As one of the names on Forbes’ “30 under 30 Asia” list in 2016, Rachel Lim, founder of Love, Bonito, creates her own deﬁnition of success.
She and her friends, Viola and Velda Tan, launched a blogshop a decade ago when they were mere teenagers, to sell imported clothing at a time when e-commerce was still ﬁnding its legs in Singapore. Just four years later, they’d developed Love, Bonito into one of the most recognisable homegrown fashion labels. The brand focused on providing clothes for Asian women who had difficulty ﬁnding the right ﬁt and cut with international sizes of clothing – a smart move that satisﬁed the needs of many customers.
“We sought to ﬁll the gap in the market for trendy, well-made and well-ﬁtting pieces that wouldn’t burn a hole in our pockets,” says Rachel. She says that she sees herself as an “everyday woman” who understands the struggles women face, not just in ﬁnding the right ﬁt of clothes but also in juggling multiple commitments.
Managing a rapidly expanding business for a little more than a decade has taught her major life lessons. These include discovering her own path, moving on from setbacks, and creating her own deﬁnition of success.
“Over the years, I’ve learnt that being a strong woman – not merely a successful one – is about understanding who you are and who you are meant to be, without comparing yourself to others,” she muses. “In this day and age, where everyone is showing off their highlight reel on social media, it’s important to remember that we are all different, and we all have different paths to take.”
Despite contending with cut-throat competition in the currently ﬂourishing e-commerce industry, Rachel continues to keep Love, Bonito fresh and updated. From venturing into the international market with its growing e-commerce presence to opening two physical stores – the ﬂagship outlet at 313@Somerset in 2017 and the second at Jem in late 2018 – the company has leapt from one milestone to another, slowly but steadily sealing its position of prominence in the retail scene.
Despite the brand’s meteoric rise to become a multimillion-dollar business, Rachel prefers not to deﬁne success by numbers.
“I think success is a journey, not a destination,” she says. “It is knowing who you are, ﬁnding your purpose, and staying true to your path. I personally am still on this journey of discovering and embracing myself, and becoming the best version of myself.”
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THE PAPER BUNNY
Jaime Lee took a leap of faith by pursuing her creative calling, and she hasn’t looked back since.
As the co-founder and creative force behind local stationery and lifestyle company The Paper Bunny, she is constantly seeking inspiration. When she launched the business with husband Justin in 2013, she saw it as just a creative outlet, but her entrepreneurial journey has led her far. The Paper Bunny now has a presence in seven countries at last count, including the United States and South Africa.
“I started the business as a passion project to use graphic design to create pieces that people could use in their everyday lives,” says Jaime. “I would never have dreamt back then that it would become a full-time career, but the business took on a life of its own.”
Before that, she had been juggling a full-time career as a legal counsel with The Paper Bunny as her side business for two years before ﬁnally taking the plunge and devoting herself to the latter.
“That was the scariest decision of my life, and I had to really ask myself whether this was something that was worth pursuing, whether this was something that I was really called to do,” she shares.
Taking the risk has clearly paid off, as the company has since collaborated and cobranded merchandise with brands like Starbucks, Coach and Singapore Airlines, milestones that Jaime is most proud of.
“Knowing that people have been positively impacted through my efforts and my work makes everything worth it,” she says.
She reﬂects on one major lesson she has learnt from managing the business: “We are not meant to do everything – and we can never do everything. It is important to work with people who will complement your strengths and weaknesses, and run alongside you towards the same vision.”
When asked about one all-encompassing motto that she applies to her career and life, Jaime reveals with a warm smile: “Big things happen with one small step at a time. I hold this close to my heart when I feel discouraged or when problems seem insurmountable.”
"WORK WITH PEOPLE WHO COMPLEMENT YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES, AND RUN ALONGSIDE YOU TOWARDS THE SAME VISION."
PHOTOGRAPHY VERONICA TAY ART DIRECTION ALEX GOH & SHAN STYLING EVON CHNG, ASSISTED BY HIRO YE XUAN HAIR JIMMY YAP/ KENARIS SALON MAKEUP ZOEL TEE, USING 3INA RACHEL’S JACKET, SHIRT & PANTS HUGO JAIME’S DRESS DIANE VON FURSTENBERG JAIME’S EARRINGS RISIS JAIME’S SHOES CHARLES & KEITH
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