Empowering women and reaching out to their true potential through fashion – is the key objective of Singapore’s favorite brands- Love, Bonito. Every woman is exquisite in her own way and shouldn’t be compared. A brand that started as blogshop by Rachel Lim and her two chums Viola Tan and Velda, a strong advocate of women empowerment, has her own unique motivational life story.
Starting a business is an arduous task. For Rachel Lim, the stakes were even higher and tougher as she started her business by taking a loan from her mother. The latter was independently supporting the family with two jobs after the Financial Crisis hit Asia during 1997. In the early twenties, Ms. Lim realized that she was unable to juggle between work and studies. She gave up her college education to pursue her dream of starting her own business, which initially started as an idea to sell pre-loved clothes to earn extra pocket money. The successful worldwide brand just started with this thought. Lim was on government bond; she had to pay off the bond to drop out of school and start her business, leaving her with no choice but to borrow money from her mother. Nevertheless, Lim guaranteed that she would make her business a success and repay the borrowed money, which she did. Lim quotes that this was one of the reasons she knew she would not fail as she did not want to let her mother down in any way.
The online retail had started gaining traction in 2005 in Southeast Asia. However, due to rapid technology accessible to people, it started to gain more popularity. It made the business partners realize that so many people in the world can be reached out to with just a click. Thus, after Lim and her friends ran out of their possessed clothes to sell, they decided to pool $300 savings and travel overseas to import more. They opened a full-fledged fashion site called BonitoChico. However, there was something that Lim felt was not right about the clothes they imported whether it was the colour, the fit or the quality of the product. In 2009, with just eight months of Lim’s teaching degree remaining, she decided to quit university to focus on the business entirely.
Currently, Rachel Lim is one of the co-founders, the Chief Executive Officer, and the Chief Brand Officer of Love, Bonito. In 2016, Lim was featured in the Prestige Singapore’s ’40 under 40′ list of upcoming movers and shakers along with the Forbes Asia ’30 under 30′ in the same year. She studied at Meridian Junior College at the tertiary level and later broke her MOE tuition bond to carry on Love, Bonito full-time in 2010. Lim’s marriage took place in Bali in 2016, where all her bridesmaids wore Love, Bonito gowns in the ceremony. She was awarded the ‘Pulsar Category Overall Winner’ title at the Women Entrepreneur Award in 2017. Today, the multimillion-dollar customized clothing line is all over the world from Hong Kong and Australia to the United States.
Gail Wong, an investor, and coach for female founders, told everyone a bit about Rachel Lim. Wong said that Rachel started the business at a very young age. It was not as if she had an Ivy League education that certain kinds of people look for, and she had an obligation to make it work. The fact that Rachel had something bigger than her ambition is a really interesting trait Wong found in only a few female founders. For Lim, the real victory was proving to her mother that her debt was paid off. Lim’s priority was that her mother would not have to work three jobs for such long hours in a day anymore. As a matter of fact, Lim had no fashion background, business qualifications, or industry mentors. Despite this fact, she proved to the world that willpower and determination could make you achieve whatever you want. Along with this, Lim’s mother believed in her and had the utmost faith that she can achieve her dream, thus lending her the money.
Rachel Lim is a strong advocate of women empowerment. Thus, the purpose of Love, Bonito is to share a love of fashion and to provide confidence by empowering other women. She wanted to focus on this and put all our resources into helping women discover who they are and be confident by dressing beautiful and dressing right. At a personal level, she conducts monthly group sessions for women who have contacted her personally via any communication platform, making a support circle where women can share questions and give advice.
As a leader, Rachel Lim is people-oriented and works hard towards woman empowerment. Also, she is approachable because she is always there as a mentor, guide, and as a friend for people who work under her. She quoted in an interview….
Maybe you don’t know what your purpose is while everyone else seems to have their act together. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay, it takes time to discover. There is more to life than what you see on social media, so don’t take everything there too seriously. Success is different for everyone and looks different for everyone. It doesn’t mean that mine is shinier or better than yours. To me, success is really about discovering why you were put on this earth and how you can make a difference in the world with everything you have.”
Thus, Rachel Lim is an inspiration for all the women out there that when you want something with your entire heart, you will definitely get it.