Sylvia Yim speaks with Jiyeon and Juyeon Oh – twin sisters and the designers of children’s label Bene Bene from South Korea in the third interview in our Korean interview series.
The sisters were designing men’s and women’s apparel until they became Moms themselves and turned their focus to designing children’s wear – something their customers had been begging them constantly for.
Jiyeon and Juyeon felt that high-end clothing was often not worth the price, since kids outgrew them so quickly and so began the Bene Bene we know today. Unique and comfortable clothing for children that are high in quality, sophisticated in design, and yet reasonably priced.
View the full Summer collection here.
JS: What is it like working so closely with your twin sister? Do you know what the other is thinking before she even says it?
J&J: The best part is that when we are designing, we can share each other’s opinions and thoughts. On top of that, we can focus on little details here and there and results in a better design. We can tell what the other likes just from looking at each other’s eyes.
JS: Bene Bene is an established brand in children’s apparel since 2005: how do you seen the line expanding over the next 5 years?
J&J: For now, we are a popular and loved kid’s brand locally – so with that foundation, we very much want to claim our spot as a global brand.
JS: You started out in men’s and women’s wear and moved into children’s wear when you became mothers. How is designing for children different than for adults?
J&J: When designing for adults, you may only focus on design, but for children of course, you need to incorporate comfort and wearability, the freedom to move. The texture of the fabrics is also very important.
JS: Who are your personal style heroes or influences?
J&J: We love Phoebe Philo of Céline! The fact that she is a mother of three and on top of that, also a designer who excels in perfectly combining simplicity with modernity is really inspiring!
JS: Do your children have direct input into your design process?
J&J: Mostly we create designs that we would like our children to wear, and if we didn’t have them to dress, we wouldn’t know what it looks like or how it fits in person, or know how they feel wearing it all day.
JS: As mothers and entrepreneurs, you are balancing a lot of responsibility and must be very busy. When you do find time for yourselves, how do you like to spend it?
J&J: Outside of business, we love spending time with our children, but of course we would also like some alone time. If we had a few hours or more to ourselves, we would like to just read a book and not move! 🙂
JS: What country or countries do the majority of your international orders come from?
J&J: At the start of the business, we had a lot of interest and support from Japan and Hong Kong. Recently, we have been receiving a lot of love from the U.S. and Western Australia, where it seems harder to find the Bene Bene style of children’s clothing.
JS: What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have a favourite musician or group?
J&J: There is no particular musician or genre of music we call our favourite, but we do love listening to relaxing piano music!
JS: What can we expect from your upcoming fall collection?
J&J: Our natural and unique fall items will be harmonious with Bene Bene’s philosophy of basic yet unique designs. 🙂
Shop Benebene here.