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!"
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."
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.