Soul Mother

Soul Mother. Mimi Tupas, masterfully juggling motherhood & business.

The picture is still quite clear—Mimi Vergara was the quiet, pretty little girl in pigtails, the youngest of the brood, who would hide behind her elders in our presence. Who would have thought she would bloom into the woman she is today— beautiful, fashionable, driven… and a mother.

A wife to Jun Tupas for 18 years and mother to three beautiful kids—Uno, 16, Yllana, 11 and Ysabella, 9— Mimi is one of those amazing women I know who has successfully juggled family life with a fast-growing and expanding business ventures from fashion retailing—SOUL, PickledPink, ModAudrey Swimsuits, to pet care— One Fab Pooch, and the most recent addition, health food— SoulKitchenCo.

Mimi, 36, is a busy mother and career woman. Her good looks she may have kept through the years (perfectly ageing, I must say), but there is one more vital thing she has acquired and doing a great job at—being the soul of her family.

Get to know Mimi the mother, the wife and partner, and the businesswoman.

Jinggoy: Describe yourself as a mother? 
Mimi: It is a blessing that motherhood, despite having my eldest at a very young age, didn’t come as a struggle. After three kids, I can say there are no how-to's, just experiences that make you the best mother to the eyes of your children. 

It helps that my mother is also a very patient, caring and nurturing one. I would love to be described by my kids just the same. But with the many tasks I handle, I know I sometimes fail in patience points. But whatever I lack in, I try to compensate with simply being open with my kids. I would like to be the kind of mother to whom they can run to and open up with for anything, and vice versa.

J: What’s it like in a day in the life of Mimi Tupas?
My days are very erratic. Some days can go from quite busy to extremely toxic. But I’d like to believe that I’ve quite mastered the art of micro-managing, multitasking & juggling business, home & personal tasks altogether. There’s something about getting my hands full on a lot of things, pushing potentials to the limits & being able to thank the Lord at the end of each day for accomplishments beyond our expectations.

Happy together. There is always time for a family vacation

J: What’s the household like in the watchful eye of Mimi?
I am such a micro-manager. I personally get my kids up on schooldays and have breakfast with them and send them off to school. As a mom and a wife who likes to have a grasp at everything, I try to be superwoman and make sure that my house is spic and span, organized, and a home that my husband will like coming home to each day ideally with home cooked meals every day for the family to enjoy. But with the busy life we lead, of course that’s not always possible. It is helpful to have a husband who is a business partner too, no justifications needed!

J: Do you have house rules? Which ones are strict & which are flexible/discussable?
Yes we do, like any other household, I guess. Some are as minute as always putting insect repellant before going out, cleaning-up-as-you-go, and always keeping everything in its proper place. No TV on weekdays. Net connections, limited to a common place like the family room. Stricter rules are always grounded on whether if it glorifies the Lord or not. If it doesn’t, then that’s non-negotiable.

J: At what point in your married life did you decide to put up a business of your own? What made you decide to do so?
It was only after my third when I decided to quit my 9 to 5 job and pursue our first retail business - PickledPink. I felt that I needed more flexibility in the time spent with the kids & managing our growing family. Jun and I are both very hands on parents and I am lucky to have a husband as my partner in everything. He has always supported my business ideas from day one to this day. In all the businesses we handle, our secret formula is that we have always worked as a team.

J: How do you balance your time between family & the business you created?
I am honestly in awe on most days that even at the busiest, I still get to be in touch with my husband and the kids. Communication has always been a value we uphold in our home. We see to it that at the end of the day, we always have time to communicate and bond as a family. It also helps that the kids are exposed in the business, they instantly know when it’s a tough day for mommy and daddy and when its ok to ‘kulit’ us.

All smiles. Mimi Tupas happily showcasing her newest baby-the SoulKitchenCo health food (photo by Aidx Paredes)

J: Do you involve your kids in the business?
Yes. As much as possible we expose them to whatever we are doing. They go with us to buying travels, in the HQ, during shoots. We ask them to carry stocks and do deliveries. Uno has bigger tasks like doing bank errands. The girls also now help in Soul Kitchen Co. They know how to press all our varieties and because I don’t serve anything that my kids do not approve of, I constantly need them for quality check & product development.

J: Fashion, then food, what’s next in line in the Soul lifestyle line?
Who knows where our feet will lead us next? Believe it or not, I never planned Soul Kitchen Co. Its such a blessing how it just sprouted from a few orders to now a fully operating business from my humble home kitchen. I just might wake up the next day with another business idea on beauty? Wellness? Who knows?

The Mod Audrey Swimsuit that found its way to a national glossy

J: What valuable tip did you learn from your mother that you’re applying to your family life today and would like to pass on to your children?
M: As cliche as it may sound—to do everything with love.

Family virtue from mother to mother, "Do everything with love." Mimi with mommy Didi.

J: How do you like your kids to grow up? What will make you proud of your children?
It is when they continue to live according to the paths the Lord has prepared for them. A mother can only pray for their children to be the best they can be. To me the greatest rewards do not come as school awards, medals or certificates, but whether they lead lives that glorify God. Only then I can truly say I have mothered them properly if they grow up with the grace of the Lord in them.

J: What “soul” creed do you live by that is non-negotiable?
Our businesses are grounded on the principles of family. From our retail brand, to the swimsuits we’ve created, to pet pampering and healthy offerings from our kitchen, it always boil down to FAMILY. If it’s a business that crumbles the principles of family, then we are out.

J: Now,what SoulKitchenCo. juice do you make bests describe you?
I guess it’s the AlmondMYLK. Our almonds go thru a process of immersion before it’s ready for pressing. The result is a rich, creamy extract that’s grown to be a bestseller and a family favorite. The process may seem complex and a fuss to prepare but its not. It just has to be prepared with patience, and love. I guess that best describes the woman that I am now— immersed in her purposes, humble yet confident despite complexities, highly empowered when pressed, can only give her best when truly loved.

A Soul Kitchen Co bestseller- the AlmondMYLK, the drink that best describes Mimi.

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Published in SunStar Davao newspaper on May 11, 2014.