Singapore — Billionaire heiress Kim Lim recently got candid with 8days.sg in an interview during which she spoke about building a beauty empire for her son, dealing with “Karens” at her clinic and whether she sees herself getting married again.
Kim, 29, is the daughter of billionaire Peter Lim. He is a business magnate, philanthropist and owner of Valencia CF with a net worth of S$2.6 billion, according to Forbes.
In the interview published on Sunday (Sept 20), Kim, who had just launched her skincare line, talked about the future. Since becoming the boss of her aesthetics clinic Ilumia Therapeutics earlier this year, she learned that she can be very patient in situations where anyone else would lose her temper.
She shared about difficult customers or “Karens”, who she faces personally when she goes to Ilumia’s Wheelock Place outlet four or five times a week. Before the Circuit Breaker, she was there six days a week. “Karens” refers to women who are obnoxious and entitled, those who throw tantrums over being told to wear a mask in a store or show other kinds of unreasonable behaviour.
A “Karen” she met was a Chinese national who did not want to pay for a trial treatment she insisted was free when it was not. The prices are stated clearly on the website. “She started shouting and swearing and scolding me, and just screaming like a mad woman even though it really wasn’t our fault,” Kim recalled. “I told her to stop screaming in my clinic and asked her to get out, and wah, she took her card and threw it at us. It was very bad.”
Kim responded in a calm way. She kept her cool the whole time despite being annoyed. She could not hide her look of annoyance, though.
“Normally, I would have scolded her back, but I kept quiet ‘cos after all, she is still a customer,” she said. “My staff kept looking at me nervously as if they were afraid I was going to explode, but I never did. I just looked at her calmly and said, ‘You don’t need to be so rude.’ Now when I look back, I should have called security.”
Luckily, Kim does not encounter such behaviour very often. She says most of her customers are very nice people. Kim loves her job so that makes things a lot easier. The heiress is also passionate about her work and the beauty industry as a whole.
With her family’s wealth, one may think Kim’s life is about lavish parties, luxurious shopping sprees and other Crazy Rich Asians-like stuff. Just as one would have thought, she does live an affluent life. Her social media account shows off designer clothes, fancy cars, posh restaurants and private jets. However, Kim is also hardworking and she does her best for her businesses instead of just putting her name on them and calling it a day. Kim admits that she also micromanages things.
“I have to know what’s going on and check everything for myself,” she said. So don’t be surprised if you see her helping out with consultations at her beauty clinic or even assisting the doctors during procedures. “I tell them what are the right things to say and make sure everything is done properly and done well.”
The savvy businesswoman applied this similar hands-on approach to the development of the first product from her new skincare line Ilumia Skin by Kim Lim, a sheet mask called Baby Drops. The product was formulated in a lab in South Korea and she has been working on it for about six months. The mask is the first item to be ready for launch, to be followed by a serum by the end of the month.
The process was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic and it stopped her from travelling to Korea to supervise things. Kim had to host Zoom meetings and wait for the mask samples to be shipped to Singapore so she could try them out. Each Ilumia product and treatment is tested by Kim before it is made available for sale. The masks cost S$139 for a box of five. The price is due to the ingredients, which are powerful but costly stem cell extracts, and the mask is of high quality.
Since the launch of the masks on Friday (Sept 11), about half the stock has been sold, according to Kim. This is just the start of what Kim hopes to develop into her own international beauty empire offering all kinds of services and products for everyone. She is working on her line of skinny foods that are not just healthy but delicious as well. Kim is also planning to go into orthopaedics and is working to bring a plastic surgeon for Ilumia.
Kim is also the founder of scalp treatment centre Papilla Haircare.
“Being popular on Instagram has its perks, but after a while it’ll be gone ‘cos there will always be new people coming,” she mused, demonstrating an extremely grounded outlook on life. “What remains is the legacy of my businesses. I can’t pass on my Instagram [to the next generation], so I want to focus on building a business that can last long. The end goal is to pass it all on to (son) Kyden or my cousin’s kids one day.”
The subject of Kim’s recent divorce from Kho Bin Kai was mentioned during the interview. She seemed all right with mentioning it. “I mean, that’s life, and it goes on as normal,” she said. “We’re living in modern times now. If you’re not happy, then just move on lor, it’s very simple to me.”
Kim was asked if the breakup had to do with her former husband not being supportive of her dreams. She responded: “We’re not compatible, that’s all. It’s not about anything else. Just that.”
She previously also told a local magazine that their romance had simply fizzled out. Although they are not together, Kim said that they are “cool with each other” and “can talk like good friends”. During the weekends and public holidays, she lets Kyden go over to his father’s house and spend time with him.
As for whether she sees herself getting married again, Kim said: “Maybe in like 10 years? When my business is doing much better. For now, my work is everything, and the most important thing is building my own empire, and doing it fast and doing it well.”
Kim was asked if she was dating anyone now but did not mention anything. /TISG