Meet Raena Lim, co-founder of Style Theory and sustainability advocate! We sat down with to catch up on what’s keeping this #girlboss busy these days.
Hi Raena, with Style Theory celebrating our third year, what are you excited about?
There’s so much to look forward to in our third year! What I’m most excited about is our growth in both Singapore and Indonesia, where we see more people being successfully educated of a smarter, more sustainable way to consume fashion through fashion rental subscription.
We have also shifted gears to launch more sustainable projects with our latest initiative–Style Theory Share programme to champion our cause in Singapore. The programme sets out to support a greener way of life with our social movement to reduce textile waste simply by consigning your unused clothes and designer bags to Style Theory for our subscribers to rent from. We’re excited to participate in the circular economy with this project, along with other initiatives with our partners.
We’re also looking to expand with more events for our community, and more presence in the offline spaces. We’re in the works to create more drop-off points to make our #WomenOfStyleTheory lives convenient.
What about Style Theory Bags?
Where do I get started? We’re super excited to have a collection of over 1,000 designer bags in the short span of launching the Bags division and the community that believes in our business as well. It’s a win-win for our subscribers because they get to live more sustainably with less consumption–all part of our sustainable movement.
We’ll be meeting more of our bags’ subscribers and consignors through events hosted by our community team, so my team and I are very excited! It’s always an experience to learn from our subscribers who have been so helpful and encouraging throughout the three years.
How do you balance your passion projects with work?
Style Theory has been a passion project since the beginning. Typically, “passion projects” have a bad rep about the inability to scale in the start-up world, but we like to see it as something that’s close to our hearts and motivating us to do what we do and why we do it.
Style Theory is so closely tied to a sustainable way of consuming fashion and being more deliberate, conscious and committed to making a financially-responsible and environmentally-conscious change as an individual.
This passion has evolved into a movement we try to inculcate across the company and our partners we choose to work with. We want this movement to involve our community who understands our vision and shares our passion. Together with our community, we want to graduate this from a project to a real thing.
Sustainability has been a passion project of mine and I’m glad that Style Theory has embarked to take actions and consciously reduce our packaging waste, improve our carbon footprint, and also include our community along the way. We’re in our third year now and we can start to see our impact, be it big or small, and we’ll keep going at it.
Sustainability as a lifestyle. What does that mean to you?
Being sustainable is both exciting and guilt-inducing. You’re always left feeling “did I do enough?” or “is my role enough?”. It could be the simplest things of not using a metal straw and its impact on the environment, or if I accidentally use a plastic bag, what are the implications? Am I killing a turtle? There is a lot of education needed in this space about what can people do, and it can be a gradual shift in lifestyle.
If you do it in manageable steps, you’ll see that sustainability at home and at the workplace isn’t difficult. It’s even easier if you surround yourself with a community that cares and advocates for the same causes.
With all the projects and travelling between the regional offices, what are four productivity tips you can share to keep up with the busyness?
1. Stay on top of your list
It’s nearly impossible to be productive while multitasking–there’s simply too many distractions on social outlets these days. Personally, I rely on my calendar in the cloud and digital checklist for everything–from meetings and product launches to planning ahead, I prefer to keep it digital. I know some of my friends prefer paper planners to digital records, and it’s fine! We all need somewhere to put all these to-do lists, keep track of due dates, make lists, plan out our week, and check off big tasks.
2. Take breaks
What I found to help me stay motivated and produce high-quality work throughout the workday is to take a break from my tasks. It could be a reward for checking something off your to-do list or a few minutes without work to relax and destress. Schedule email breaks, text breaks, and even Instagram breaks so you have time to do these instead of productivity-killing tasks.
3. Reach out beyond the screen
Self-improvement is so crucial yet often neglected. Find a role model beyond your social circle so you can set a standard to strive for or compare yourself with. If it’s not possible, read more books to learn from industry leaders like Elon Musk and Cheryl Sanberg.
It’s important to identify areas of improvement and try to find someone who is known to do that particular skill really well and seek out that person to help me with that. To practice this, I reach out to my circle of over 50 friends and informal mentor-turned-friends who I can call if I need help in any areas–from understanding when to order a tumpeng to how to restructure a company.
4. Create morning routines
Mornings can be a blur unless you create routines for yourself. It could be as simple as setting out your outfit the night before, putting in 30 minutes each morning to catch up on the news. I wish I had more time to exercise during the week. To make up for it, I try to eat healthier–especially when travelling and on the weekends!