On becoming a multi-million-dollar brand building a fashion empire

Homegrown Singaporean label Love, Bonito started as a passion project more than a decade ago among close friends.

Then named BonitoChico, the brand initially sold pre-loved clothes on a Livejournal site in 2005.

“But soon we realized that our customers wanted more so we started importing apparels from neighboring countries to sell,” co-founder Rachel Lim told Daily Tribune in an interview.

However, there was always something lacking on the said pieces — be it length or size, fit, quality of fabric or design details.

“We decided to take ownership of doing so by creating our own collections that primarily catered to Asian women. We looked at many factors ranging from body proportions, skin tones, preferences and climate to perfect the fit and comfort for our apparels,” Lim recalled.

Democratizing fashion and making it accessible to the everyday woman while still bringing value became the brand’s core that ultimately led its evolution as Love, Bonito in 2010.

Today, Love, Bonito is a global brand that creates for the modern everyday woman — one who is always on-the-go and wears comfort with confidence.

Each piece is thoughtfully crafted with the Asian fit in mind.

“We also understand that our customers in different geographical areas would require a different set of products catered for them. As such, when we expanded into international markets, we launched Fall-Winter assortments to cater to Asians outside of the region (e.g. United States, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Australia),” Lim said.

For its customers in Malaysia and Indonesia, given that these are more modest markets, Love, Bonito took the same designs but adapted accordingly, such as taking down the sleeves and bringing up the neckline.

In 2022, Love, Bonito has grown to reach women across Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia; East Asia namely Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan as well as Asian diasporas in Australia and the US.

Its international markets contribute approximately 50 percent to its online revenue.

Pleated cullotes.


Social impact programs

In 2021, Love, Bonito formalized its social impact arm, LBCreate, which aims to bring women’s issues to the forefront and create actionable steps for the future.

“This dedicated program will focus on future-proofing women, addressing the multitude of health and wellness issues as well as women’s rights,” Lim said.

Each year, Love, Bonito partners with an organization in line with the abovementioned focus to support the organization’s efforts through funding, shared connections and raising awareness on the issue at hand.

Riding on the success of its 2021 launch campaign, Love, Bonito’s “Dream it, Do it!” campaign raised a total of $30,000 which was donated to Room to Read Girl’s Education, a program that supports 100 girls in low-income communities in Asia to stay in high school for a year.

Lavender coordinates.

Other initiatives that the brand include the “Share Your Spare” program that benefits the less fortunate in the Philippines through the donation of clothes to school teachers; the “Festive Book Drop” campaign with MILO in Singapore; and Breast Cancer Awareness in 2021 where a panel conversation was organized with survivors discussing mental health and confidence post-cancer.

As of January 2022, Love, Bonito have donated over $230,000 worth of cash and products to its beneficiaries across Southeast Asia.

Democratizing fashion and making it accessible to the everyday woman while bringing value is Love, Bonito’s core.


“The Philippines is one of our key international markets and we are focused on building local partnerships to further develop our omnichannel strategy with offline store expansions,” Lim said.

The brand is looking forward to strengthening and building a local community whom they have journeyed with over the past years.

“Stay tuned as we also look to venture deeper into and beyond fashion, to be a true life partner for the everyday Asian woman,” Lim concluded.

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