Wednesday, March 26, 2014

PERFECT COMBINATION


 
Mimi Vergara – Tupas is one woman who lives a multifaceted life. When she graced my page about 2 years ago, she talked about her style inclinations and how she manages her time in between family and building her fashion empire (better known as Soul Lifestyle). Months after hearing about her new print-worthy ventures, I finally got the chance to catch her in between press time and get the latest on the life of the “Pinkmother” (as she calls herself on social media). This time around, we also hear a male voice --- Mimi’s soul mate, Jun --- sharing episodes from their daily occurrences and happy memories.
 
 

Everything feels very light and GP (General Patronage) when you’re around Mimi and Jun. They complement each other in all that they do. In business, Jun takes over the financial aspect while Mimi, who has a knack for selling anything and for cultivating brands, works on the marketing campaign. There, I’d say two heads are definitely better than one. Theirs have sired a brood of profitable investments which are centered to what’s close to their hearts. Mimi and Jun’s partnership proves to be a fruitful one, not only in terms of business but also in raising a family. Open communication is one of the key principles they apply into their parenting style and they’ve maintained a cool, fun, friendly and creative environment in their home.
 
Their family life is probably one I’d look forward to see on TV. Think reality series with touches of other genres --- Martha Stewart Show, The Apprentice, Rachel Ray Show and Oprah all rolled into one. The family wakes up to an array of delectable recipes carefully put together by Mimi (that’s a cooking show happening right there). Right after sending off the kids to school, the couple visits their stores (3 branches of clothing boutiques for her and 3 pet paw-lors and 1 dog hotel for him) to check on operations and tend to staff meetings. All those brainstorming, strategic planning and special projects are enough to remind you of a business oriented game show. Late afternoons we’d find the family congregating over some homework or carrying on with their personal interests. Daughters Yllana and Ysabella have inherited their mom’s talent in writing and crafting while unico hijo, Uno, takes after their dad’s interest in music and photography. On other days, the couple continues work via satellite office located in their home. Chitchats resume over sumptuous dinner, which usually last until right about bedtime. On weekends, the girls bond over anything and everything DIY (a Martha Stewart moment) followed by a talk show of some sort with dear friends and family. Had we caught the family in between furniture hunting and home development, we would have had an interior design element added into the show. 
 

Too bad we can’t document that part anymore as the family has just moved into their dream house a few months ago.
 
New home
The family lived in a townhouse for more than a decade. A few years ago, they bought a vacant lot in a subdivision within downtown Davao, which they later on divided between their family and Mimi’s mom. “To me, it’s so convenient having my mom next door. We get to check on her as well. One of the best parts of having your mom as neighbor is the abundance of food being sent in!” squeals Mimi.
 
 

They made use of their lot to build a two-floor dwelling, one with big windows to bring in natural light. 
 
“I’d say, the timing was just right,” says Jun. “Had we built this dream home back when the kids were young, it would have looked totally different. We’d have to tailor it according to needs of the kids. Imagine toys in every nook and cranny? This kind of design we have now won’t work if you have toddlers. The kids are now all in middle school. They have grown into their own interests and preferences and they are old enough to style up their rooms according to their personality. This house project also gave us, as a couple, an opportunity to revisit and bring to life our dreams and aspirations. We built this house with that purpose in mind.”
 
True to their nature, there is also nothing pretentious about their home. The simplicity of style in this modern home is indicative of how the couple complements each other’s character. It was like translating fashion sense to design preferences. They streamlined their interiors and optimized space with white walls, added mirrors to reflect light and make the place look bigger, and doubled the ceiling height in the living room for more breathing space and to keep the natural energy flowing. The goal was to balance aesthetics with functionality, sticking to only objects and design elements that will really fulfill a purpose in their home.

“That goes the same for our closets,” quips Mimi. “I learned to say goodbye to clothes which I think won’t be of use to me anymore.”
Amidst the polished and glistening appeal of the house are hints of Mimi’s flair for visual display. Creative inspirations are everywhere with a few framed word art which speaks of positivity and love for family --- all lovingly made by the Pinkmother herself. The dining and entertainment rooms are common areas where the family congregates for hours to end.
 

Mimi adds, “We made sure that the WiFi signal won’t reach the dining area because we want the family to communicate openly especially during the time we’re together. It’s a good thing I have such good kids who are not addicted to the internet. They may be tech savvy, but their lives are not centered on the internet. I’m happy to see them enjoying their craft. Yllana just won in a feature writing contest. Ysa has inherited my love for scrapbooking and crafting. She’d surprise us with her little cards and sweet notes. Uno is very much like Jun. He spends time mixing music in his room which he designed to look like a bachelor’s pad.”
 
“We really wanted a house that spells simplicity and cleanliness,” explains Jun. “We realized that the only thing that stands in between spic and span is the lack of organizing solutions. So, we invested in storage options and multi-functional furniture. That whole block of built-in full-length mirrors at the ground level opens to a home office where Mimi and I work.”
 

For the kitchen, the couple decided to open up the counter space to create more room for prep work. In a way, it also draws conversations from anyone between the dining area and the kitchen.

The husband rates Mimi’s cooking skills with a thumbs up. “I am in full support of Mimi’s kitchen adventures. She didn’t have any formal training in culinary arts, but she is a good cook. She can spruce up anything in the kitchen and the kids and I buy it.”

A New Lifestyle Brand: Soul Kitchen Co.
One of the delicious adventures Mimi has stumbled upon in their dream home is her new line of cold-pressed vegetable and fruit juices.

Jun tells us how this concoction welcomed him home. “Mimi is so dedicated to juicing --- not for weight loss but for proper nutrition. She religiously prepares all these healthy mixes for the kids. She has been doing this for about a year. Then, one Sunday afternoon, I came home and discovered that Mimi has just created her own brand for cold-pressed juices. Everything was done within that same day --- logo, labels, Facebook, Instagram and all. It was that fast. As I understand it, more and more Davaoeños are hooked to this new trend in health and wellness. I guess she has seen the potential of turning this existing healthy practice of hers into a business. The difference between then and now is that she spends more time in the kitchen than in any other space in our house during the day.”

Soul Kitchen Co.’s lineup of juices has 6 varieties: Whisk (apples, cucumber, celery, spinach, lemon ginger), Cleanse (cucumber, celery, spinach, lemon, carrots, apples), Jolt (carrots, apples, pineapple, lemon, ginger, cayenne pepper), Boost (apples, carrots, orange, pineapple), Flow (beets, apples, cocowater), and Glow (tomato, cucumber, lemon, sea salt, celery).
 
Aside from the bottled juices, other bestsellers include her variety of Almond Mylk: Coco, Soy and Choco. Made entirely of almonds, each almond mix is high in protein, antioxidants, phytochemicals, living enzymes, calcium, zinc, manganese, vitamin E, iron, B12 and potassium. Mimi’s own recipes for meatloaf and chunky chicken cream are also a hit among locals.
 
To date, the brand is a little over a month old and has sold more than 500 bottles all over Davao City.
 
Jun has nothing but pride and gratitude with how far Mimi has gone, translating her own passion into something she can share with the community. “All our brands are really about lifestyle and family --- be it style essentials, pet care, or personal wellness. I guess what makes our business partnership work is the fact that we are family-oriented. We always go back to what is close to our heart and what we love doing together. We always help each other out. We function as support system for each other. You just have to trust each one’s capabilities and strength. That won’t only benefit you in business, but also in marriage and parenting.”
Follow soulkitchenco on Facebook and Instagram to know more about Soul Kitchen Co.'s urban eats and bottled drinks. To order, please contact 0917 704 8060.
---
Story published on my newspaper column, Metro Mom.
A1 and A4, INdulge, Edge Davao, Vol. 7 Issue no. 08, 26 March 2014.
 
 


1 Comments:

At March 26, 2014 at 3:48 PM , Blogger Xanti Vergara said...

Inspiring indeed... keep it glowing you guys!!

 

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