Ingrid Bonner is the founder and creator of Homebodii, a brand that built its reputation on its gorgeous range of bridal loungewear but has since expanded to sleepwear and occasional pieces. The range is now stocked at Revolve Clothing, The Iconic and Anthropologie and will make its New York Fashion Week debut this month. Here I chat to Bonner about what inspires her, the challenges of building a brand and her best piece of fashion advice…
How did you grow your business?
At the age of 30 I decided to make my Homebodii dream a reality. Being new to the industry and without a design background all I had was my own determination and having to juggle with a toddler on top, I needed every bit I could muster. I first launched at a local market with the help of a dressmaker. The direct feedback I received in these humble beginnings was the best market research I could have asked for and as a result Homebodii began to mature into something very special.
With determination and perseverance, Homebodii went from our spare room to a small factory and now bigger factory with our own showroom and leading national and international stockists. I managed the business with my sister Marianne for the first two years. What we did in our early days was to listen to what our customers wanted and offer an excellent personalised service. Organic growth and word of mouth has been a big factor in the success of Homebodii, coupled with being picked up by international stockists including Revolve Clothing and Anthropologie put us on the map globally.
What is it like to own your own label?
I have always been creative and I was initially inspired to start my own label because I wanted to create sleepwear that was feminine yet functional. Having your own label gives you the flexibility to express your creativity through the designs and not be constrained. Working for yourself can be challenging but the rewards outweigh the demands. I am fortunate to be able to drop and pick up my children from school.
Where did the inspiration for Homebodii come from?
I would have to say my mother, like many young girls my childhood was full of tulle and tutus, but unlike many of these girls I came away from those dance lesson days with something infinitely more powerful than fond childhood memories. You see as those ballerinas danced across the stage I watched my mother pursue & revel in her life’s passion every single day. My mother had followed her own childhood dream to become a ballerina. By making a life out of her passion my mother, showed me the joy of following your heart and own path in life.
Why do you think lounge/sleepwear has become such a big trend?
With multifunctional loungewear, you can take pieces from the bedroom to the Barre class. Loungewear has transitioned to pieces that include cami and pjs tops which can be worn as outerwear like what we have seen lately in the Pyjama luxe trend.
What tips do you have for wearing sleep/lounge wear?
Our collection is designed to make you feel sexy! We have functionality and femininity in mind with our sleepwear and robes. We suggest choosing a set of pyjamas, slip or robe that appeals to you. Ultimately we spend half our life in bed so why not be comfy but look great also?
What is your favourite product from your range?
Often when a new custom print or design is created it becomes the favourite. However, in saying that it is very hard to choose a favourite as our original designs have evolved over the years and have a close place in our hearts as they were the loved pieces that originated the brand.
What is your best piece of fashion advice?
Knowing what suits your body shape is a great tool, so try to choose pieces that not only suit your frame but also make you feel beautiful. When you put on something that makes you feel great, that feeling translates into confidence and a confident woman is sexy.
What are you most proud of with your brand?
Our Instagram is filled with photos of women wearing our garments It is very pleasing and the compliment is never lost on us. We love seeing Homebodii being worn for memorable occasions including bridal parties, Sunday lounging, on holidays and or at the races. It’s a great feeling knowing that our customers feel beautiful in our garments because we truly believe what we wear is a reflection of how we feel. We are also very excited to take Homebodii to the catwalk at NYFW this month [and be able to] showcase Australian designs on the international stage.
What are some of the struggles with having your own label?
There comes a time when your business becomes a brand. This meant for us investing in more staff, bigger infrastructure, implementing procedures and surrounding yourself with people that can elevate you and your brand. Personally when you hand over the decision making process to those in your team you have to have faith in their abilities and implementation of your vision for the brand. The future is not certain and making smart sensible decisions is vital to the health of your business.