This Young Entrep Refuses to Let ADHD Get Between Her and Her Dreams
Back in the day, when you are diagnosed with an anxiety problem or any form of mental illness, people tend to form their opinions, which includes not being capable enough to handle your own business, let alone juggling school and work. But Kim Tiam Lee begs to differ. Now an architect, licensed real estate broker, entrepreneur, and a jewelry maker, Kim proves that nothing should stop you from pursuing your dreams—even ADHD.
How it started. "I was on my final year of Architecture school, working on my thesis and coped with the stress by hand making jewelry."
Kickoff. "Starting up Pulseras by Kim actually felt very gradual. I started posting my creations on my personal Facebook account and interestingly enough got inquiries from friends. I started by just charging them for the materials and ended up making and posting designs more frequently. From there, I made social media accounts for my brand and eventually learned more about brand identity, product photography, website development, and eventually going into partnering with stockists to create a physical presence of my online brand."
Why Pulseras by Kim? "I’ve always loved making accessories ever since I got those bead sets as a child. My creative knack for things, passion for anything handmade, and Architecture background had a huge influence on my decision."
Young entrepreneur. "Being a young entrepreneur is both hard and not at the same time. I absolutely love being my own girl boss, but sometimes all the ideas, plans, schedules, and tasks can get overwhelming. Since I have ADHD, it can get intensely exciting doing everything at once, but at the same time I also get anxious. I have my parents to thank for guiding me in dealing with my anxiety by organizing the list of things I have to do via a simple tool: a checklist and taking time to meditate, and plan ahead."
Aesthetic. "Minimalist. Classic, clean, simple and straight to the point. I’ve always been a minimalist whether in architecture, styling, or my jewelry."
Choosing the look. "It was more on applying my personal style, basically what I look for in a product. My brand mainly focuses on simple lines, symmetrical shapes, and positivity by channeling power words on certain pieces. They’re every day pieces that can perfectly match any outfit."
Drawing Inspiration. "I draw a lot of my inspiration from my background as an architect. Architecture encompasses so much of the Arts and Sciences that it can be applicable to so much in life and I believe that I’ve found that connection through jewelry. Making sure the fit is right, measuring the proportion of the chain to the pendants, creating different lengths to emphasize a certain neckline. The art is in the details."
Flying solo. "I own the brand, but recently I’ve been taking in helping hands for production and sales to be able to focus more on the design and direction of the brand. Plus I still have a day job so it’s ideal to delegate certain tasks."
Little challenges. "Owning your own business means every decision would solely be coming from you, so you have to accept the consequences of these decisions, good or bad you just take everything with a grain of salt. At the start, sourcing was tough, I started Pulseras by creating costume jewelry, so the material wasn’t so great, the metal’s coating eventually faded, the clasps would always get stuck, and quality control was bad since in my mind the materials had to be cheap so I could make a profit. But making a sale wasn’t making me happy, knowing that the products that I was making was temporary. So I decided to turn things around and source higher quality materials that may cost more (meaning I have to charge more), but it was something I could be proud of. Plus, it makes me feel better knowing that my brand is not contributing to the waste build up of fast fashion and consumerism."
Staying original. "The three main things that I believe are unique to my brand are:
Material. I’ve searched far and wide for a material that can be worn daily, is hypoallergenic, won’t turn your skin green and at a reasonable price range. That material is gold filled, meaning that the gold content in it is greater than just being plated so you can bathe with your jewelry. You can even wet it on the beach without worrying that it will fade or get ruined.
Size inclusivity.Women (and men) come in all shapes and size and I believe that jewelry should be, too. So every piece can be customized to fit your preferred size—from the necklaces to the bracelets and rings. Plus there’s no additional cost for that.
DIY Bar. Pop-ups are always fun because I get to interact with so many people and make their dream jewelry piece come true! You can choose from charms and gemstones, have a word, or name hand stamped unto a pendant to create a truly unique piece."
What's next? "Plans for this year is to expand to more stockist partners. We currently have five namely, Hey Kessy at UP Town Center, Hey Kessy at Alabang Town Center, Common Room at Katipunan, Craft Central at SM North Edsa and Kendo Creative at the Cubao Expo. I’m planning to add more as soon as the existing ones are running smoothly.
I also want to create more workshops and build a community. I’m currently teaching hand stamped jewelry making. I want to create more classes and diversify DIY because there’s just a special bond when you teach students in a workshop and I love helping someone find his/her creative niche. I would also love to join more pop-ups too and hopefully get the opportunity to put up my own shop in the next few years!"
Collaboration over competition. Build each other up, get to know and partner with different brands, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve with an awesome community.
To young budding entrepreneurs. "Find something you like doing even when it’s 3 am in the morning and you still have class/ work the next day and just give it a shot. Sharing is so easy nowadays because of social media, use that platform, your platform to create and share. As a teenager/ young adult, don’t stress about the money, make something that you find useful or amazing and simply build on that."
Know any young entrepreneurs? Leave a comment below and you just might see them on the site next week!
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First. Pixie dust and paper cuts – these are the first things Wendy knew about Peter Pan. Aurora first met Prince Philip when she was sixteen. Learning how to ride a bike was also a first while I was growing up, but you are probably the first of too many. The first collection of dust and stars; maybe Luna will try to ask, who was your first? I might answer and tell her that it was you.
The first of too many stars in the sky. You are the first of too many fallen leaves during fall – and you will be the most anticipated snowflake as winter comes. A dark path that you can’t see without any light, hence, you were once the moon and there are the stars that shine so bright at night. Are we too early? Or we just really want to be ahead of time? Even in a glimpse, I would like to see the two of us connect as if we can reach the sky. There are other parts of the heavens you have never saw and other oceans you haven’t laid your feet onto – but the constellations will always wait for you. Close your eyes, love, close your eyes. Start counting backward: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Count backward until you see the twinkling lights that will guide you to the right path. To the right satellite; to the right person. A first.
There are many firsts – first love, first heartbreak, first sport you played, the first thing you do in the morning, the first thing you remember about the person in front of you. There are a lot. It’s actually up to us how we will consider something as a first. So, Primo, you are already a first of too many.
If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.
And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.
Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.
Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”