last month appointed Michele Harrington to the role of chief executive.
Merage, who had been CEO, will now serve as chairman.
Harrington previously served as chief operating officer, and joined the company in 2018 when her brokerage, Star Estates, merged with First Team.