Young women like us are getting more aware of ourselves.
Well, not just young women, but women in general are growing more conscious about their lifestyles – in a good way.
We have progressed from talking about pads and menstruation in a hush-hush voice, to openly discussing an alternative solution to sanitary napkins and being vocal about it to help those in need.
I used to feel so awkward while watching Triumph commercials on television when I was young because I thought it was embarrassing to be watching it with my parents – I mean, what if my dad knew I was wearing a bra!
That was a silly thought, but now, I am more ‘woke’ about my innerwear choices.
So are many modern Asian woman.
But there is a problem for women who are looking for pretty and sexy intimates carried only by certain brands that cannot be found in Asia.
So here’s what Tara Lin did.
She founded the popular lingerie e-boutique, Avec Amour, in Hong Kong in 2011 and is now bringing these intimate, feminine frocks to Asia – starting with Singapore.
What Makes A Woman Tick
Tara is from Melbourne, Australia, and she has been living in Asia for the past 16 years.
This dynamic serial entrepreneur – and mother of three – runs her 10-year-old Hong Kong beauty business and Avec Amour from Singapore.
She started her corporate life in the accounting field before finding it unsuitable for her.
She then moved on to doing marketing, and then found her calling as an entrepreneur when she started her beauty business.
Travelling for business and for leisure is part of Tara’s lifestyle.
She noticed how there is a lack of premium lingerie brands in Asia and grew frustrated having to get them only in certain parts of the world. She also found out that other women have also faced this problem.
In an interview with Buro 24/7, she said she knows “what it is like to constantly stock up from overseas” as she would keep “going back to Australia to buy lingerie before coming back to Asia”.
She opened the lingerie boutique in Hong Kong in 2011 and started the online boutique then.
Tara is not sure how much she invested to start Avec Amour because she leveraged it off her beauty business.
The reason for the move to Singapore was simple: she’s based here and saw a gap in the market for gorgeous affordable lingerie.
She reveals that they decided to close the physical store in Central Hong Kong as they would like to focus on e-commerce, serving not just Singapore and Hong Kong, but to all of Asia.
When it came to starting the e-commerce site, she explained that “it did take a significant amount of money and time to get it up and running” but launching it in Singapore was straightforward – everything from the backend to the front-end is the same except for the URL.
She said the business has gone through many ups and downs over the years but the online store has seen a steady increase in sales every month since launching in Singapore in 2016.
A Tale Of Two Asian Cities
Singapore often gets compared to fellow island-city Hong Kong in things like our airports, (especially) food, our economies, and housing, to name a few.
When I asked her what are the differences in tastes between the Hong Kong and Singapore market, she said that there were plenty.
She explained that Hong Kong women are more conservative in their styles and the way they shop, their preferred mode of shopping is in-store.
While for the Singapore market, it is more diverse in taste and online shopping is more common.
There is also that notion for Asians to be more conservative about certain personal topics such as underwear and their private lives as compared to our Western counterparts.
I was curious if Tara ever felt apprehensive about starting a lingerie e-commerce business in Asia, or awkward talking about it with friends and relatives here.
The confident businesswoman replied,
I’m not concerned about starting a lingerie e-boutique in Asia mostly because there is such a need and demand for it.
Firstly, lingerie shopping is intimidating for both men and women, so having it online simply makes more sense. Paired with the fact that there are no unique sexy styles that are both luxurious and affordable in Asia. This applies to both Asians and Caucasians, men and women looking for lingerie.
Any time people find out about what I do, it generates a lot of interest, which is of course, great for business.
Getting Intimate To Know Your Intimates
I asked the lingerie connoisseur what would she recommend a pregnant, mother-to-be to wear.
She shared with me that having gone through this before (three times, no less!), she highly recommends pregnant women to start wearing maternity or breastfeeding bras because it’s much comfortable than bras with underwire.
These bras are suitable for the growing breasts.
The best thing about these bras is that mothers can still wear them after the baby is born!
She continued raving about maternity bras,
The design of maternity bras are amazing, the strap usually has about six to eight hook options and the cups are very stretchy to accommodate the multiple cup-size fluctuations in a day (the mother will experience) in a day when she breastfeeds.
She recommends bralettes for the young girls as it is trendy now, and being younger, they are “fortunate that extra support is not needed”.
As for those date nights, she recommends girls to “go for something sexier!”
I mean, be bold or go home, amirite?
“Maximum push-up bras or cut-out bras are a favourite, or try a see-through lacy bodysuit. Wearing some stockings really elevates the mood.”
Tara explained that eight out of 10 women are not wearing the right bra size, usually wearing a band size larger and a cup size smaller.
“When trying on a bra, lean forward, place yourself in the cups, then hook the back. When you stand up, the bra should be supportive enough that it doesn’t move while the straps are not on. Only then you should fiddle around with the cups and the straps for the perfect fit.”
I asked her to give some tips for first-time lingerie buyers to gift to their significant other and she recommends to do some research first.
Open their lingerie drawer and take note of:
- Colours they wear
- Styles they wear
There is no point in buying something that doesn’t fit, or is bright pink – if they only wear black – or something see-through if they don’t own any racy items, because it will be under-appreciated or not worn and become an unfortunate waste.
For first-time male buyers, she recommends playing it safe and get something in black that comes in sizes small, medium, or large, and something that is not see-through.
She said that practice makes perfect and encourages them to continue buying lingerie for their other half.
“Business Is Not About What You Like”
She was a speaker at the 17th edition of Singapore’s FuckUp Nights that happened on 23 August 2017, so I asked her to share with me one of the mistakes she made.
She admitted that she when started, she did not do enough research and started the business any way, going on a massive lingerie shopping spree.
It was a big mistake.
Business is not about what you like, it’s essentially what sells.
Rounding this up, she left me with some words of advice on entrepreneurship and for young girls,
As an entrepreneur, you can’t be shy. Surprisingly enough, a lot of people are not shy to talk about lingerie in a social environment. when you’re young, you should be adventurous. You have the rest of your life to be responsible and grown-up.
Shop at Avec Amour here for exclusive brands like L’Agent by Agent Provocateur, Hedi Klum Intimates, and Fine Lines!
Featured Image Credit: Tara Lin