The 2017 Life Power List

For the love of fashion

Ms Viola Tan (left), 33, and Ms Rachel Lim, 30, co-founders of Love, Bonito
Ms Viola Tan (left), 33, and Ms Rachel Lim, 30, co-founders of Love, BonitoPHOTOS: BUSINESS TIMES FILE, COURTESY OF JOYCE FANG

6 Ms Viola Tan (right), 33, and Ms Rachel Lim (far right), 30, co-founders of Love, Bonito

In a sluggish retail market, local e-commerce womenswear label Love, Bonito defied expectations by opening its first permanent brick-and-mortar store here in October.

The two co-founders - Ms Tan and Ms Lim - had always dreamt of setting up a physical shop since they started their blogshop 11 years ago.

The third co-founder, Ms Velda Tan, is no longer involved in the daily operations of the business.

What started as a blogshop called BonitoChico, when Ms Viola Tan was a teacher and Ms Lim a student, has today morphed into a multi-million-dollar business, now complete with a 4,603 sq ft physical store at 313@Somerset mall.

For the duo, the opening of the store was undeniably one of their biggest achievements yet, coming on the back of six years of opening pop-up stores locally and regionally to test the market.

This is their first time on the Life Power List and the brand has undoubtedly carved a niche for itself in a market saturated by international fast-fashion giants such as Zara and Uniqlo.

They hope to eventually venture into other product lines.

Though they did not disclose what these are, they say the goal is to "help the brand grow with each customer through different periods of her life".

Ms Lim says of 2017: "The past year has been a crazy yet exciting one - it was spent rebuilding and strengthening our foundation internally and externally.

"The challenge, especially in today's saturated market, is to stay focused on who we are fundamentally as a brand and continually differentiate ourselves.

"Being able to do that and not be distracted by the noise and temptations has been one of the biggest accomplishments for us."

Ankita Varma

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 03, 2017, with the headline 'For the love of fashion'. Print Edition | Subscribe