"Each parent has their own reason for sharing or not sharing their kids’ photos on social media," says the Korean-American influencer
It has been more than a decade since Chriselle Lim started her journey as a fashion content creator and influencer on YouTube and Instagram. And while she continues to thrive as one of the most influential voices in fashion and beauty as she masterfully navigates the rise of new content sharing platforms with ease and humour (you may have seen her hilarious TikTok persona as the Internet's Rich Mom), she has also expanded in lifestyle content. Lim's millions of followers enjoy snippets into her daily life with daughters, Chloe and Colette, as well as her honest conversations about marriage, pregnancy, motherhood and divorce—a glimpse of the reality behind her jet-setting lifestyle to glamorous events arounds the world.
Most recently, Lim, a serial entrepreneur who has previously leveraged her industry expertise to launch creative agency CINC Studios and fragrance brand Phlur, furthered her reach into the world of childcare and education with Bümo. Co-founded in 2019 with Joan Nguyen, founder and CEO of MeriEducation, this new company is inspired by both women's experiences and offers solutions for working parents, including virtual learning camps, foreign language programmes and co-working space with licensed child care in Los Angeles. It has raised over US$3.5 million in seed funding from notable investors such as G5 Capital, Jessica Alba's Honest Company, and Hong Kong billionaire father-daughter duo, Silas and Vivian Chou.
In this interview with Tatler, Lim talks about her early days on the Internet, opening up to her millions of followers about her personal life and making privacy a priority as she became a parent in the spotlight. We also hear her opinions on how things have changed for modern parents in the digital age and Bümo's mission to help bridge gaps in childcare and education.
For the longest time, pregnancy and motherhood have been regarded as uncomfortable topics, especially on social media and the digital space. After establishing yourself as a fashion expert, did you apprehensive opening up to your followers and sharing more personal content?
Yes, I did. Sharing beautiful, curated content on topics like fashion and beauty is much easier than opening yourself up and allowing your audience into your everyday life.
My career and life on social media have been a journey and one that I am so grateful for. I know that a lot of my followers have been following me for well over 10 years and have seen me through and supported me through some of my most important life moments. They were with me in the early days of my career, when I started to date my ex-husband, when I became a mother, through all my various business ventures, and most recently, through my separation. They’ve seen me grow and evolve into the woman I am today. For a lot of my life, my life has been on display for the public to see and though there are some great things that come with that, it can also be challenging in many ways. But my community has always been so kind and supportive through all my important life moments.
At the end of the day, what people see on social media is the perception that I intentionally and purposely paint as that is my job. I broadcast all my exotic travels, my fancy wardrobe, and all of the good moments with my kids. What people don’t see is the gruelling hard work that goes into running my business. There is so much that goes on behind-the-scenes that I keep private.
Drawing boundaries is key to building sustainability in this business and also key to maintaining healthy emotional and mental health.
What is your opinion about sharing pictures of your children online? How do you navigate social media as a parent in the spotlight with over three million followers across different platforms?
I think everyone chooses what works for their family. Each parent has their own reason for sharing or not sharing their kids’ photos on social media.
Though I share a lot of my life on social media, I’ve always had clear boundaries when it comes to my personal life and my children. Occasionally I will share a photo or two but as my girls get older, I’ve been limiting the amount I share on my public profiles. Something that I’ve started to do is the practice of asking my girls if they’d like their photo to be taken and if they are okay with me sharing the photo. I understand that they are still young but I do believe these conversations will give kids the necessary feeling of autonomy, respect, and parental support, and help them develop their private and public identities in the future.
Are there challenges parents today face that may be different from other generations?
As with every new generation, Generation Alpha children bring with them their own unique challenges and considerations. One of the most notable and obvious differences between Alphas and the generations before is their experience with and expectations of technology. The result of all this technology is the continuing debate surrounding how it should be monitored and controlled.
Through it all, I think we can expect to see this new generation of kids grow up more accepting of differences, more socially adept, more tech savvy, and perhaps more cognisant of complex issues like climate change.
Speaking of technology, Bümo pivoted into becoming a virtual school during the pandemic. How was that experience as a mother and entrepreneur?
In early 2020, we were just about to launch our co-working space with certified childcare on site. Then the pandemic hit. Once stay-at-home orders took over, we had to quickly pivot our business into a virtual school to support parents, including myself, in providing enriching learning experiences for their kids during lockdown. The response had been phenomenal. It had been such a rewarding experience and really challenged me to step outside my comfort zone and expand my knowledge.
What are the next steps for Bümo?
Bümo’s mission is to create accessible and on-demand support for parents. We want to disrupt the broken childcare system using tech, making it as easy to book child care as it is a restaurant reservation.
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