Co-founder of Love, Bonito
The plan to continuously learn and unlearn never ends. I continue to adapt to the role of being a mum while juggling work, family and self, as well as focusing my time and energy on what’s important and building mental resilience.
Tell us your story, how did you get here?
Love, Bonito started out with my co-founders and me selling our pre-loved clothing as BonitoChico for extra pocket money. Back then, e-commerce and online shopping were in their nascent stage, and customers would use bank transfers for payment. Over time, as the demand increased, we imported clothes from overseas to sell.
I realised that for every piece of clothing we imported, there was always something I wanted to change about it – the way it fits, the design details and the colours. Clothing from international brands doesn’t fit Asian women well because our bodies are framed differently. The colours don’t flatter our skin tones and the material doesn’t suit our local climate and preferences. That’s when we decided to design our own clothing to fill that gap, to produce thoughtful designs that empower everyday Asian women to look and feel good.
We’ve evolved tremendously since the early days, expanding our categories and product lines, catering to women in various seasons of their lives, and more importantly, being more convicted than ever of our mission and purpose. Today, the team has grown to over 300 people, and we’ve expanded into 10 key markets within Southeast Asia, East Asia, Australia and the United States. Overall, it’s been an amazing journey so far, yet we’ve barely begun.
What impact have you made in Singapore?
We were one of the pioneers in Singapore’s fashion e-commerce scene. When we first started, social media and digital payments were relatively new, and we self-packed the parcels out of our own living rooms. A lot has changed, and now blogshops and online shopping are commonplace.
We also empower many Singaporean and Asian women by creating apparel that fits the Asian physique, helping them to find well-fitted clothes they can wear on repeat. We have different product lines – workwear, maternity, bridesmaid, children – for women in different stages of their lives, allowing us to journey with our community every step of the way.
Having expanded internationally in the last few years, we’re proud to be one of the companies representing Singapore on the global stage, with 19 retail stores across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia, and 20 countries that we ship to worldwide.
What does 2022 look like for you?
For Love, Bonito, we’re doubling down efforts in omnichannel markets and expanding into key international markets such as Hong Kong, Japan, the Phillippines and the United States. These markets have collectively shown triple-digit growth over the past year, and we see a lot of potential in them. We’re also expanding both in and beyond fashion, looking at categories such as activewear, accessories and wellness as well as a content platform.
For me, the plan to continuously learn and unlearn never ends. I’ll continue adapting to the role of being a mum while juggling work, family and self, as well as focusing my time and energy on what’s important and building mental resilience. I’ll also continue to share this journey with the community of women around me through my platform so we can all grow through life together.
What do you love most about Singapore?
What I love most about Singapore is the diversity of people we have in this little red dot. I’ve been so fortunate to meet so many people from different cultures, nationalities and backgrounds who have shown me different perspectives and inspired me along the way. This allowed me to surround myself with a team of smarter, better people in different disciplines whose drive and commitment to building Love, Bonito keeps me going every day.
I also love how safe, efficient and clean Singapore is!
What’s the one thing you’d wear for the rest of your life?
If I had to pick, it’d be Love, Bonito’s Alia Round Neck Tank Top and Aurelie High-rise Straight Crop Jeans. I’ve been able to dress them up or down to create countless outfit combinations, making them versatile wardrobe staples through different seasons of life.
Who is your Local Legend, and why?
My mum is my local legend. She played a huge role in influencing the way I enjoy dressing up, and her sense of style definitely has a part to play in my foray into fashion.
More than that, she’s my support pillar and role model. I’ve seen her through family difficulties we faced, but she never lost her deep sense of joy and hope. She truly led by example in showing me that despite what the world throws at you, it’s what is within us that no one can take away. That really inspires me and guides me to this day.