10 Years Of The Paper Bunny: Co-Founder Jaime Lee Reflects On A Decade Of Style

This year, The Paper Bunny celebrates its 10-year milestone—co-founder Jaime Lee talks about her journey so far, her new-pop-up and what’s next for the brand
Jaime Lee. Photo: Courtesy of The Paper Bunny

Congratulations on The Paper Bunny’s 10th Anniversary! How would you describe this journey from growing your brand to making the leap of faith to making this your full-time job and gaining a cult-following?

Jaime Lee (JL): Thank you for the well wishes! The journey has been nothing but an exciting one. We have gone through so many ups and downs, many moments we felt despair and anxiety, yet many others marked with significant wins and joys. It’s been 10 years of riding this entrepreneurial rollercoaster, and the journey keeps Justin (my co-founder and husband) and myself humble and very grounded.

Jaime Lee and Justin Tan. Photo: Courtesy of The Paper Bunny

The Paper Bunny made headlines not too long ago as shoppers lined up for hours waiting to get their hands on the viral puffer swing. Did you anticipate so much support from fans of the brand? Why do you think The Paper Bunny’s products (especially the puffers!) resonate so much with the community?

JL: The recent launch was for three of our bags in the Puffer category—the launch of the Mini Puffer Swing and the restock of the Puffer Shopper and Puffer Swing. Given that we have had a few well-received launches since the beginning of the year, we did expect a crowd and a queue, but the turnout for the last launch was a lot more than anticipated.

I think the fact that we create pieces first and foremost for the everyday life of our community—pieces that would be practical, thoughtful in function, comfortable for use, on top of looking good—it resonates. I think that when people buy a piece from The Paper Bunny, they can tell that we’ve prioritised the customer experience. I think that, as well as having designs which are versatile and relevant across age, gender and style preferences, has contributed to the wide appeal of our pieces.

The Paper Bunny has managed to rise above the rest as a wellness and lifestyle brand in an age where consumer preferences and trends are constantly changing—what is your approach and strategy for dealing with the ever-changing market?

JL: 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.

Lee at The TPB Element Pop-Up. Photo: Courtesy of The Paper Bunny

What have been the highlights of your journey with The Paper Bunny? Any funny or interesting anecdotes (or also challenging moments) that you would like to share?

JL: My favourite thing about this journey is being able to do it with our team, and to have achieved all the various milestones together.

One early memorable core memory was organising our third anniversary event one week before we were due to have our first child, with a team of part-timers (we didn’t even have a full time team back then), and then giving birth a day before the event happened. It is funny on hindsight but not so when it happened—I got up from my contractions to stick labels on our event gifts so I could complete them in time before going into labour.

We’ve had plenty of challenging moments and highlights, from being the first local brand to collaborate with Starbucks, having our artwork plastered across a building, worrying about cash flow, pivoting in the pandemic, opening our first store, moving into our new studio, and now we’re anticipating the opening of The TPB Element Pop-Up—we cherish everything that has brought us to where we are today.

The TPB Element Pop-Up. Photo: Courtesy of The Paper Bunny

Collaborations are a rather exciting venture of The Paper Bunny, what do you look for when embarking on a collaborative journey with another brand? Can you share more about the creative process and how you work with balancing elements from each side of the collaboration?

JL: We have been part of various kinds of collaborations over the years, but our favourite ones are where we get to partner with like-minded brands to create pieces that combine the essence of both brands. With the recent collaboration with cheak, we spent a lot of time ideating together what the core essence of the collection should be, what core elements from each brand should be highlighted, and the tag lines and messaging that would anchor the collection. That process, while tricky sometimes, really is the foundation of a well-balanced collaboration where both brands get to shine.

Photo: Courtesy of The Paper Bunny

How would you describe the evolution of The Paper Bunny over the course of 10 years? Did you have a specific vision of how the brand would grow when you first started the brand?

JL: We’ve come a very long way. Justin and I started this whole thing as a passion project, out of a desire to create pieces that we could use ourselves in our everyday lives. We were doing this at night while straddling day jobs as lawyers, and would have never imagined that we would one day be opening stores and have a global following.

We grew very organically over the last 10 years, starting off with lifestyle stationery pieces. As our audience grew with us, it became apparent that The Paper Bunny was never just about the medium, and our customers wanted more from the brand with the same heart, messaging and aesthetic. We expanded officially into lifestyle in 2018 and grew our offerings into a range that our community could wear, carry, gift and more from. We didn’t have a specific vision of how we would grow, but every year has been momentous since.

Photo: Courtesy of The Paper Bunny

What are your current goals for The Paper Bunny?

JL: We are working towards strengthening the brand, bringing The Paper Bunny to new markets and expanding our product line.

What can we look forward to from the brand?

JL: New experiences, new markets and new offerings—we’re excited for a brand new year ahead and can’t wait to share them with our community.