While she is best known as one half of the dynamic duo behind local womenswear label Love, Bonito, Rachel Lim didn’t always have her sights set on the fashion industry. In fact, Lim was training to become a teacher at the National Institute of Education when she first started selling clothes online — under the moniker Bonito Chico — in 2008 with childhood friends, sisters Viola and Velda Tan (the latter has has since left the business).
The venture proved to be such a success that Lim eventually dropped out of university in her second year to run the online outfit full-time. That decision was a costly one for the young entrepreneur, as she had to borrow money from her parents to pay off her education bond. “I really had to convince them to fork out their savings for me. But I’m glad they believed in me,” she says.
Today, Love, Bonito is a household name in Singapore and boasts a 25 percent growth in revenue each year. It now also has operations in both Malaysia and Indonesia. In a further nod of affirmation, Lim earned herself a spot in the inaugural Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list, under the Retail & E-commerce category. “Knowing that the brand is recognised in Asia is so surreal. It’s such a privilege,” says Lim. “But it also reminds me to stay grounded and humble. There are so many other outstanding brands and businesses out there and so much more to learn.”