Stephanie Mee meets the O.G. Bamboo Blonde, Louise Henry. Image: Saskia Koerner.
Hi Louise, thanks for taking the time to chat. So tell us, how did your love affair with Bali begin?
It was back in 1995 when I first visited the Island. It was an instant attraction and felt like home from the get go!
What planted the idea for you to start your own clothing line?
Before I settled in Bali I used to manufacture in Australia for a small clothing line which I started whilst living in Jakarta. My family are in the fashion industry back home so it was a natural progression.
Who are your fashion muses?
Just like trends change, so do my ‘muses’, which truthfully I don’t really have. I’ve always been inspired by the bohemian style since I first saw Stevie Nicks. Luckily, Bali being a fashion mecca, we’re surrounded by talented designers. I’m currently loving the designs of Spell, One Teaspoon and Free People and have always had a crush on anything by Sass and Bide.
Can tell us a bit about the early days of Bamboo Blonde back in 2007?
Everything was a struggle 10 years ago in Bali and Bamboo Blonde was no different. I was a lot younger and a lot more enthusiastic with a lot more drive to get me through the 10 years.
Were there any particular challenges or surprises in the beginning?
Everything is a challenge when you’re starting a new business. Surprises, where do you want me to start? Bali is full of surprises.
Today you have 11 stores in Bali and an online shop where people can order Bamboo Blonde apparel and accessories worldwide. What is the secret to the brand’s success?
It is my very big team behind what appears to be a well-oiled machine that allows the brand to keep up with the fast fashion world.
What have you learned personally being the founder and owner of a successful lifestyle brand?
You learn that you can’t have it all. You’ve got to be the ultimate multi-tasker and delegator. Every day brings new challenges and I’m constantly learning.
Running a fashion label must be pretty demanding at times. What do you do to find balance when things get stressful?
I decided to open Bali’s first Blow Bar. There’s nothing a glass of wine can’t fix!
How have you seen the fashion industry in Bali change over the years and where do you see it going?
Bali is now a mecca for fashion in Asia, especially for young up-and-coming designers. The retail industry is absolutely booming. I can’t see it slowing down anytime soon.
If you could go back in time to when you were first starting to create Bamboo Blonde, what advice would you give yourself?
The past is the past. I really haven’t had time to think about it. I can’t remember what I did last week let alone 10 years ago.
How would you define good fashion sense? And is there such thing as bad fashion sense?
I think it’s up to the individual and how they carry it off. If you’re confident in what you’re wearing, it’s all about individual taste.
How would you describe your own personal style?
You’ll always find me in Bamboo Blonde, but who doesn’t love a bit of boho?
We’re dying to see what new looks next season will bring. Do tell – what can we expect from your upcoming collection?
We are very excited for summer as the earth tones are leaving us and new and exciting colours are coming through. We also have some amazing prints on the table. Check it out.