Kim Lim treasures simpler pleasures in life amid new Covid-19 reality

Kim Lim treasures simpler pleasures in life amid new Covid-19 reality
PHOTO: Instagram/kimlimhl

Her name may be associated with beauty, luxury and her billionaire father Peter Lim, but now you can also add entrepreneur and most recently, food delivery person, to Kim Lim's personal status.

The 28-year-old heiress has, among other things, been doing her bit to help out during the Covid-19 crisis by making weekly food drops to frontline health workers in hospitals, polyclinics and clinics around the city.

''I just want to do what I can to cheer the healthcare workers - from the frontliners to the cleaners and security guards - on,'' says Ms Lim. ''I want them to know that everyone is behind them in this fight and that they are appreciated and loved.''

Privileged status notwithstanding, Ms Lim is also experiencing the effects of the novel coronavirus on business and personal life.

The first time entrepreneur recently opened the aesthetic centre Illumia Therapeutics and Papilla Haircare for hair and scalp treatments, but both have been ordered shut since the first circuit breaker measures were introduced on April 7.

''Of course, I'm very worried because we are a very new start-up. And every new company will surely have difficulties. People assume that my Dad is rich so I will be able to maintain the company, but things don't work out that way. A business is still a business and I have to work through this on my own. There are no lifelines or handouts. I'm struggling like everyone else to survive.''

On the bright side, ''we did not lay off any of our staff and continue to pay them their basic pay,'' she adds. ''This Covid-19 period has been an eye opener for me, showing me who our true friends, supporters and loyal staff are.''

Lifestyle changes

She does concede that the coronavirus has thrown her life off-kilter.

''My sense of time is now a bit of a blur. The whole situation has put me on an emotional roller coaster. On the one hand, I'm very sad to see so many people getting sick and suffering, yet I'm also encouraged and proud of our healthcare workers working tirelessly and sacrificing themselves.''

When she's not busy with her food drops and her business, she's pretty much in couch potato mode, ''watching TV, exercising a little and being with my (three-year-old) son Kyden''.

Dress-up affairs are a thing of the past for her as she favours a natural, relaxed look. ''I don't miss getting my face and hair done. I just miss hanging out with close friends, and going out for dinner without any worries.''


The frequent traveller has also put the brakes on her wanderlust.

''I used to travel at least twice a month before I started my business. My favourite cities are Paris, London, Zermatt, Bangkok, Seoul and Taipei. I love the food in Thailand and London, the pure white landscape in Zermatt, shopping in Paris, all the latest beauty trends in Seoul and the culture of Taipei.

''Of course, I miss travelling but since I've started my own business, I've shifted my focus to work. If not for Covid-19, I was planning short trips this year, but I've put all that aside now.''

Being an entrepreneur

If anything, she can't wait to go back to work, which she describes as her ''passion and calling''.

The beauty aficionado says, ''I've wanted to be in the beauty line since I was 19. Back then I was still trying out different things to see what I really liked. I met my business partner Elizabeth Leong a few years ago and she's been in this business for a while. We make a great pair, so we decided to do Illumia and Papilla together.

"Covid-19 has been a shock to our business but I've also learned how businesses have to be resilient, have enough cash reserves and build different revenue streams. Because of the virus, we accelerated the launch of our Papilla Haircare e-store and we've been seeing a steady uptick in online purchases.''

In fact, before the circuit breaker measures, you would find Ms Lim in scrubs at Illumia, helping out with the treatment protocols and consulting with clients.

''I'm super hands-on. Before we started we went overseas to scout for the best treatments and protocols, and trained under world-renowned doctors before deciding which treatments to bring back to Singapore. When we returned, I trained my staff personally to make sure they keep to the same high standards.''

Doing charity work

While there have been calls for the wealthy to contribute more to help with the Covid-19 crisis, Ms Lim says she is taking things ''step by step and helping selected charities directly.''

She herself is not new to charity work as she has always been involved in animal welfare groups, and volunteering with the delivery of food and essentials to seniors over the years.

Now, because of social distancing restrictions, she's only able to do food drops with her business partner, so ''it's a lot of coordination and planning for a two-man team.''


She candidly acknowledges that no matter what she or others do, ''people always love to talk - it's easy to criticise and judge others''.

Still, she reckons, ''it's up to each 'rich' individual to decide if they want to help or not. It's their money, they earned it. It's up to them and they don't owe anyone an explanation. For those who like to judge, maybe they should contribute too, as every little bit helps.''

That said, ''My philosophy is simple. If everyone plays a part whether big or small, it will add up to a huge difference.'' But one thing's for sure. Covid-19 has made her more aware of the simple pleasures in life.

''All the things I used to take for granted, I appreciate a lot more now. A simple dinner out, friendships, a handshake, hugs - these are all the little things I have learned to treasure.''

Personal grooming tips

If there's one thing Ms Lim hasn't given up, it's her beauty routine. And as owner of an aesthetics centre, she's just the right expert to offer some grooming tips.

For those in the middle of treatments for their skin or hair, Covid-19 has proven pretty disruptive. But there are some simple things you can still do in the meantime.

''Hydration is very important for the skin, as it helps to prolong the lifespan of your previous aesthetic treatments. I do lots of face masks at home now, and apply serums or ampoules to nourish my skin.


''I'm a mask queen, so my ultimate beauty hack is to use face masks daily. I prefer water-based ones which are not too rich. If you're using face masks that are loaded with collagen and are very rich, remember to space them out so that you don't get breakouts.''

Don't neglect your body or hair either. ''For my body I use a light scrub once every 10 to 14 days to get rid of dead skin. The frequency also depends on one's age and skin condition. Always remember to moisturise - a richer one for night and a lighter one for the day.''

And don't obsess too much about not being able to colour your hair in the meantime. ''Take care of your scalp first. You can't have nice hair without a healthy scalp. So invest in scalp cleansing and hair tonics to prevent hair loss and encourage hair growth.''

Of course, she has the luxury of using her own beauty and hair products. ''I brought home my favourite products. I have a simple regime - just face wash, serums, mask and moisturiser/sunblock. For hair, I use a scalp mask for detox, followed by shampoo, conditioner and finally tonic.''

To check out Papilla Haircare's products, go to

This article was first published in The Business Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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