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How I do it: Jaime Lee

The Paper Bunny creative director runs her own business and is famous for her beautiful flatlays. She tells ELLE how she does it all

By ELLE Malaysia | Published: 30 Nov 2015

HIDI: Jaime Lee
Photo: Jaime Lee

Who are you and what do you do?
I am Jaime Lee, and I run a design and stationery business The Paper Bunny, which provides custom stationery services as well as ready-to-purchase lifestyle products.

HOW I WORK

What time do you wake up? How much sleep do you generally get?
I usually wake up around 7.45am and I try to get seven hours of sleep a day.

What do you eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner?
I try to have a healthy breakfast where possible! It usually comprises fresh fruit with muesli/rolled oats, with a topping of chia seeds and cinnamon powder. If I have no time in the morning to chop fruit, I usually leave home with a simple sandwich of natural peanut butter on wholemeal bread.

What do you usually wear?
I usually pick pieces that are comfortable and easy to move around in, as I have to move around for meetings and don't want to be in anything too fussy.

What time to you get to work and how do you get there?
I usually get to work around 9.30am. I take the train!

What tasks do you have at The Paper Bunny?
I am heading the creative team at The Paper Bunny, which includes the creation of products from the design all the way to packaging of the end product, as well as marketing and PR roles. As the owner of a small business I also have other administrative responsibilities such as customer relations, employment matters and managing our pop-up spaces. I am usually replying emails, designing or styling for social media – you can see more of our styled feed at @thepaperbunny on Instagram.

What time do you leave the office?
I usually have meetings and go in and out of work. I try to be home by 7pm unless I have a dinner or an event to attend.

Do you exercise/go to the gym?
Yes I do, as much as I can. I usually go around lunch time for a high intensity training class which is short but packs a punch. As I grow older I do feel like I need to work extra hard to keep it all together, and with the little time I have, it is important to prioritise getting a workout!

What do you do after work?
I'm usually meeting up with people, clients or family for dinner, or attending events. On days I don't have anything on, I'm usually home with my husband for dinner and working on outstanding pieces, which is rest time for me.

CAREER ADVICE

What's the best lesson you've ever learned on the job?
I don't think I have a "best" lesson, but I do find that with creative work especially, it is easy to compare and feel insecure or discouraged when you look at all the amazing work around you, and I have moments where I feel unsure of my own work and skills. As a creative, you need to believe in yourself and do what you're called to do because everyone is different, and the style and art you create represents you and your brand. There's really no need to compare because the market is big enough for everyone and all kinds of work, and it is so important that you find your own voice.

What challenges have you faced in your work?
Finding good partners is always a challenge. We are very thankful for the people who have stayed by us, and worked with us to put out good products. We've definitely had our fair share of disappointments and wasted products amidst tight timelines that didn't meet our expectations, and those were definitely stressful moments as we really are very particular about quality and customer satisfaction and so many things are out of our control.

How do you overcome setbacks?
I'm very thankful for my husband who helps to keep me together when things seem to be falling apart. We make decisions together especially when I really need a sounding board or feel like things are not going the way I planned, and deal with issues from a problem-solving standpoint rather than dwell on why it was this way. I'm very thankful that we haven't had any setback that has been insurmountable so far.

What's your secret to being productive?
Never stop working! (Laughs) And definitely factor in time for things that matter to you, that give you your sanity, like time with loved ones or time for yourself.

What's the best career advice anyone has ever given you?
Do one thing well.

What advice would you give someone aspiring to do what you do (in terms of your career)?
It looks glamorous being an entrepreneur or stylist but trust me the most glamorous bits are on Instagram. There is so much heartache and hard work, sleepless nights, sweat, blood, tears and worries involved, you must know why need you to do what you do, because that will keep you going when things get really crappy and everything is falling apart.

Do you have a life motto or philosophy?
Not anything very poetic, but I always believe in keeping your feet on the ground, your eyes upwards, your hands busy, and heart always brave and kind.

AFTER HOURS

What songs are on your playlist now?
Christmas carols! And that new Justin Bieber album

What must you always have in your bag?
My phone, my makeup purse, my mints and my notebook.

What's your favourite fashion/beauty cheat?
Twisting and clipping up my hair to sleep, and letting it down the next morning. It gives me instant curls the next morning without a blowout, and I can usually say "I woke up like this!"

What inspires/kick starts your day?
Coffee and reading my Bible. Coffee keeps me awake and reading my Bible grounds me and puts my racing heart at rest.

What is the one thing you can't avoid but would rather not have in your day?
Sleeping late. We always try to get into bed earlier but there's always something or another to finish. We are still working at it though!

How often do you take a holiday and where do you like to go?
We try to do one trip that's a little longer a year, and small trips to neighbouring countries just to chill out by the pool. Earlier in 2015 we went to Iceland, which was one of the most memorable trips we'd had so far. I would love to go to Croatia, I've heard it's beautiful! I actually still have so many places I'd love to visit and given a chance I'd visit them all.

(Photos: Jaime Lee)


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