In the beginning of 2018, our office was talking about the future of e-commerce. The debate was whether Lazada, Carousell, Shopee or Qoo10 would come to dominate the Singaporean e-commerce scene.
Then on February 1st, a new player announced itself as a company to take seriously. Love,Bonito — a women’s fashion brand — raised US$13 million in a round led by Kakaku.com.
The money is going to be used to strengthen what has become one of the most successful omnichannel fashion startups in Singapore.
With a presence in Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Indonesia, the brand has pop-up and permanent shops driven by an e-commerce platform that ships all over the world.
Rachel Lim, one of the company’s Co-founders will be speaking at Echelon Asia Summit 2018 to explain how her passion project has grown into one of the more interesting up-and-coming fashion companies in Southeast Asia.
Excited to hear from Lim? Register for Echelon here!
Building a business from a project
In 2006, when Love,Bonito Co-founders Lim and Viola Tan were 18-years-old, they started a small passion project to earn a bit of extra money. Through word-of-mouth marketing, the fashion brand began to grow and the two were suddenly pushed into becoming full-time entrepreneurs.
Admittedly, they did not have a much experience but through grit, patience and self-taught education Love, Bonito grew into a well-respected women fashion brand in Southeast Asia.
A lot of people have a hobby they spend time with after working hours and many wonder if this “thing” could ever justify them quitting their job to pursue full-time.
Love, Bonito proves that the answer can be ‘yes’ and that when a Founding team is passionate about the industry, that extra motivation can be the difference between success and failure.
Building an omni-channel brand
One of the core reasons behind the success of Love, Bonito is the decision to design their own products. Over the years, this has allowed the brand to grow into a recognisable fashion leader with significant customer loyalty.
Why this is important is because Lim and Tan were eventually able to leverage the brand awareness into a an offline store.
The company began with the pop-up model and found they were so successful that it was necessary to open a full-time retail shop. The flagship store was opened in Singapore and they haven’t looked back since.
These days, a lot of traditional retailers are trying to build an e-commerce marketplace but as people get more comfortable buying goods online it seems inevitable that some popular online shops will leverage their branding and move into the many malls of Asia.
What to expect at Echelon
Rachel will be joining a panel about the future of e-commerce. Is the industry hitting a plateau? What should we think about the presence of Alibaba and Amazon? How can mid-tier e-commerce platforms navigate around the giants?
Finally, because in the world of e-commerce nothing is more important, expect some questions about building a brand and navigating logistics in a fragmented market.
Echelon Asia Summit 2018 is e27’s flagship platform that brings together startups, investors, corporates, governments, tech ecosystem players and customers.