A divorce, an aesthetic clinic business, and being a single mom – take a small look into Singaporean heiress Kim Lim’s life, and this is what you’ll be able to see.

Last July, socialite Kim Lim finalised her divorce from her ex-husband Kho Bin Kai, after more than 3 years of marriage. If you recall, the two had gotten married in a low-profile ceremony back in 2016, and had their son Kyden in 2017. Football star Christiano Ronaldo even came down to Singapore to visit her after she had given birth, prompting speculations that he’s the father.

Kim revealed that her relationship with Kho had lost its spark, and the couple had been on and off for the past year.

“Rather than trying to survive in an unhappy marriage, it is better to give each other the freedom they yearn for,” she says suavely.

“Actually, we’ve separated over a year ago, so the divorce wasn’t a decision that was made on impulse. Though we can’t be husband and wife, he is still my son’s father. A very responsible father at that.”

Since her separation at the end of last year, Kim had moved into the home of her father Peter Lim and stepmum Cherie Lim in order to have her family to help take care of her child. She said that living together has brought the family’s relationship closer together, and even when they were separated, her ex-husband did not miss family gatherings during New Year and her son’s birthday.

On her divorce

Kim shared that her son’s father is a man of little words. When she suggested divorce, he remained silent.

She also made it clear that it wasn’t a rash decision. She shared that the two had repeatedly reunited and separated over the past year, and she had hoped that the relationship would work out.

In a 2018 interview with ICON, Kim mentioned that the two lived different lives. She is outspoken while he is quiet; she’s into fashion while he dresses simply; she loves sashimi while he only eats cooked foods; she is famous on social media while he doesn’t like the platform.

On her business ventures

The newly-divorced Kim is now turning her attention to her career. While venturing into the world of aesthetic medicine seems like a 180-degree change for the fashion influencer, she isn’t a complete stranger in this field.

“I am still passionate about fashion but I wish to carve a niche for myself.”

Teaming up with an industry insider, she set up two aesthetic clinics from scratch. The first, is haircare centre Papilla Haircare, which opened last year at Ngee Ann City, and the second, aesthetics clinic Illumia Therapeutics, which is located on the fifth floor of Wheelock Centre.

Kim recounts: “The most memorable experience was the day before the opening of the haircare centre. The construction company wasn’t able to finish work on time and in the end, the entire team had to stay behind to clean and finish last-minute preparations until 5am in the morning.”

The two clinics currently employ 23 staff and has an average age of about 30, with Kim being the youngest. Because of that, the heiress felt like she has to work harder. After the clinics opened, she worked six-day weeks, resting only on Sunday when the clinics are closed.

“I feel like my patience has improved,” says Kim of her journey so far as a business owner. She recalls encountering unreasonable customers who screamed at her and her employees, but is quick to add that these experiences helped her grow.

On her billionaire father, Peter Lim

When asked why she didn’t start her business under the Thomson Medical umbrella (owned by her father billionaire Peter Lim), so that she can utilise their resources as a back-up plan, Kim explains: “I want to depend on myself to create a brand. When I was 18, I told my father that I wanted to create an aesthetics clinic, but he didn’t take my word seriously. So I decided to challenge myself, to do everything on my own, and learn and grow from the experience.”

In Kim’s eyes, her father is a doting yet strict parent. He doesn’t say much and has great expectations for his children. She adds, “I was excitedly sharing the results from the opening with him, but his response was lukewarm.”

“He said that this was only a short-term indication, and the final results would depend on how the business continues.” Kim was a little upset at her father’s words, but she understands that it is his way of encouraging her.

Kim’s long-term plans are to expand the business into other regions such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. She also hopes to launch hair care products under the Papilla Haircare label.

Kim Lim 2.0

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As restrictions ease with Phase 2, Kim is back in the groove of things. When asked how she felt about the end of her carefree days as she juggles her two businesses, Kim smiles and says: “My only regret is not pursuing this dream earlier.”

Text: Sylvester Ng / ICON
Translation: Ho Guo Xiong
Additional text: Sally Manik
Featured image: @kimlimhl / Instagram