Entrepreneur

This S'pore Founder Grew Her Journal Biz From An IG Account, Now Ships To Over 27 Countries

“How often do we hear about being kind or showing more kindness?”

After musing, Jamie Lee and her husband Deeps de Silva started an Instagram page to spread kindness and bring motivation to their followers.

The Kind Friend‘s Instagram page was started in January 2019, and in less than a year, the page managed to garner over 50,000 followers.

Today, they have an impressive following of over 80,000 followers.

Jamie, co-founder and CEO of The Kind Friend told Vulcan Post in an interview that the brand’s followers would often interact with its Instagram account.

From that, she realised that people of all ages and demographics were trying to understand “how to lead a happy and meaningful life, and cope with stress and anxiety.”

She then began to conduct surveys via the brand’s Instagram stories, and realised that there was a strong product-market-fit between her followers and journalling.

This realisation led to the birth of The Kind Friend — journals with specialised templates.

From Instagram Page To Full-Fledged Business

the kind friend journal
Image Credit: The Kind Friend

Jamie shared that on The Kind Friend’s Instagram stories, the duo found that people were open to the idea of journalling, but having blank pieces of paper was “daunting”.

Thus, she decided to come up with templates to make the journalling process easier for her customers.

The ex-Regional Growth Partnerships Lead at Carousell decided to create a landing page to survey if her followers were willing to buy journals with templates in them.

To her surprise, more than 4,000 people signed up in less than 20 days.

That was the tipping point, and she decided to quit her full-time job and work on The Kind Friend instead.

The Kind Friend was officially launched on November 22, 2019 and within three weeks, all the journals were sold out.

Currently, the notebooks come in five different colours, and each notebook will set you back by S$30.

Each journal includes 26 weekly templates that help users to set goals, track habits and moods, and prompt them to reflect on their week. 

The brand also ships to over 27 countries, and has over 40 corporate clients including Google, Facebook, Accenture and Spotify.

How Relevant Is A Journal Today?

the kind friend journal
Image Credit: The Kind Friend

In today’s world, going digital is all the rage. Thus, it might be hard to imagine individuals doodling for hours to beautify their journals.

However, Jamie confirms that there is indeed a demand for her physical notebooks.

“We have sold thousands and thousands of journals and no one customer has ever come back to me and said they wanted an app,” mused Jamie.

Instead, customers were asking for more templates, colours and so on.

According to the 32-year-old Jamie, we spend almost two thirds of our lives on digital devices and people are craving for time where they can be still and avoid their gadgets.

In addition, she shared that there is a lot of science behind writing, as the movement stimulates our working memory and helps us to problem solve.

“When people have to brainstorm in meetings, they will say let’s have a whiteboard session — No one ever suggests to have a typing session,” said Jamie.

Furthermore, The Kind Friend’s customers come from all corners of the globe, and consist of many different age groups.

For example, Jamie shared that parents have also started using the product with their young children as a way to incorporate reflection and mindfulness into their routine.

Making The World A Kinder Place

the kind friend
Image Credit: The Kind Friend

Journalling is an activity that Jamie holds close to her heart.

When she was 12, her family immigrated to Australia from Taiwan. Despite being extroverted, she had troubles making friends due to the language barrier.

Besides, she was also trying to cope with her parents’ divorce.

“I became moody and distracted, and it was fortunate that my mother decided to bring me to see a therapist,” she reflected.

It was through her therapy sessions that she learnt the science behind journalling and how it could greatly help with one’s mental and physical well-being.

She continued to journal throughout her life, and in university, it became a way for her to track her goals and ambitions.

This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Jamie’s focus for journalling changed, and it became a way to show gratitude for those around her.

She also noticed that The Kind Friend’s Instagram followers were using the quotes they posted as a way to show care for their friends and family.

In the context of Asia, people tend to be more guarded when showing gratitude outrightly.

Hence, the team decided to turn some of their most popular quotes into ‘Gratitude Cards’.

Since she is the business of promoting mental health and mindfulness, The Kind Friend also conducts workshops and presentations on the topic.

Even though the brand has evolved significantly from an Instagram page to several product lines in just over a year, it will always be focused on kindness.

“Our brand will always stay true to our value of making the world kinder place, and our product lines will always be associated with that.”

Featured Image Credit: The Kind Friend

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