Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Six years ago, when I started to learn more about the colourful yet complex world of graphic design, I stumbled on a self-branded folder among the office archives saved in my computer’s memory. As familiar as the name was to me, it was only last week when I found out that MIMI FILES, apparently, is a trademark that describes the organized filing system of mompreneur Mimi Vergara-Tupas.

To the local community, Mimi is the fashion retail queen who brought us hip clothing brands, namely SOUL and Pickled & Peppered. To me, she serves as a memory of my mom’s Lamaze childbirth class where she, then carrying baby number 1, once joined in with hubby Jun Tupas back in the late 90’s. My encounter with the contents of MIMI FILES at work revealed, to me at least, a common ground in our occupational background.

I didn’t chance on working with her in the hotel. She had moved on to accomplish her personal goals by the time my career in public relations began. Her name would only come flashing back when I started to acquaint myself with the wonders of social media. More than just a pretty face on the local dailies, she has become more visible on Facebook and Twitter, socializing with avid supporters of her clothing brands. She has created her own niche in the local fashion scene, not only with customers but also among talented photographers and budding artists. She is a breath of fresh air in social events happening up and about town. More than anything, she is a happy mother of 3 kids and wife to an equally supportive husband.

Mimi's personal style and love for fashion evolved into a shopping lifestyle otherwise known as SOUL.

If I may say so, this woman is who I once dreamed to be. DREAM is the operative word since my fate at single motherhood has sealed the black hole that could have taken me back in time, to follow her life sequence of settling down with marriage first before motherhood. She is living my dream multi-facet career of a full time mom who owns her boutique, travels around the world with family to personally hand pick items for her clothing line, and remains true to her creative self and her craftsmanship. Chatting with her in social events would add more wishful thinking to my list. Porcelain skin, crisp outfit that is always up to date, and a well-maintained physique… I hope I’ll grow old gracefully like her. Did I mention there’s not even a tell-tale sign in her face saying I am in my mid-30’s?

Mimi as wife to Jun and mother to Uno, Yllana, and Ysabella.

Mimi’s dedication to family is probably known only to those who follow her on cyberspace. Click on her Instagram account and blog site, and you’d see pictures of love and devotion. Her winsome smile is all over the collection of snapshots that she so lovingly shared as inspiration to fellow mothers. She has shaped her life in her unique way of balancing family / motherhood and her fulfillment as a woman.

Her 9-5 job back in the 90’s didn’t quite fit in to her vision of how she wanted to live her life. She was missing out on her kids’ milestones and monumental episodes at home. She felt she wasn’t living her purpose as a mother and decided to leave the corporate world. Her husband gave her a freehand and full support in finding use for her talent and unique eye for fashion and arts. This soul searching lead to the birth and success of her fashion retail empire, amply branded as SOUL.

SOUL is Mimi. Mimi is SOUL. There is no way of denying her presence in everything you see in the shop. Not only does she function an proprietor, fashion merchandiser, and accountant, she also gives her brand a personal touch by doing the layouts for all its catalogues and signages, styling and directing their photo shoots, and going online to market and promote the brand over Twitter, Multiply, Tumblr, and Facebook.

Multi-tasking. Mimi as makeup artist, creative director, stylist, and fashion designer.
From paper to fabric. That's her own sketch for her swimwear collection.

Juggling family with business, she makes it a point that she personally drives her children to school and eats dinner with them, spends alone time with hubby on regular lunch dates, and maintains a strong involvement in her family’s individual interests. Everything related to business happens in between those hours. Her daughters have taken on her love for styling and their father’s passion for photography. Their bonding time extends to their home studio, stepping behind the lens with the kids as apprentices to photographer-daddy and creative stylist-mommy.

Looking good is a personal commitment and Mimi is no stranger to this area. On health and fitness, she feeds her soul with the blissful satisfaction of real food and a bit of chocolate indulgence on special occasions. Boxing is a fitness regime she tries to squeeze in to her busy schedule, but makes up for the misses by doing yoga at home.

What's in the bag? Checkbook holder, red wallet, Chanel red lipstick, Mac studio fix NC20, Elie Saab lotion, planner, rewards cards, iPhone power charger.

Fashion conscious is an understatement, but she does lives up to the image that her brand represents: A mix of classy and hip, or a middle ground between Audrey Hepburn and Serena Van Der Woodsen. She is mostly seen wearing dressy tops, denims or jumpsuits, gold bangles, and pearl earrings. She confesses she is not particular with signature clothes or international brands (after all, she has a closet full of SOUL’s), but finds average pleasure in occasional shopping treats over designer bags. On skincare, she makes sure she leaves no trace of makeup before going to bed, and applies moisturizer and sunblock for added protection. Her makeup kit may have everything in different shades and brands, but she maintains that a smile, stimulated by happy thoughts, is the best makeup a woman can wear. Friendships, to her, beat stress and the pricey short-term benefits of psychotherapy. This, I agree.

Pink essentials for the pinkmother.

Mimi breathes creativity at work and at home. Aside from jotting down reflections and itinerary on her personalized journal and planner, scrapbooking is also her creative outlet where puts together pieces of past, present, and other significant memorabilia. 

Customized and organized. Mimi's DIY projects for her daughters' bedroom.

She is generous enough to share her artistry and give opportunities to budding photographers and to the new blood of writers otherwise known as bloggers. To them, she is more than a subject and inspiration, but a supportive friend as well.

Sharing time and friendship with budding artists and fashion bloggers.
Sisters Vern and Vernicee Enciso.
Cheyser Pedrogosa (The Walking Recessionista)

Having observed all these, whether on cyberspace or through personal encounters, I must say she embodies the qualities of a fulfilled woman. Mother, wife, friend, cyber/global marketer, and entrepreneur… Is there any other role Mimi can squeeze in to her persona? Now, sharing with me her insights on girl power and motherhood, she becomes my own life coach.

“Motherhood is a state of being young and old; being learned and innocent; of feeling exhausted, but totally energized. It is tough, yet gentle; happy and tearful. It is one amazing state when, despite the presence of wrinkles and stretch marks and of having less free time, money, and sanity, you’d feel you’ve accomplished your purpose and lived your life to the fullest.”

“An empowered woman knows her purpose, and finds meaning in ALL that she does. She knows who she is and embraces her accomplishments, acknowledges her failures, and is wise enough to learn from each experience. She knows what she wants and how to get it, without stepping on someone else along the way. She has a warm connection to the people who matter in her life, and finds happiness in being able to empower others in the little things she does. She has a subtle and understated influence that radiates in all aspects of her life, a force that doesn’t aim to pull people down but contagiously seeks to inspire others.”

Follow Mimi's photo blog at
Photo credits: Aidx Paredes, Mimi Tupas, and Soul Lifestyle.
Story published on my Metro Mom column in Edge Davao newspaper.
Page 11, A1 of INdulge Section, Vol. 5 Issue 41, 02 May 2012.


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