Rachel Lim, Co-founder & Chief Brand Officer of Love, Bonito
(Photo credits: Vulcan Post)
In today’s age, many businesses are going from brick-and-mortar to online stores but this is not the case for Love, Bonito as they move from online to offline and opened their first flagship store at 313 Somerset in November 2017. This shift was not easy and there was even a point where she questioned her commitment to the brand. After braving the storms and tough times, she and her team managed to lead the brand into international grounds and she was even featured in the Forbes ‘30 under 30 Asia’ list in 2016.
How it started
Started in 2006, Rachel Lim and her childhood friends – Viola and Velda Tan started a blogshop using Livejournal called BonitoChico to sell female apparels from South Korea and Thailand. Being one of the early entrants to the blogshop world in Singapore, their site quickly gained popularity with young female shoppers and easily garnered 50,000 customers within 3 years. The three girls then left school and rebranded Love, Bonito in 2010 as an upscale online retailer with original in-house designs. (Source: Forbes)
Being in the cut-throat fashion industry means she had to deal with an immense amount of pressure to keep up with the new trends and fast fashion. In an interview with Business Insider, she recalled a point in time when she felt jaded by the madness of the industry and started wondering why didn’t she just get another job with stable working hours and salary like many other young workers. The turning point for her was in 2014, when she met a young woman that wanted to share her experience as a customer of Love, Bonito. This young woman had gone through several brain surgeries and had been in and out of a coma despite only being 24 years old. This resulted in her losing her confidence, her hair and weight. Even though she had to face a steep recovery process, the young woman told her that she chose to deal with each day by dressing in Love, Bonito clothing because it helped to give her the courage to look in the mirror again. This hit her hard and made her realize why she does what she does. She mentioned that it is for a bigger purpose than is beyond herself, and it is why they put in so much effort in perfecting the fit and not scrimping on quality and details just to increase profit margins. This discovery completely changed the way she saw her business, so much so that the encounter remains one of her proudest moments till today. (Source: Business Insider)
Love, Bonito Today
According to their website, Love, Bonito is now the largest homegrown fashion brand with their tagline as “made for real women by real women”. They have also gone international across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia while also shipping internationally from their HQ in Singapore. Rachel has also mentioned in an interview with Prestige that she has further plans to expand to Philippines and Australia because of the huge percentage of Asians there.
For the Community
In line with Love, Bonito’s mission to “empower women’s confidence by educating them to dress well and right”, she is able to further touch and impact the community of women she and the brand have created. Rachel Lim envisions for the physical store to go beyond fashion and use it to hold workshops, panel discussions and meaningful events that bring women together, as well as benefit and empower them. Also, the brand promotes an inclusive fashion while helping women build their confidence by dressing well. They do so by having a wide range of sizes for their clothes – from XXS-XXL and expand their designs to fit different body types and personal styles. (Source: Singapore Tatler)
If you’re interested to hear more stories from fellow entrepreneurs and know more about business strategies and issues that many SMEs face, follow the H.E.R Entrepreneur Facebook page. We post weekly articles on a variety of business related topics, and it’s all completely free.
If there’s a particular topic that you’d like us to talk about, please feel free to leave a comment!