Kim Abelar Gets Real About Business, Life, and Motherhood
Kim Abelar, the woman behind Kim’s Diary, gives Modern Parenting an exclusive peek into her life as a mother of two and empowering women and mothers through i-Fern Mini Ladies and Million Glow.
The name Kim Abelar may not be very familiar to many. But Kim’s Diary will surely ring a bell most especially on social media. After all, she has thousands of follow requests. But only those close to her get access to her personal and family life.
“At first, it was really just a diary,” she told Modern Parenting during her shoot. “Yung close friends ko lang fina-follow ko at ina-aaccept sa IG ko. Kaya tinawag ko na Kim’s Diary kasi updated yung buhay ko doon sa Instagram. Today, ganon pa din naman except that I use it for a different mission.”
More than her personal life, Kim’s Diary has a different meaning for her followers. As the woman behind i-Fern Mini Ladies and Million Glow, it comes with responsibility, on top of being a mom to two kids, and a devoted partner to i-Fern President and CEO Tommanny Tan.
On raising her children
Before she became known as the influencer, entrepreneur, and CEO that she is today, Kim Abelar’s main focus in her early years was to be a good mom. She has two children – daughter Nicole (or Chichi), 21, and a son, JV, who is 13. Nicole is currently studying in Houston, while JV stays with his dad on weekdays and is with Kim on weekends.
“At first, sila muna yung focus ko. Meron akong mga businesses like spas, franchises, restaurants, basta hindi naman kailangan ng full attention,” she shared. Kim is the first to admit that she is not a typical mom. In fact, she has raised her daughter Nicole, who is a champion golfer, to be very independent at a young age.
“Strong kasi yung personality ko so I wanted Chichi to be the same. Minsan I don’t want to show her pag umiiyak ako para hindi siya mag-alala.“ Napalaki ko siyang independent na bata. At the age of 4 ½ years old, she started to play golf and today, she competes sa U.S.” Since Nicole left for university, she would only see her daughter twice a year — for her birthday and during Christmas.
As for her son, she entrusted him to her ex-husband after graduating from grade school. “Of course gusto ko kasama ko siya. But at this stage in his life, he’s a teenager, I feel na yung dad niya ang mas fit na magturo at magpalaki sa kanya kasi pareho silang lalaki. Iba pa din ang kayang ituro ng father sa son niya, and I want him to have that privilege. Nandito lang naman ako anytime.”
Making the blended family work
Kim is grateful that her children and her partner Tommanny Tan have a very good relationship. But she admitted that at the beginning of their ten years of togetherness, things were not always easy. “Yung first three years magulo kasi ang daming personalities. Pero when my ex saw how much Tom loved our kids at hindi niya pinapahirapan ang mga anak namin, they became friends,” she said of her ex-husband’s initial reaction to the relationship.
Kim recalled the time when her daughter Nicole told her dad about celebrating her birthday. “Tinanong ng daddy niya saan mag-birthday si mommy. Sabi ni Chichi, ‘We’re going to celebrate her birthday with Tito Tom. Are you gonna come or not? Nung chinallenge siya, sabi niya, ‘Okay, I’ll come.’ Doon na nag-start.”
Kim said that despite her relationship not working out with her ex-husband, they are secure enough to put their differences aside for the children. So the family tries to celebrate birthdays, holidays and even take trips together. She also does not believe in sticking it out in a relationship just for the sake of the kids even if the love is gone.
“Hindi ako naniniwala na magkasama lang kayo dahil sa kids. Pwede kayo mag co-parenting ng ex partner niyo kahit hiwalay kayo,” she said. “Ako yung tao na hindi nag-pepretend just for the sake of show. For me, being a good mom or a good parent is not measured by your marital status. Sometimes, mas okay pa nga maging parents when you are apart kesa maging parents while living together kasi mas masaya ka, hindi ka miserable. And that will show sa lahat ng aspeto ng buhay mo. Happy parents equals happy kids.”
As for her relationship with Tommanny’s children, Kim expressed that she knows her place. Her ex-husband and Tommanny are friends. They all agree that they always have to prioritize what’s best for the kids.
Empowering women through business
As a woman who dabbled in different businesses, ran a string of spas and restaurants, Kim is not a stranger to hard work. Currently, she is busy and very passionate about her current ventures: i-Fern Mini Ladies, a separate branch of i-Fern (the makers of Fern-C and Fern-D) and Million Glow by Kim’s Diary.
i-Fern Mini Ladies has been around for over a year. This started during the pandemic because of her simple desire to empower women. Kim saw how successful the resellers of i-Fern were and she wanted to do something a little more extra to educate, motivate and show women, especially mothers, that they too can be succesful.
“My partner, Tommanny Tan, owns i-Fern and nakita ko kung gaano niya natulungan ang napakadaming tao. So I decided nung pandemic na kailangan ko tulungan at turuan ang mga kababaihan na mag-trabaho sila on their own,” Kim explained. “Kasi yung mga married, nagiging shadow sila nung mga asawa nila. Yung iba naman mga single moms na gustong umasenso. So doon nag-start yung i-Fern Mini Ladies club. It’s an exclusive group of women resellers or distributors of i-Fern products and ako ang mentor nila. As of today, 69 of them drive Mini Coopers.”
Giving some details about how it works, Kim shares that the ladies in the sales force would get incentives ranging from luxury products, trips, and cars if they reach a specific quota. As a proud momma to the i-Fern Mini Ladies, she beamed that the group continues to grow. “Until now, padami kami ng padami. Iba’t ibang mga backgrounds na ng mga kababaihan ang sumasali, from doctors, accountants, and even college students.”
Taking advice from her daughter
For her latest venture called Million Glow by Kim’s Diary — a range of beauty drinks, Kim sought the advice of the experts who work at i-Fern and sourced the ingredients from Japan and Korea. At the height of the pandemic, Kim thought of selling beauty drinks because of the availability of technology thanks to TikTok, and the background of her partner in the pharmaceutical and vitamins industry. “Sabi ko bakit hindi ko i-grab yung opportunity since nandoon naman kami sa line ng health and beauty.”
This time, Kim also decided to involve her daughter Nicole to get her input on the products, hoping for her seal of approval. “Nagtatanong ako sa kanya kasi Gen Z. Inexplain ko yung business model. Doon sa packaging tinanong ko na si Chichi, ‘Mabebenta ko ba ito?’ ‘Yes, mommy but you have to make your packaging attractive and something young people would patronize’.”
Since the launch of Million Glow, it has become a big hit among Filipinos. It has five variants that answer concerns from sun protection, anti-aging to fat burning. On top of its success in the Philippines, Million Glow is also now available in the UK and USA through Amazon and Walmart.
Kim personally trains and orients her sellers before they go on sales calls, go live online to sell the products, reminding them to tell customers to consult medical professionals and to always read the labels.
On financial freedom
Having worked with a lot of women (and men) in her company and basing it from her own experience, Kim shared that if there’s one thing she wants to impart with women, it is the importance of being financially stable and independent.
“Ano ba ang goal nila? Kahit ano pa yan, they have to focus and work hard,” she said. “Kung may pangarap sila, dapat maging strong, hindi pwedeng magpatalo at mag-emote. Most women are emotional and that’s okay. But after mo umiyak, bangon ulit. I believe that women should have their own money kasi for me, pera ang nagpapaikot sa mundo.”
“Pag may sariling pera yung babae hindi na kailangan umasa sa lalaki,” she continued. “So para sa akin, ang mga kababaihan kailangan may sarili silang pera or mayroon silang contribution para makagalaw sila.”
While some may find this statement a bit controversial, it’s real talk for Kim and a lot of women going through similar ordeals.
“You need to be ready. Kapag may nangyari sa iyo, kailangan ready ka sa mga panahon ng pangangailangan,” she said. “And if you are a mom, lalo na kung single mom, being ready for anything is a must. And a lot of times, money is the answer. Kasi think about it, if you get sick and you have financial means, you can get better and get back to work and to your family. Pag nagkasakit ka and wala kang pera, paano na? That’s why I have made it my life mission na tulungan ang lahat ng kababaihan to reach their goals at maging financially independent sila.”
Kim Abelar: I want to give back
Having gone through challenges in her life at a young age, Kim consistently reminds her children, most especially her daughter, to study hard and work hard. “Hindi ako naniniwala sa kasabihang ‘kung ano yung puno, ganon din ang bunga’. Hindi basehan ng kapalaran mo ang kapalaran ng anak mo.”
“My life is not perfect but I am always trying to be perfect. Yon ang lagi kong sinasabi kasi 19 pa lang, may anak na ako. Pero yung anak ko hindi naman siya tumulad sa akin.” Kim also lives by her mother’s remiders, which in turn she constantly tells her daughter — that regardless of who she is and what she does, she will always be there to support.
With her business ventures doing well, being in a happy relationship with her partner Tommanny, and seeing her kids thriving, Kim is very much aware of how blessed she is. The only thing she wants to do now is to pay all her blessings forward.
“I want to give back to people kasi one day, tatanungin ako ‘So, anong ginawa mo sa buhay mo’?” she said of her mission in life. “So aside from sharing what I have, I am also giving a part of me by teaching them everything I know hoping that one day, sila din mismo, they can pay it forward.”
While Kim’s Diary has sparked the curiosity of many, the real life character behind all the glitz and glam continues to work hard and is not resting on her laurels. Surely with her story, many women, most especially moms, will be inspired and encouraged to always keep it real and to keep reaching for their dreams.
Words ALEXA VILLANO
Photography ED SIMON
Hair BIANCA VERGARA
Makeup JONATHAN VELASCO
Styling BANG PINEDA
Art Direction MARC YELLOW
Shoot Coordination ANTHONY MENDOZA
Sittings Editor MARGA MEDRANO-TUPAZ