KNEADS OF LOVE
Radiant and aglow, 39-year-old health entrepreneur Yen Lim admits she has never known another career in her life. ❚ INTERVIEW LOW LAI CHOW
“Chien Chi Tow Healthcare was my first job,” says the founder of Madam Partum, a modern boutique pregnancy care brand. 17 years ago, Yen Lim joined Chien Chi Tow, her family’s heritage 49-year-old TCM business, right after the completion of her overseas studies.
Similarly steeped in healthful TCM principles, Madam Partum is part of the Chien Chi Tow parent company, which Yen is also the director of.
With the family business being a huge part of her life since young, it is a tradition Yen continues to uphold. Just like how she was raised, Yen takes the opportunity to take her two kids, Ethan and Emma, to the store “to gain someworking exposure like I had”.
“I started helping my dad when Iwas five years old,” she says. “Working and helping out at my dad’s shop during the weekends and my school holidays was a satisfying experience and it became clear to me that this is where I would build my career.”
“Seeing how my father helped his patients recover inspired me,” she said. “It was a natural progression.”
Despite being “the daughter of the boss”, she faced a bumpy ride at the beginning due to her inexperience.
“I had long working hours and literally no days off as I was responsible for the shop operations then,” she said, adding that this lack of experience also madeher the target of bullying by both her colleagues and customers.
But it built up her determination to toughen up and learn fast. A pivotal turning point happened when Yen found herself deeply affected by a disgruntled co-worker who shouted at her at work.
“I could not eat or talk for the whole day and had to swallow my tears,” she recalled. “I had to psyche myself to become a stronger person then.”
Carving Out Her Own Path
The idea for Madam Partum came to Yen a good many years before its actual inception, while she was pregnant in 2011 and 2012. But her plans for Madam Partum were momentarily shelved as taking care of her two children soon took up centre stage in her life.
“After I had given birth to my two children, my priorities shifted to caring for them and I was not able to be as involved in business development,” she said.
It was only when her second child turned three in 2016, that she found more time to take up a more active role within the family business – and really began to sow the first seeds of Madam Partum into existence.
Yen’s father, a TCM physician, founded Chien Chi Tow Healthcare in 1969. Little did Yen know, that nearly five decades later in 2017, she would branch out and launch her own business, providing pre and post partum services to nourish expecting and new mothers.
Initially, Yen did not plan for the pre and post partum massage services to come together as a separate and holistic standalone brand. “I introduced the pre and post partum massage services in addition to our existing range of services at Chien Chi Tow Healthcare,” she explained.“However, I soon realised that an alternative branding was needed as it was not easy appealing to the mummies who are of a younger generation to Chien Chi Tow Healthcare, which is known for TCM treatments and perhaps a stronger, ‘masculine’ persona.”
Birth of a Brand
From there, a new brand was born: “Within six months, Madam Partum was developed and launched inFebruary 2017 at a SuperMom event. It felt like my third child was born then!”
Drawing on the expertise of the existing Chien Chi Tow team of senior therapists, physicians and her father, Yen relentlessly researched TCM massage techniques and beefed up her TCM herb knowledge to tailor- make services that would boost recovery for new mums undergoing their confinement: “Our programme is not just purely TCM-based, but it also includes research in other medical aren as to provide a more holistic approach.”
For Yen, who handled everything from brand-building and business development, right down to the operational and sales processes of Madam Partum, founding the brand was a whole new ball game.
“Being an entrepreneur is challenging and riveting. I feel like there is never enough time in a day forme to do my work and to develop the business further!”
Leading what she calls a “routine lifestyle” that revolves around caring for the children and work, Yen loves chauffeuring the kids to school and other activities, even though this means having to wake up early. “This is when my kids and I usually communicate the most without distraction. It is also when we get to practice their spelling!”
“I find life fulfilling and meaningful when I live to the best of my ability,” she said, adding that juggling both entrepreneur and mum roles enables her to live life to the maximum, while she also works in tandem with her husband, who owns an IT company, to run the household at work as well as advise her on the IT and marketing operations of Madam Partum.
As for her parenting philosophy, Yen sums up her approach as a three-pronged one of “Be, Do and Have”. This in turns means being a role model forher children to look up to; doing things with them and learning together; plus having a safe and warm home environment for them to grow up in.
“It’s still a challenging and learning process for me. My patience is put to the test daily. However, parenting is always interesting and I am never bored. Besides, my kids are so cute!”
Just one thing though. “Sometimes I wish I had more time to exercise, more time for my beauty regime and more shopping time for myself!”
TCM FOR HEALTHY KIDS:
TIPS FROM YEN!
-Nourish with food. “A healthy diet is the most important aspect in ensuring good health for kids. I frequently use traditional TCM herbs for nourishing soup and food recipes.”
-Tailor it to your kids’ needs. “Mothers with special concerns or whose kids are diagnosed with certain medical conditions should consult our team of physicians for more specific and appropriate prescriptions.”
-Add a fine touch. “Perform paediatric massage for overall body wellness and for building up the child’s immunity. It makes for a great bonding time and it also helps to moisturise them,” said Yen. “Lightly pinch the sides of the spine at the sacral area and slowly knead upwards while they are lying on their tummies face down. Do it at least 20-50 times a day to promote blood circulation.”