Thursday, 26 May 2011

Interview - Bento Part 2

In Part 1 of my interview Samantha discussed her background and why she decided to manufacture her garments in Melbourne.

In Part 2, Samantha discusses business issues she has faced since starting Bento.

Samantha modeling one of her beautiful
7. Do you think there was enough guidance and support (from the industry and government) to help you when you decided to not only pursue a career in the fashion industry, but start your own small business? (e.g. you’ve spoken about the difficulties about initially finding stockists for your designs) From government, absolutely. The fashion industry on the other hand is incredibly skeptical of newcomers and really make them prove their value before they’ll work with them.

8. How are you using social media (e.g. your blog) to support and promote your business? Primarily, we use social media to stay in touch with our friends, fans and supporters. It’s a great way to hear from individual Bento devotees as well as share what’s happening behind the scenes.

9. What are some of the challenges of being an up-and-coming designer? What support would you like to see given to designers such as yourself? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m really not a designer! I’m a marketer who is lucky enough to be able to create the product as well.
But anyway – the challenges are huge… finding quality support from a supplier perspective is one of the biggest. Developing genuine, meaningful relationships with stockists is really tricky too.

10. You said the majority of boutiques are buying less, buying lower value and buying from “established” label. As a new label in the market, how do you market your designs to attract stockists? We’re much more hands-on than other labels in the market. We spend time in our stockist’s stores, getting to understand their customer. We also provide very detailed training and point of sale information to support retail staff. Unlike many labels, we can also warehouse stock for boutiques, do custom colours with low (or even no) minimums and have sold-out styles recut for special customers.
More than all that though – we have a product that is virtually unequalled in quality and is designed to complement the rest of the store.

11. With the GFC and rise in e-commerce, the Australian retail industry is struggling. How can designers and retailers collaborate to improve current marketing techniques? Due to my marketing background, we recently launched an e-mag called The Boutique Broadsheet specifically for buyers that looks at such things. I do however believe it is paramount for labels to work in conjunction with their stockists to ensure survival – not just in the current climate, but on an ongoing basis.

12. What do you love most about your job? 
That you never know what will happen in the next 24 hours. 

Thanks to Samantha for taking the time to answer my questions! It's great as a consumer to gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by different labels.

All the best for the future Samantha!

Checkout Bento's website here.
Find Bento on Facebook here.
Follow Samantha's blog here.

Here's the stylish Samantha showing how you can mix versatile Bento pieces into your wardrobe:

Images courtesy of, Six Wolves for Pedestrian TV,


  1. Loving that drapey-sleeved pink top! This interview is really inspiring, thanks for sharing. lots of love from your follower, Veena <3

  2. Thanks for taking the time to comment Veena! Sam is definitely a very inspiring woman:D

    Loving your blog!



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