You Are Probably Supporting Local Companies Without Even Knowing It
While shoppers often flock to major international brands from Paris to New York, unbeknownst to many, quite a number of our local businesses have in fact achieved international acclaim as a major global brand. With that in mind, we profile four top global brands with massive local roots.
The brainchild of Douglas and Odile Benjamin of FJ Benjamin, Raoul started as a men's shirt brand in 2002 before expanding into women’s fashion and accessories. Under the creative direction of the design-duo, Raoul soon grew to be touted as one of Singapore's biggest womenswear exports. Since closing its flagship retail stores in Singapore last year, FJ Benjamin has shifted its focus on international wholesaling with particular focus on the US, UK and Middle East. Besides holding accounts with Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Liberty of London in the UK, Raoul is also stocked at Saks and Neiman Marcus in the US stockists and KaDeWe in Germany. With high profile stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Middleton spotted donning ensembles by the homegrown fashion label dressing like these major style icons has never been made easier.
The Singapore-born brand, The Wellness Group Tea Company, better known as TWG Tea, founded in 2008, has carved out a niche in luxury tea and established a reputation for its exquisite tearooms and an extensive international distribution network to professionals. As one of the fastest growing luxury tea brands in the world, the company rakes in roughly $90 million in annual sales according to Forbes. The tea retail outlet boasts the largest single-estate tea collection in the world, offering over 1,000 exclusive tea blends sourced from every tea-producing country around the world.
Charles & Keith
Founded by brothers Charles and Keith Wong in 1996, the fast fashion shoe label’s exponential success has since piqued the interests of major international investors. French luxury group LVMH won the bid to buy a 20 per cent stake in the company for more than $30 million, after facing stiff competition from other private equity firms and other high net-worth investors. Since then, the company has tapped into LVMH’s vast experience to expand into the Chinese market, where it now runs about 70 outlets with plans to add another 30 to 50 stores annually over the next few years. The brand now has more than 350 stores worldwide, located in key shopping havens such as Japan's Harajuku district and Macau's The Venetian.
STRIP And Browhaus
The local go-to waxing parlour and eyebrow-grooming brand is part of the umbrella of creative beauty retail and F&B concepts owned under the Spa Esprit Group, alongside 15 other food and high-end beverage brands such as Tippling Club and Open Farm Community. The Group’s founder, Cynthia Chua attributes her inspiration for starting the waxing and grooming services to her personal encounters overseas where people she had met mocked Asian women for having poor grooming standards. Since then, the Group has expanded across Asia as well as over London and New York, truly going the extra mile to help tame everyone’s hairy situation.
Huiling covers a diverse range of topics at Billionaire, fuelled by her passion for environmental sustainability and humanitarian advocacy. In her downtime, she enjoys getting lost in a good book and tending to her urban garden.