Jamie Lee, Co-Founder of The Kind Friend
On Starting a Business
What is the story behind The Kind Friend and how did it start?
The Kind Friend was actually started on Instagram (@thekindfriend) by my husband, Deeps De Silva in January 2019 with a mission to uplift others through kindness. These quotes were being shared far and wide and our community started growing really fast. We received messages of support thanking us for the positive posts. We had students writing into us letting us know how alone they feel in this connected world, we had professionals sharing stories with us on how they feel stressed and overwhelmed at work and we had artists sharing their battles with anxiety and depression with us. We saw this as an opportunity to build something for our growing community. We polled our Instagram community on tools they use for well-being and journaling came up on top.
We launched The Kind Friend journal in November 2019 and sold out in 21 days. Our customer base has grown from Singapore to over 56 countries worldwide. We’ve also worked with over 40 organisations globally including Salesforce, AWS, Hubspot, Spotify, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, Accenture, Unilever and Twitch. We are also conducting wellness workshops to help people get started with journaling as well as covering key well-being topics.
The Kind Friend started on Instagram as a place to spread more positivity and kindness. What does this concept of bringing joy to others mean to you and why it is important to spread positive messages to your community?
I never consider myself as smart and my strength is never about spreadsheets.
Over the years many friends and even people that I’ve just met would say that they feel comfortable in my presence, and I love that! I love the idea of being able to create space for others, to make them feel seen and heard. That’s also one of the reasons why we started The Kind Friend hoping to uplift others.
I love using pen and paper as a medium because it allows me to stay away from all the notifications and distractions. It’s crazy to me that most of us carry a journal.
In an interview for Her World, you’ve said you started journaling at the age of 12. What brought you to choose this media and how do you think it is a tool for self-reflection and well-being?
According to the Yale School of Medicine, express writing empowers you to step away from your old unhelpful thinking habits, and helps you to gain self awareness on how to focus and how to prioritize.
world of opportunity on our smartphones but yet we’ve been feeling more anxious and overwhelmed than ever before.
I believe there’s a gentler approach to life and I love how my journals have provided me with so much information about myself. Without it, I would not have started my businesses, I would not understand the value of authenticity, nor would I know how to love myself.
Do you have a morning OR night routine? Can you tell us about your daily rituals and how they help you get it all done in a day?
I do have a very consistent morning routine..
I normally wake up at 6:30am and would start my day with a 45min gym session or an outdoor run. I’d then spend 20-30min writing in my journal about what success means to me for the day.
Instead of reaching for the phone first, I like to reach for things or activities that’s “just for me”. I feel like technology is so ingrained in our lives that we sometimes let notifications and messages take us away from what matters to us to what matters to everyone else.
Of course, I understand that my routine may not work for everyone. butI think having a morning ritual allows you to decrease your emotional reactivity so that you can proactively design the life that you want. They can be about not missing our digital connections or they can be about not missing our soul connections.l I hope we all choose the latter.
What is your conception of self-care and how does it translate into your life?
I spent the first 20 years of my life trying to prove myself, looking for acceptance and external validations. In the end, it didn’t bring joy, happiness and I felt really empty.
To me, the concept of self love and self care is an everyday practice. Just like how you’d make time for physical activities to stay strong and healthy, you also need to invest time into training your “mind” and to introspect.
If you don’t take care of yourself first, how will you take care of others? So connect within yourself first, before you connect with others.
What does kindness mean to you?
I didn’t get to where I am today through schoolwork or classes. The most important things I learnt came from my mum. My parents got divorced when I was 12 years old. My mum was heartbroken, depressed and devastated, yet she was fearless in raising two children in a foreign country on her own. She soldiered on with such dignity that no matter how tough things got, she still managed to forgive and rise above the mess with a smile. She has never stopped inspiring me with her positive view towards life and her compassion for those who have less than we do.
From her, I learnt that kindness is more than just deeds. It’s an attitude and a gift that you could give to anyone. It is about creating a safe space to make others feel included and valued.Check Out The Kind Journals on our site