Retail in Asia

In Shops

Love, Bonito’s first flagship store in Singapore

Popular e-commerce retailer Love, Bonito is venturing into brick and mortar here.

The home-grown womenswear label is opening its first physical boutique in Singapore at 313 Somerset in October, taking over the 4,603 sq ft space on the second floor previously occupied by American fast-fashion giant Forever 21.

Love, Bonito’s co-founder Rachel Lim, 30, describes the move as a “calculated risk” on the back of a successful string of pop-ups over the years.

SEE ALSO : Korean online shopping growth surge as retail sales stumble

She says: “A physical store provides a platform for us to enhance our customers’ touch point, provides a space for our community to mingle and learn, enables us to interact with our customers face to face and increases our customers’ brand loyalty.”

The new store will operate like a regular retail outlet, allowing customers to browse, try on items and pay in cash.

Sales staff will be trained to help shoppers with styling and the space will also be used to hold workshops for customers to learn how to dress for their body type, for instance.

Love, Bonito was started seven years ago by Ms Lim, her childhood friend Viola Tan, 33, and a third co-founder, Ms Velda Tan, who left the company in 2013.

The first collection was so popular that the website crashed due to high traffic. The brand – which has a physical presence in Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia – expects revenue growth of at least 50 per cent this year.

Ms Lim, who oversees design, customer experience and branding, is clear on what she hopes to achieve with the new boutique, saying she wants brand converts more than one-off transactions.

SEE ALSO : Singapore exports rebound in June, beating forecasts with 8.2% rise

“To us, the store is so much more than just stocking products. We believe that the retail landscape has completely changed today and consumers are looking for a different experience – one that goes well beyond a simple transaction.

The brand’s vision is to “empower a woman’s confidence through helping her dress well and right” she said.

Ms Tan says the company is on an expansion blitz, with plans to expand in South-east Asia through a combination of e-commerce, retail stores and partnerships.

(Source: Straits times)