We had the good fortune of connecting with Kimiko Chong and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kimiko, what’s the most important thing you’ve done for your children?
Hi, my name is Kimiko Chong; a wife and a mother. I own a business where my husband and I work together. We commit ourselves to the objectives of the business while helping each other build a strong family household, and raising our son with all the love and time he needs. Both of us work from home and pay close attention to our son days and nights Speaking for myself, I think the most important and IMPACTFUL decision we made for the welfare of our child is that “WE DECIDED TO FOLLOW OUR INTUITION” As new parents, we received a lot of recommendations, guidance, some judgment, and some disapproval that came from the people around us including our family, friends, and colleagues. We also browsed trustable websites on the internet and other offline sources. It was not easy for us to pick and choose what’s best for our child. Especially, we are entering a phase in our life where we are not familiar. Listening to some people had influenced me to make a lot of wrong turns while we are still finding our grooves. Some notes I received were a bit discouraging. I was told that we couldn’t possibly provide the needs of the child promptly while we are working. They said we should let the baby cry it out because it’s natural. But my husband told me “I expect him to be a different child when the time comes. We don’t need to force him to be in a certain fixed behavior when he is not ready. We just need him to learn that he is loved and protected” fortunately, I followed him. From that moment on, with a lot of devotion and dedication – we always responded to the baby’s cry, to his needs, and his interests. Simply put, our world revolved around him. A year later, we noticed that our baby is growing strong, healthy, and happy. He is now super curious and adventurous. He knows that he is safe in our watch when we bring him to the playground. His personality shows that he is confident, excited for the world, and emotionally stable. Whenever we walk, he would smilingly say “Hi” to people nearby. I see him growing loving and kind to others. These days, he is learning to fulfill his own needs. If he wants something he would let us know. If he thinks he can do it, he will do it. He can now walk steadily as we spent time guiding him to do so from the moment he started crawling. We made sure he didn’t skip that important stage of his development. Now that he grows older, we are not dealing with an uncontrollable child, Instead, We have strong bonds of trust and he has a deep sense of knowing in him that all will be ok. Of course, He does cry and be overly fussy from time to time but he is now more than ready to learn rules of life, such as; sharing, waiting, self-fulfilling, respecting boundaries, and so on. I am very happy with his development and satisfied with the result of our hard work and dedication.
Another example is a common myth that I decided not to follow is the old belief and tradition that we shouldn’t let the baby drink milk from my breast too much, too long, or too often. Traditionally, we should stop letting the baby drink from the breast after 6 months otherwise he will grow an attachment and be a terrible child who always cries for chichi. However, I trust myself, I believe that breastfeeding is the BEST thing that a mom can give to her baby at the beginning of his life. It provides nutrition, builds a strong immune system, and gives the baby ease and comfort. It is through breastfeeding that I can cuddle, caress, and talk to him more closely given my tight schedule in handling our business. That is why I opted to continue to breastfeed him after 6 months until he quits naturally. Interestingly, nowadays, after he could roam around by himself, chichi seems to be no longer on top of his priority list. I now resumed back to my regular work schedule with a healthy strong baby by my side.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I am a full-blooded Chinese who was born and raised in Thailand. I consider myself a Thai. I am the owner and CEO of Closeup Wholesale. Our company is successfully distributing American brands around the world including Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, Nigeria, and so on. I started this journey way back in 2012. I was in the USA to study English language and Dancing. My goal at the time was to pursue a dancing career. Before flying back home, I decided to make my trip worth it by using all my saved money to buy cosmetics from different giant chain stores such as Target, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, and bring the goods home with me to resell it in Thailand. I opened an online retail store and named it Imported Duck and started selling beauty products to my region. I was in Thailand and became a successful new-wave dancer. I started to dance more for famous singers and Superstars in Thailand. I had several choreography performances that I created for well-known celebrities. However, at times, I felt it was not right for me. I thought it was not enough. As a Chinese middle-class young adult woman, I was taught that the definition of success is to become an entrepreneur, to own your own business. Hence, I flew to Los Angeles to learn, experience, pave the way to entrepreneurship. CLOSEUP WHOLESALE is doing excellently well. We are expanding a lot in terms of the regions that we are serving and our role in this industry. Right now, Closeup Wholesale is starting to become more connected to the brands and is helping brands grow internationally. I successfully connected several brands with my trusted clients/partners and helped both parties grow in business fruitfully. With our support, everything becomes easier for both ends. Based on the experiences that I gained during the years of studying the international market coupled with my vision, I developed a very special approach to help brands grow sustainably and prevent the invasion of underground sellers. I can’t wait to talk more about it and use all this knowledge to help other new businesses grow as well. For personal obstacles and learning lessons, I have a lot to say about my story (LOL). I want to make sure that people get to hear about my challenges and hopefully to get some lessons or inspiration out of those struggles. I had a big breakdown and a meaningful breakthrough that I am very passionate to share with our readers. So, I made a quick self- interview video for you to watch. Please click the link below to see more about this if it interests you, dear. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kRX-eU5M4Y And to maximize the space here, I would love to talk more about the new “Family Business” that we are launching very soon. It’s called “LIVE AND VIBRANT” What makes us unique in this market is our desire to promote and advocate for products that create a state of wholeness in one’s life. We have a firm belief in creating a natural state of wholeness within our own lives by what we eat down to the actual products we apply to our bodies. Our skin is considered an organ so why not care in the way one cares for the quality of food one eats. We are proud of how we are choosing to show up in business, as honest, and holding a strong belief in giving ourselves and the world quality products that bring more joy and life to our days. We believe natural/organic foods and naturally produced goods are a crucial part of living our best life. There are many challenges to growing a business. But effective communication and sourcing other trustworthy companies that hold the same core belief in being true and creating something truly authentic. Now that there is a greater demand for organic and quality products made with real ingredients comes more opportunities to partner with strong brands. Having respect first for ourselves and the work we do is key to giving that same respect to our employees and colleagues in this business, creating an effortless flow of harmony and success. Learning to stick to our gut and what we believe can be difficult in a world filled with distraction, noise, and the temptation of short-cutting. But what’s most meaningful in life is when you take the extra step to show you care, standing for your own beliefs, or going the extra mile to create a life you find meaningful. We want the world to know that we are on your side! And that we care for the well-being of our earth and its people. Building our success depends on the success of others creating authentic goods that honor the earth and its consumer by the way nature does best … “Organically!”
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would recommend The Korean Bell of Friendship. It is a massive bronze bell housed in a stone pavilion in Angel’s Gate Park, in the San Pedro neighborhood of Los Angeles. The air is filled with so much love and joy. People are bringing their friends and family to hang out casually. Some families play kites, some play basketball, some walk around and just enjoy the wonderful energy in the air. The heart of this place, for me, is not the architecture. The scenery around the space is magnificent, breathtakingly magnificent! With the grassy lawn overlooking the beautiful blue sky and mesmerizing glossy water, the place is definitely our most favorite spot in the city. When I was pregnant, my husband would drive me to the Korean Bell Park and would sit together under the warm glowing sunlight and breathe fresh air together. I felt so calmed and relaxed that I wanted to fall asleep in his arm (CHEESY). I remember how my husband and I would talk about the future of our family after the baby would come out. We dreamed of a happy and stable life, and I look forward to it.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to give credit to my nurse, Lourdes Lunar, and my educational counselor, Nairy Bouyadjian. Having an unplanned pregnancy was difficult. Especially when you were pursuing your degree and building a good career. I was battling all the emotional dramas that came with the hormonal mood swings, and the panic attacks from the fear of becoming a new mom who lives alone and away from my family in Thailand. Lourdes works at The Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) Program and she was here with me since I was 3 months pregnant. She has been the best listener and the most beautiful guidance that supported me through my pregnancy journey. She came to visit me once a month in my house while the baby was still inside me. After he came out, she would visit us twice a month, making sure that the baby and I were healthy and strong every step of the way. I will forever cherish her dedication and devotion to taking good care of us. I know for sure that she will do the same excellent work and compassion for the other families that will have her in their lives. Another person whom I will forever be grateful for is Nairy, she was my educational counselor at Glendale Community College. When I found out that I was pregnant, I immediately went to see a counselor and an in-campus doctor and therapist to discuss my case. While others turned me down and told me that the only way to handle the situation was to give up my education, my career, and my future, Nairy stood up for me and guided me. Those who turned me down were pretty sure that I wouldn’t be able to survive my dilemma without family support. But Nairy did not only help me find a way to make things in place she also stayed by my side, listened to my story, and caringly supported me with love, and all the tools necessary. She imparted to me the best of her knowledge and gave much of her time and energy without hesitation. Right now, I have a very beautiful family. My husband and I love each other very much and we share an equally strong passion for our son and our life-long happiness. My son is strong and healthy. He is our blessing and our instant joy. We are very happy that we get to be blessed as his parents. Even though it wasn’t the smoothest road for our family, in the beginning, we pulled through. We struggled but we made it. I believe there are still many to come, but we will face every problem head-on with the foundation of our love and support to one another as our weapon. The dark times only allowed me to see the contrast between black and white. In the toughest, I see the beauty in human bonds, I see light around me and I feel overwhelmingly loved and supported.