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How Bonia Became Successful


You would think that such a luxury fashion brand would be from Italy, but Bonia is actually a Malaysian brand! How did they become one of the most popular luxury fashion brands across Asia? This is how Bonia became successful.


What is Bonia?

Bonia is an international luxury fashion brand dealing primarily with leather goods such as bags, wallets, shoes, accessories and even sunglasses. According to its official website, the Bonia monogram is “a mark of distinction, a stamp of individuality and a symbol of status”. In the past, European royalty and noblemen personalised their possessions with monograms, which are motifs containing their initials, insignias or coat-of-arms.


Bonia describes its products as “designed for men and women with refined taste and a strong sense of personal style”. Their products are also long lasting and can be passed down through multiple generations.


The History of Bonia

Bonia was established in 1974 by Sang Sem Chiang, who began the business of designing, manufacturing and selling leather products in Singapore. He was inspired by the artwork of Giambologna, a well-renowned Italian artist who sculpted statues of bronze and marble in the late Renaissance or Mannerist style. The brand has built its identity around three main principals: modern, elegant and contemporary.


In 1994, the company Bonia Corporation Berhad was founded, with Sang Sem Chiang as its Executive Chairman. The Group is controlled and managed by the Chiang family.


The Expansion of Bonia

It took only six years since its establishment for the brand to become the market leader in both Singapore and Malaysia. After its success in the neighbouring countries, Bonia expanded its branches and boutiques to other countries across Asia. It was listed on the KLCI Bursa Malaysia secondary bourse in 1994, and then transferred to the main board of Bursa Malaysia.


As of now, Bonia has over 700 outlets across Asia in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Apart from its main brand, Bonia has also established two other in-house brands: Sembonia and Carlo Rino. Both brands also deal in handbags, accessories and footwear.


Bonia's Marketing Strategy

One of Bonia’s marketing strategies to broaden its reach is to use numerous standalone boutiques owned by the company such as Sembonia, Carlo Rino, Braun Buffel and so on. This increases their sales and allows them to reach different markets and audiences. Bonia also makes use of third parties to market their products, which in turn generates more sales and increases their profit margin.


In terms of international and overseas marketing, Bonia makes use licensing, dealers and distributors to manage the sales of their products through its retail stores. Bonia has a huge number of retail stores in many different countries across Asia, and these retail stores are important as they increase the brand’s exposure and distribution of their products.


Bonia also has a Loyalty Programme that was introduced in 2009. Loyal customers receive many benefits such as member discounts, member sales and birthday privileges. These benefits are attractive to consumers, and as a result they are more likely to sign up and purchase more from the brand in order to enjoy these discounts and privileges. Aside from that, the brand also offers free shipping nationwide if you purchase from their official e-store.


Why is Bonia so Successful?

Part of the reason why Bonia is so successful is because it has its own innovative and creative designers that produce unique, elegant and timeless products. Their products are also premium and long-lasting, which entices consumers to buy from them as it is well worth the price they pay. Bonia also has not strayed from the image they have built of themselves, which is modern, elegant and contemporary. Their brand’s image is reliable and has been throughout the years.


Their marketing strategies have also contributed to their success. Their retail stores across Asia have increased their brand’s exposure as well as profit margins and their loyalty programme has established a loyal customer base.


That is how Bonia, a Malaysian brand, came to be one of the most well-established brand names in the luxury fashion industry. The next time you’re in the market for a quality leather handbag or wallet, try shopping at Bonia or any of its other in-house brands- you won’t be disappointed.


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