Meet Suzanne Thee, an entrepreneur and founder at Unwindle, an App to teach people the joy of relaxing through creative activities such as painting and drawing.
Working as a banker in the Netherlands for five years, Suzanne Thee had a pretty mundane life. Like most millennials, she wanted to climb up the corporate ladder and worked hard to prove herself. She was living the same day all year long at work until she decided to delve into something creative to relax. She took up a bunch of creative activities and found her solace in watercolor painting. It became her outlet, helping her channel her inner creativity and attain mental well-being. Soon, she started hosting workshops alongside her corporate job, only to realize that there are others like her.
Growing up with strict Asian parents who always wanted her to do well at school and in life, Suzanne felt the pressure to perform well. This is where her perfectionism and fear of failure developed, which held her back from exploring what else was out there for her. Even with a stable job, she was dissatisfied until she discovered her creative side. Soon after, she quit her job to devote her full time to watercolor painting and founded Unwindle. It felt like she’d finally found her calling, a passion that made her happy.
Talking more about the platform, she says, “I created Unwindle as a safe place to relax and create for people that find it hard to let go of perfectionism, clear their minds, and want to indulge more in self-care. It’s a place to unwind and center yourself while unleashing your creative freedom at the same time. Doing something creative has so many benefits for our mental well-being, research has shown that it helps us to relieve stress, strengthen our immune system, improves our problem-solving skills, memory, and focus, and can help us to process emotions and feelings.
Especially with the many triggers and demands around us, we can often feel overwhelmed and drained of energy. Unwindle is here to give you some relief by doing something creative and supporting you in staying in a positive mindset. We help you with special guided videos to really let go of the day while painting, drawing, or lettering, and we have monthly live sessions to join a like-minded group of people to create together in a relaxing way without any pressure or expectations. See it as creative mindfulness.”
Painting helped Suzanne let go of perfectionism and allowed her to make mistakes. “The beautiful thing about watercolor painting is that you cannot make mistakes. Every ‘mistake’ is another effect that you create and can still turn out beautifully,” she says. It has helped her deal with the burnout and anxiety she had been feeling. Initially, Thee struggled to find a work-life balance, clearing her mind off the stress and slowing down. Now, as an entrepreneur, she sometimes feels lonely, as, unlike a corporate job, she doesn’t have a team by her side. She wants to find the right people who can support the Unwindle vision and reach more people worldwide. She wants everyone to find peace in creativity and take time to relax.
Today, Unwindle has hundreds of users who have found their way to inner peace and have started their self-care journey through their video guidance and live sessions. The response has been positive from all sides, and last year, Suzanne was recognized as the “bringer of peace” in the Dutch Financial Times. From a career in banking to the one in creativity, Thee took a leap of faith that it landed her in a career she actually loves. Leaving an inspiring message for the readers, she says, “Whenever you think you’re not able to do something new, just try it out! Don’t be scared of failure, you. You will surprise yourself and always learn from every experience. Believe in yourself and, most importantly: always be kind to yourself.”