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Let's get cheaky

Samantha Chiew
Samantha Chiew • 5 min read
Let's get cheaky
From left: Dione Song and Rachel Lim, CEO and co-founder of Love, Bonito respectively; with Olivia Ying and Tiffany Chng, co-founders of cheak (formerly butter.). Photo: Love, Bonito
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Local fashion brand Love, Bonito is running into the activewear scene with its latest acquisition

Fitness is a big thing today. The past two years have shed a light on the importance of maintaining and improving our health. Fitness classes are becoming increasingly popular, and people are flocking to studios to get their sweat on.

The way local fashion brand Love, Bonito sees it, ladies should be empowered to not just look good while working out, but also feel comfortable. With that, Love, Bonito has decided to enter the activewear scene with its latest acquisition of butter., a Singapore-based women-led active wear brand. On top of that, it has also invested a small stake in Moom Health, a local natural healthcare start-up.

This marks Love, Bonito’s commitment towards building a holistic female ecosystem, with a house of brands that have been thoughtfully curated for the everyday Asian woman.

“This is an extraordinary milestone for us to achieve within one year of our Series C funding. Our long-term vision is to be a true life partner for our community of women, in and beyond fashion, and activewear is a key category we’ve looked to venture into since two years ago,” says Dione Song, CEO of Love, Bonito, who described the acquisition of butter. as similar to a marriage instead of a business acquisition.

“Merging forces with butter. came at the right place and time for both of us, and we look forward to reshaping our evolution into a female ecosystem alongside emerging passion-driven women-led brands,” she adds.

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In October last year, Love, Bonito secured about US$50 million ($67 million) in its latest Series C funding. The funding round was led by Primavera Capital Group, and welcomed investors such as Japanese retail giant Adastria and venture capital firm Ondine Capital. The company said that the funds from this funding round will power its plans to expand in Singapore, as well as into other overseas markets, such as the US.

Following the “marriage” between Love, Bonito and butter., the activewear brand will be rebranded as cheak.

In an interview with Options, Song explains that Love, Bonito has grown to be one of the largest women’s wear brands in Asia today, specialising in offering clothes with Asian-centric fit. According to Song, the owners of butter. were already doing the same thing but focusing only on activewear.

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Hence, Love, Bonito made the decision to acquire butter. instead of creating its own activewear brand. “Venturing into the activewear space was something that we have been looking into for a while. We were studying the market and we realised that our values and perspectives align with those of butter. It was refreshing and interesting. They also bring a fresh take to branding, allowing us to reach out to a different audience,” says Song.

With this acquisition, Song explains that “nothing is really changing”, as butter.’s two co-founders Olivia Ying and Tiffany Chng are still very much involved and remain in charge of cheak. With Love, Bonito’s support and network, cheak is now able to achieve economies of scale and have more resources to grow.

“As Love, Bonito evolves into the next stages of growth, we want to join forces with like-hearted female founders and brands to make a difference and impact the lives of Asian women globally. Our vision has always been to journey with a woman through the different aspects and stages of life — and this acquisition allows us to do so meaningfully. We are also excited to empower Tiffany and Olivia in their individual journeys as founders and entrepreneurs to grow, develop and come into their own,” shares Rachel Lim, co-founder of Love, Bonito.

With so many activewear brands in the market, why butter.?

Song explains that it was because when her colleagues had bought some butter. items and had them delivered to the office, she noticed the hype and happiness that ensued when her colleagues received their packages. “I was wondering how can such a brand make a group of very diverse girls get together and get everyone so excited. Rachel and I were intrigued and wanted to know more about this brand that was able to reach out to the younger generation and spark such an interest,” says Song.

Today, cheak builds upon butter.’s signature design philosophies and launches in two fabrics, namely BaseCore — a sweat-wicking, compressive fabric suitable for high-intensity workouts — and BaseFlex — an ultra-soft and silky smooth material that is great for low-intensity activities. Customers can look forward to a total of 12 styles, including sports bras, leggings and biker shorts, in seven inclusive sizes ranging from XXS to XXL, and 13 colours that are specially chosen to compliment Asian skin tones. Song adds that the prices are kept affordable at $50 to $79, to empower women to take charge of their health and fitness.

The collection is available online at Love, Bonito and cheak’s websites, as well as across all Love, Bonito stores in Singapore.

Photo: Love, Bonito

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