A mom entrepreneur who can’t wait to tell you all about her story on how she started Kelkim. Kimberly Yap, a mama of two became an entreprenuer about a year ago when she started Kelkim, a company striving to encourage more people to take up the Zero Waste initiative and start thinking about what the future could hold for our kids.
First things first, you may be wondering where the name Kelkim derived from? Yes, we were wondering the same, in fact the name is a mixture Kimberly’s and her husbands name. *Awe!!*
The Company Kelkim:
Now on to what Kelkim does? Kelkim the company produces two main products that ultimate have the same goal of helping spread the word and have people take action on properly recycling our waste. The two products that Kelkim created are first a compost bin and second recycling bin bags. Both of which we can’t wait to try out ourselves at home!
The Kelkim composting bin and bags are a great gift you can give to others because like Kimberly will explain later on in her interview, it not only is a gift that helps the environment it’s a gift that keeps on giving. By that we mean, you can then gift one to more and more friends and by the time you know it, we will all be properly recycling all our waste. Like Kimberly says, it doesn’t just take one person to reach the Zero Waste goal, it takes many MANY more people!
With that being said, Kimberly is very excited to share her story of how she became a mom entrepreneur with our readers. So here it is!
1. What inspired you to start your business? Tell us a little bit about the story of you becoming an entrepreneur.
It all began with my worry when I see the amount of garbage that we (a family of 4) created in a week. It’s a full bin of trash and sometimes it was overfilled. I imagined if one household can produce so much trash in a week, how about the millions of people out there? I started to freak out and think we have to make a change. Then, I started to attend workshops organised by the local councils and realized that there are a lot of things that we can do even in our own home. I got to know about composting, worm farming and how to reduce food waste at home.
Since then, I started my journey of composting and recycling recyclable materials properly. I believe many people could have come across the idea of composting at home, but have yet to take action. So I carefully created my products with beautiful packaging, hopefully people who have been doing composting would send a compost bin as a gift to their friends or family and encourage others to take up this effort.
As for the Recycling Bags, the idea started when I went to Korea and realized that this country takes recycling efforts very seriously. They separate their recyclables so well, even at a home level and they will take them to the nearest collection center to get it recycled. I think every household should do this, separating all the recyclables in correct categories, making the recycling process more efficient. A lot of time, we had to send recyclable materials to other countries because they are all mixed up and separating them is very costly. If everyone does it at home, which is a very simple effort, we can get them recycled locally in more efficient and more cost effective way. That is why I created the Recycling Bin Bags.
As for the Donation Bin Bag that comes with the Recycling Bin Bags, I added the bag because most of the time we are overloaded with lots of things at home. A lot of them are things we no longer have use for, but can still be used by others and might even still be in good shape. If we have a Donation Bin Bag, we can fill it in whenever we need to declutter our house or put it in the living room to get kids to fill them in with toys/books/clothes they no longer wanted. This, we can instill good values in kids and also a reminder to adults to share their love with others out there.
I have done this at home and I realized that now my trash bin is only 10% filled. Food waste goes into compost, recyclables recycled in correct categories, all new/pre-loved unwanted clothes, shoes, bags, linens, books, toys are all donated. It feels good to know I have done it and I know it can be done by every household with minimal effort with the correct tools. I hope my two products will achieve their purpose to encourage more people to join in the Zero Waste with minimal effort. We cannot depend on a handful of people to change the world, we need to do this together.
2. Since you are also a mom… How do you balance your personal and professional life?
I have been a stay at home mom for the past 7 years. Every day, my life rotated around my kids, husband and home. It was a never ending house chores, night duty, chauffeuring kids everywhere and grocery shopping. Both my kids now go to school and I finally am able to free up some time to do something that I have always wanted to do. Everyday, I will use the time they are at school to get as many things done as possible. To get myself focused, sometimes I will go to the nearby café or library to work on my laptop. Since I know if I stay home, I will be distracted with the house chores. I get to work around 5 hours each day on my work before I start my role as a mom and wife at home.
3. If there was one piece of advice you could give to your children about running a successful business, what would it be?
If there was only one piece of advice that I could give my children, then it would be determination. A lot of times, during starting a business, we will encounter problems and setbacks. You will need strong determination to complete what you really want to do in the first place without giving up easily. We try every possibility and if we are determined enough, we will get there.
4. Do you have a favorite business tool and/or resource?
This is the first time I set up a business and the learning curve is really steep. I take it one step at a time but I am glad to discover a few very useful sites that help me with my entrepreneurship journey. Sites such as Alibaba and Fiverr have been really useful to help me to put things together.
5. Is there anything you would do differently if you went back to when you were 20-22?
I wouldn’t have done anything differently when I was 20-22. That was the highlight of my life studying Pharmacy Course at my university and met my husband, who is super supportive and loving even until now. I had the craziest hostel life, most adventurous travel trips around the world and studied the hardest in my life. It makes me what I am now, I work hard and play hard. I adapt to changes as I move to new places. Most importantly, I treasure the beauty of our nature. I hope our future generations get to see what we see now.
6. What do you read? How do you get your information?
Since the beginning of the year, I have been attending workshops organised by my local councils about recycling and composting. That has given me lots of useful information and idea of what I can do to encourage more people to support this idea.
Then, I turned to YouTube videos shared by fellow entrepreneurs to get more information on how to start a business. Most of them give really practical advice. I also joined relevant groups in Facebook and online seminars and the real time conversation with the current sellers has given me lots of insights and ideas on how to move forward. It really took a lot of effort to learn from scratch to get here.
7. What is the hardest thing about being a mom entrepreneur? Is there any special life balance hack you can share?
Being a mom entrepreneur means you are always running out of time. You need to work very efficiently to get as much as possible done before the kids get home. While still letting them understand what you are working on. Getting them involved and instilling the right values in them is important. My kids know about recycling and composting and sometimes they attended the workshops with me. Educating them about what I am doing makes it easier for them to understand and behave when I need to prioritize work at times.
Being in nature is a big part of our lives here. It is also a way to show kids what are we protecting in the first place. Our weekends and school holidays are always comprised of road trips, nature activities, playgrounds and spending time with friends. I believe a healthy life balance is about working hard and playing hard. We all should work hard some days and we play hard on other days.
As one can see, Kimberly is a busy bee! If there is anything to be learned from this, is like Kimberly mentioned, always stay determined and try every possibility till you succeed!
In fact, gifting a compost big helps start the Zero waste initiative. Kimberly even told us that she introduced a tag line in her products that says, “Sustainable World Begins with Me”. With this phrase she hopes to remind the person who is composting and recycling, that they are doing something wonderful for the world, the environment and the future. So go on and check out her products, her facebook page and start a zero waste life today. I know we all sometimes need that little push, and hopefully Kimberly’s story has inspired and given our readers the push they need!
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