Love, Bonito Girls on Being Your Own Boss

They’re young, beautiful and successful entrepreneurs. The ladies behind one of Singapore’s biggest online fashion retailers Love, Bonito talk to us about their business.

The women behind Love, Bonito. (L to R: Rachel Lim, Velda Tan, Viola Tan)

How did you get started in this business?

Viola: We first started out selling our clothes and accessories on a blogshop called Bonito Chico, where we were actually three individual sellers – Velda, Rachel, and Viola. All three of us have our own unique styles, so it made sense to combine our efforts to produce trendy and unique clothing. Hence Love, Bonito was born.

You’re surrounded by clothes, shopping is part of your work, and you’ve successfully pulled off what so many girls dream of. How does it feel to be the envy of girls all over?

We’re kept on our feet all the time as we don’t want to fall behind. There’s constant room for improvement in the fashion scene. We always believe in staying humble and grounded, so the three of us constantly remind each other not to slacken. Competition has also been really stiff lately, with more and more blogshops sprouting up. Also, there’s a lot more to the job than shopping and being surrounded by pretty clothes.

What’s a typical day like for you?

There isn’t really a typical work day for us. The three of us oversee different teams internally. Velda heads the Creative Team, so she does anything from outdoor and indoor shoots, to editing pictures and graphics.

Rachel heads the Customer Care/Admin Team (which is currently our biggest, as we are an online store and everything is communicated via emails). They deal with exchanges, enquiries, feedback, helplines, logistics, and also monitoring of stocks and statistics.

I head the Business Development/Marketing Team that deals with sponsorships – either from or for clients. Love, Bonito lends our support to local singers and I help to dress them as well.

One thing all three of us handle together is the approval of samples that our suppliers send us for confirmation. We also get together to discuss what goes up in the next collection, the direction for the next quarter, and to work on new designs. This happens at least once or twice a week.

A photo shoot at the Love, Bonito office.

What’s the best part about your job?

Receiving encouraging emails from our customers when they are satisfied with what they have ordered and received. Also, when customers come up to us while we’re walking on the street to tell us to keep up the good work.

And the worst?

There really is nothing bad about our work. We do receive negative customer feedback from time to time, but we take them constructively and work harder to improve on the areas of concern.

The Love, Bonito girls helping out at an event.

You girls have managed to build up quite a following for Love, Bonito. How did you do it?

It’s mainly by word-of-mouth, as well as our personal blogs that are testimony to the clothes we produce. We have never spent money on advertising.

How do you deal with competition from the bigger fashion retailers like Forever 21, H&M etc.?

With excellent customer service, as well as trendy designs at affordable prices.

What is the biggest misconception that people have about your company?

That the fashion industry is a lot of fun and that work is easygoing. The travelling for work also seems leisurely, but we actually put in a lot of late hours. We travel a lot and pack our work trips with full days to maximize our time there.

Viola working the cashier at the Love, Bonito Warehouse Sale.

Do people ever not take you seriously because you’re young and you’re women? How do you deal with that?

We’re quite blessed to have met a lot of supportive people in our journey thus far. Everyone we talk to encourages us to pursue our passion and no one really puts us down for what we do.

People say that men make better bosses in general because they’re less emotional. The 3 bosses of Love, Bonito are all women – does it ever get ugly?

Actually, the three of us have never argued. We grew up together and have different strengths and weaknesses that complement the business. When making decisions, we remind ourselves that the end goal should be for the good of the company and our customers. We usually reach a compromise if we have a difference in opinions.

Rachel, Velda, and Viola

Have you ever thought about giving it all up?

No. Never.

What is your ultimate goal or dream for Love, Bonito?

A short-term goal would be for Love, Bonito to go international. In the long run though, we hope to open a brick-and-mortar store in Singapore.

Any exciting plans coming up for Love, Bonito?

We are definitely looking to expand into our neighbouring markets, such as Malaysia and Indonesia.

Check out Love, Bonito being featured on clicknetwork’s fashion show THAT F WORD.