The Yves Saint Laurent cosmetics store in the Gangnam branch of Shinsegae Department Store was baffled recently when it ran out of a line of lipstick costing a cool W40,000 (US$1=W1,078).
The store brought in another 1,400 sticks of No. 52 just before the Lunar New Year holidays last week, but even those supplies were snapped up by customers who had ordered in advance.
Altogether the one store sold 2,577 No. 52 lipsticks, generating W100.3 million in sales. A Shinsegae spokesman called the earnings "unprecedented."
The reason apparently was Jeon Ji-hyun, who wears the lipstick in the TV soap "My Love from the Star."
Department stores across the country have run out of the product, and inventory at Yves Saint Laurent headquarters in France have also apparently run dry due to surging orders from Korea.
The craze goes beyond lipstick. Fashion brand ShesMiss is also seeing sales surge because Jeon wore a winter coat from the brand in a recent episode.
Lee Ha-young at ShesMiss said, "After the program aired, all 2,500 of the coats that were in stock at our stores nationwide sold out in just 10 days."
At the main Lotte Department Store branch in downtown Seoul, 140 of the brand's women's trench coats sold out in just three days, compared to just two or three sold per day. Last month, ShesMiss signed a contract with Jeon to make her the poster girl for its products, the first time the company has hired a Korean celebrity.
Meanwhile, apparel maker Handsome saw a similar phenomenon after Jeon appeared in a show wearing one of its products. Sales of the outfit quadrupled.
Park Soon-min at Shinsegae Department Store said, "People have always tried to emulate celebrities, but the surge in sales caused by Jeon Ji-hyun is unprecedented." Park added that customers are willing to buy products that look similar to the ones she has been seen wearing on air.