Lingerie brand Honey Birdette makes plans to set up shop in Singapore

BB Retail Company and Australian lingerie brand Honey Birdette have set their sights on invading Asia and Singapore will be their first stop in 2014.

Words by Imagine TV Network

Eight years ago, Eloise Monaghan and Janelle Barboza, the co-founders of Honey Birdette, conceptualized the brand over a glass of champagne. That same year, the pair opened their first store in Brisbane, Australia.

Elaborating on the brand's collections, Monaghan says, "We have gone for practical provocative where innerwear becomes outerwear... The lingerie becomes part of what you are wearing so you are kind of designing your outfit around the lingerie."

Monaghan also adds that they reach a wide demographic and caters to women who feel sexy or wants to feel sexy about themselves.

The higher price points of the lingerie -- almost A$240 for Coco Kitty Waspie Set -- can be attributed to the quality of the materials that are used. All of the fabrics used, such as satin, silks, and laces, are imported from Europe. Some of the lingerie also feature pieces that have been exclusively detailed with Swarovski crystals.

Honey Birdette has also attracted a celebrity clientele, with mega-stars and fashion icons like Lady Gaga and Victoria Beckham wearing the brand's range of lingerie.

Monaghan emphasizes, "The main thing is we will always push the boundaries... It will not be the basic [lingerie] dressed up with lace. We will make a statement with the lingerie."

BBRC PARTNERS HONEY BIRDETTE

Brett Blundy, founder of private investment company BB Retail Company (BBRC), says that he saw the first Honey Birdette store in 2010 and approached Monaghan and Barboza after seeing the strong connection the brand has with women.

"Honey Birdette is owned by women, developed by women, and that is important to the DNA [of the brand]," he shares.

He adds that the brand sits in an upper-premium market and explains the role of BBRC is to support it and fund the growth of the company's expansion.

In 2011, BBRC became the majority owner of the lingerie brand and it is the newest addition to the company's portfolio of five other retail brands, including fast fashion jewellery brands Diva and Lovisa, and fashion lingerie retailer Bras n Things.

Combined, the retail brands under BBRC have a market presence in 25 countries and a total of over 1,100 stores.

SINGAPORE'S RETAIL POTENTIAL A DRAW

Blundy is confident about the luxury lingerie brand's suitability for Singapore, which will see the brand's first outlet as it expands in Asia and Europe. Hong Kong is slated to be the next stop after Singapore.

"Honey Birdette is without any doubt made for the Singaporean market. Singapore is sophisticated. The women of Singapore are in-charge of their lives, [they are] proud of that -- and that is what Honey Birdette is about," he remarks.

Co-founder Barboza also shares her anticipation in entering new markets, "To know that we opened up a little store in Brisbane and now all of a sudden we are a step into going international, going into Singapore. It's extremely exciting, extremely exciting for us."

Asked why Singapore is chosen ahead of other countries in the region, Blundy shares that it boils down to two main reasons. The first is his belief that Singapore is a "wonderful retail market." In terms of revenue generated, 0ne of BBRC's Lovisa store in Singapore ranks in the top three and two other stores are in the top ten.

The second reason is because having made Singapore his place of residence, the global center of BBRC has moved to Singapore. "It's a market that I can keep an eye on and help with the initial start-up of a new country, which is always challenging to make sure that it's done properly," he says with a smile.

To prepare for their upcoming launch into Singapore, Monaghan and Barboza share that they have conducted a market research. They say that they understand briefs sold better than g-strings and reveal that future collections aimed at Asian consumers will incorporate more lace in their designs. The lingerie will also be tailored to fit Asians' body and breasts.

Nodding, Blundy says, "Honey Birdette is global. In three years time, we will be talking about [reaching] seven to eight countries."

Summing up her thoughts, Monaghan flashes a wide smile as she takes stock of what has changed in the last few years.

"Brett's amazing. He has mentored us for over three years and we wouldn't be the retailers we are becoming without his mentorship. Obviously, he's one of the most successful retailers in the world today. We are pretty lucky."

 

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