The Bag Page

What's in designer Jaime Lee's bag?

-- PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
-- PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

The Paper Bunny, a boutique which sells classy, chic items, including greeting cards, notebooks and clutches - all designed by founder and creative director Jaime Lee - is known for its immaculately styled photographs on its Instagram account (@thepaperbunny).

The 29-year-old entrepreneur, who takes the Instagram pictures herself, was praised for being a "flat lay queen" by popular Australia-based fashion blogger Nicole Warne of Gary Pepper Girl (@garypeppergirl) last year.

Flat lays are photographs featuring items, such as clothes and matching accessories, with a common theme, say, things you would take along on a beach holiday. They are arranged in an aesthetically pleasing style and taken from an aerial vantage point.

However, not all was smooth-sailing when The Paper Bunny launched in November 2013.

Ms Lee's first batch of products, which were to be sold at a Christmas market, were delivered in sacks and many were damaged.

"My husband and I stayed up till 5am for a week to sift through all the goods to ensure that only the ones in good condition were sold. It felt like I failed before I'd even begun," she says. Ms Lee's husband, Mr Justin Tan, 31, helps with operations and logistics.

Her clients are mainly women in their 20s and 30s. Besides selling off-the-shelf items, Ms Lee also does customised stationery such as wedding invitation cards.

Not bad for someone who never set out to do business and who describes The Paper Bunny as a hobby that "took on a life of its own".

Ms Lee studied law at the National University of Singapore and had no extended formal background in design.

She trained and practised at law firm Rajah & Tann from 2010 to 2012 after her graduation, but moved on to be a legal counsel in a commodities company. Ms Lee still does that and manages The Paper Bunny at the same time.

Despite her corporate background, she had always loved designing as it was a channel to express herself creatively. As a child, she made her own Christmas cards with scrapbook paper and ribbons.

She started designing her friends' wedding invitations in 2010 and took night classes in graphic design at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts for six months in 2013, before The Paper Bunny was launched in November that year.

"Back then, our designs were cuter than I would have liked. They have since become more mature and stylish," Ms Lee says.

She plans to produce more designs and products such as iPhone covers, and hopes to go international.

Currently, The Paper Bunny's products are stocked at online multi-label stores and at retail spaces such as G.O.D at Clarke Quay Central. The brand also has stockists in Indonesia and Ireland.

Ms Lee shares: "We did not start The Paper Bunny just to make money and get lots of followers.

"We hope to encourage people through phrases on our goods - for example, 'bloom where you're planted'. It's always heartening when people hashtag 'thepaperbunny' on Instagram and write about how the text on our products have built them up."


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7 THINGS IN HER BAG

1. MIU MIU WALLET

This was my first birthday gift from Justin, who was my boyfriend then, five years ago. It’s still in good condition.


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2. APPLE IPHONE 6

I use this to reply to e-mail messages, edit photographs and post them on Instagram.


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3. ETTUSAIS CC CREAM

This gives my skin a glow and prevents me from looking washed out when I work late nights.


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4. THE PAPER BUNNY NOTEBOOK

I write down all the things I have to do, as well as meeting notes. I prefer the feel of paper, compared to handling a digital device.


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5. RINGS FROM FOUNDRY & CO

I always keep these in my bag as I tend to forget to accessorise before leaving the house.


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6. NARS LIP CRAYON

My friend bought me the pink one last Christmas. I loved it so much that I bought another. It glides smoothly onto my lips, has a creamy feel, does not come off easily and is not drying.


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7. RAY-BAN SUNGLASSES

It’s important to protect your eyes when you’re out in the sun. I like how it’s simple, classic and matches everything.