Rachel Lim and Dione Song lead Love, Bonito, one of the fastest growing womenswear brands in Southeast Asia. The pair have created an affordably priced trendy alternative to global high-street giants by committing to Asian-centric design and principles of female empowerment. Focusing on flattering fits and wardrobe staples that can be versatile for work and leisure occasions, Lim and Song were early adopters of influencer-led, community-based brand-building strategies. The brand has grown from a pure e-commerce operation to encompass 21 offline stores across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and Hong Kong. After entering other Southeast Asian markets like the Philippines through pop-ups, the pair indicated in 2023 that they were embarking on expansion into markets further afield like the US. In 2021 they secured investment to help them boost international expansion with Series C funding, raising a total of $50 million. In 2022, Love, Bonito started investing in other brands, like Singaporean activewear brand cheak and healthcare start-up Moom Health.
Lim, who is from Singapore, co-founded what was to become Love, Bonito in 2005 at age 19. In its first incarnation, it was a style blog called BonitoChico selling pre-owned apparel. After realising that many global brands weren’t designed for the Asian woman in mind, she decided to start her own line of clothing, Love, Bonito, in 2010. “Brands were creating clothing primarily for Western women who have different needs, body proportions, and skin tone than us Asian women,” she told Metro Style in 2022. Song, the company’s chief executive officer, has spearheaded the company’s growth since April 2021 after serving as its chief commercial officer and chief operating officer. She started her career at Zalora, where she was made managing director of Singapore in the four years she was there. She then led Sephora’s e-commerce expansion in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.