From The Straits Times    |

Credit: The Paper Bunny

Chances are, you’ve seen them somewhere, be it somewhere around town, scrolling through your social media feed, or on the shoulders of your friends; adorable puffy bags (that somehow seem to be able to carry the entire world), stylish laptop bags in a spectrum of shades, and vibrant, patterned clothing adorned with prints – all proudly displaying the unmistakable emblem of The Paper Bunny.

Founded in 2013 by Jaime Lee and her husband Justin Tan, The Paper Bunny started as a modest online platform offering planners, notebooks, cardstock, and other paper goods. Fast forward to the present, the brand has not only opened its doors to a brick-and-mortar store (where snaking lines and items flying off the shelves are a common sight) but has also expanded its reach, shipping to more than 50 countries worldwide.

“We’ve had so many stand out moments. One of our pivotal moments was our move into lifestyle in 2018. It was a natural progression, but it was not an easy one,” says Jaime. ‘We had to build trust and that took time.”

Reflecting on the brand’s nascent stages, the entrepreneur reminisces about a pivotal experience that proved to be a valuable lesson: “One of our very early core memories was when we organised a customer event for our third birthday one week before my expected due date of our first child. I only had a team mostly filled with part-timers and 1 person on contract then, and I gave birth one day before the event,” she reveals. 

“In the end, they freestyled and managed to pull off a successful event while I was in the hospital. It really reminded me that surrounding yourself with the right people who believe in you is truly necessary for success as we as individuals are not everything and cannot do everything.”

The Paper Bunny co-founders Jaime Lee and Justin Tan

This year, the brand marks its 10th year anniversary. To celebrate, they opened a special pop-up store dedicated to highlight the brand’s bags and wearables in view of the upcoming festive season. It also boasts a special anniversary collection of 10 classic silhouettes by The Paper Bunny reimagined in new materials, a nod to its continued dedication to exploration and newness, yet practicality and functionality for everyday life, always.

To delve deeper into the brand’s ethos and its future aspirations, we caught up with Jaime to explore her insights on shaping trends and crafting distinctive brands.

Congratulations on reaching the remarkable 10-year milestone! Looking back, what are some other key moments that stand out to you in The Paper Bunny’s journey? 

Some of our other key highlights of our journey also include being part of nationwide co-branded collaborations with brands like Starbucks and Singapore Airlines, back then when collaborating with local brands was not common at all. 

We also did a rebrand in 2020 and launched a new online experience, one that was very important to us and is the TPB that you know today. We opened our first store in 2021, the first physical representation of TPB. 

Can you share the inspiration behind the Self-Care is Health Care initiative launched in 2022, and how it aligns with The Paper Bunny’s vision?

We launched the Self-Care is Health-Care initiative with a partnership with Singapore Association of Mental Health (SAMH), where we curated a range of products for wellness and mental health, worked with SAMH to share content to raise awareness of mental health and donated a portion of the profits from our Self-Care is Health Care campaign to support mental health initiatives for the youth.

Working with the experts who dealt with mental health issues on a daily basis opened our eyes to the great need there was out there and we just wanted to be part of that in our own way. Wellness and mental health is something that is relevant to everyone, and is one that is fundamental to a whole and intentional everyday life. It is a very natural cause for the brand to champion, one that we personally resonated with as well, as it was a cause very relevant to everyday life. Mental health is something personal and not always easy to articulate, and we wanted to be able to speak to that need through our campaigns and offerings. 

The Paper Bunny has created some viral products that captivated a global audience. How does the brand approach product design to strike the right balance between freshness and practicality? 

Thank you for saying that. We keep ourselves updated but we first and foremost create products that meet everyday needs and run campaigns that resonate with our community – that doesn’t change with style and trend.

Our philosophy has been true since day one, to speak to an intentional everyday life. We curate our offerings and design our campaigns with that in mind. We’re not here just to sell another thing, but we find great purpose in having the opportunity to be in our customer’s lives through our messaging and our pieces, whether in a campaign that resonates with them in how they view their week, a planner than helps them get a hold of their days a little better or through a bag that makes their commute a little easier.

On top of that, we are also always looking to incorporate aesthetic, trend and what customers want. It is not always a simple process but it is very rewarding to see people appreciate that process. For the holiday season, we just launched the TPB crowd favourites in fresh, festive colours and in new materials which have been very well received. 

Looking ahead, what can we expect from The Paper Bunny? Are there any upcoming initiatives that will further champion wellness and mental health? 

Wellness and mental health is generally very much at the core of the brand in our messaging and offerings. We are still working out our 2024 plans but we hope to continue to run more meaningful initiatives for our customers to encourage doing something for themselves, finding meaningful routines, discovering joy in the little things, exploring and trying something new. These are very much part of TPB on the regular.

We have also brought in a curation of brands for the festive season to gift, use, incorporate into daily life, with these messagings in mind. We also hope to continue to expand our product range to add pieces that would partner with our community to achieve wellness for themselves.

After the immense success and recognition of your products, what’s the next chapter for The Paper Bunny? 

We hope to grow in new markets, expand our product line and continue to strengthen the brand through new retail experiences, strong campaigns and customer-first products.

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