When a fresh graduate steps out of the comfort of school life and into the real world, the process is usually nerve-wrecking yet exciting at the same time.

Michelle Lee’s journey was no exception.

A motivated architecture graduate, she was determined to make the grade in her job, a hard-working young adult who was keen to build up her career in architecture.

However, she felt the voice of her inner wanderluster growing louder, and slowly, she realised that she had to take steps to acknowledge her passion for travel.


From store to journal

At first, she started an online store selling quirky items that she came across during her travels. while she was still a full-time employee at an architectural firm. But somehow, she wasn’t satisfied.

“I wasn’t satisfied, and I wanted to be able to create my own brand where I design travel products,” Michelle explains in an interview with the Vulcan Post.

Then, she realised that she couldn’t find a journal that adequately fulfilled her travelling needs. Following that, she decided to create the journal on her own.


Dealing with business & design

It wasn’t all smooth-sailing, though. Lee was confronted by the realities of business in the dog-eat-dog world.

“I get to learn about the business aspect of running a business, meeting new people, entrepreneurs and other inspiring individuals. It is definitely something I didn’t imagine myself doing! […] All in all, it’s not just about creating a great product, but to elevate your passion into a successful business. [It] takes structure and discipline,” she says.

The journal also took her much time to design, with numerous trial and error processes, crafting the right logo (she settled on a bear, an animal that she personally loves), deciding on the fonts, making trips to the printing factory, and so on.

“A lot of late nights and hard work are put together and tweaks are done to create a great travel journal,” she says.

Travel Bandits travel journal


Travel Bandits travel journalSource


All of that paid off when she finally launched her journal and set up the Travel Bandits brand. Lee says that “the aim of Travel Bandits was to make travel easy for everyone”. And with the journal, travellers will be able to plan and foresee everything from electricity sockets to budgeting their trip.

While many people prefer to go digital, Lee wants to inspire people to put pen to paper when they are planning or jotting down their trip. “I always felt that putting thoughts on paper gives better expression to our hopes and dreams,” she says.


The future of Travel Bandits

Moving forward, Lee hopes that Travel Bandits would be “an exciting and unique travel store where you can get original one-of-a kind travel products.”

In addition, the ambitious entrepreneur isn’t just looking at Singapore- she wants to go global. “With our aim of making travel easy, we hope our travel products will not only impact the lives of travellers but also those who receive our items as gifts, to inspire them to put their busy lifestyles to explore new cities.”

This post was adapted from an article originally published on the Vulcan Post.

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