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About 

Looking back on how far I have come, from being a poor immigrant from Vietnam to running my successful business, I realize no one knows the whole story. I want to share it with you so that, hopefully, you can be inspired to overcome your circumstances and achieve the life you dream of.

My Story

I WAS BORN IN VIETNAM and am half Vietnamese and half American. I never knew my father until this year - March 2024. I found him and my siblings through 23andMe. It was the most exciting news when I heard from my half-siblings. They told me our father had passed in 1997. Even though I never met him directly, through reuniting with my siblings, I feel closer to him than I have ever been. I am so grateful. 

 

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AS A YOUNG CHILD

Many children made fun of me during my growing-up years because of my heritage, and my school did not welcome me. I have a loving mother and younger siblings who supported me at home, but we struggled financially, and I never had an opportunity to learn, excel, and be myself. I managed to finish school and knew at a very young age that I wanted to emigrate to the US. While waiting for immigration documentation, I met and married my dear husband, Hung. He shared my vision and embarked on the journey to the United States with me. We started our American life in Syracuse, NY - in the winter. Neither of us had seen snow nor had the proper clothes to bear that deep cold that strikes you to the bone. With the help of friends, we decided to move to the warm city of Atlanta to start anew. 

MY PASSION FOR SKINCARE CAME EARLY

I was born with a birthmark covering the majority of my face. Even though I was accustomed to seeing my face in the mirror, I never let go of my dream to have the birthmark removed. I wanted to remove it for several reasons, but the most crucial reason was that it looked like a mask over my authentic face. I wanted to be brave and face the world without the proverbial "mask." 

Moving to America was my first step in courage and faith. At age 21, I moved from Vietnam with my husband, Mr. Hung. Soon after settling into our new home, I found Dr. Scott Korempelis, who agreed to take on the intricate job of removing my birthmark. It took two years and immense patience on both our parts. 

REMOVING THE MASK
Once I removed "my mask," I looked into the mirror and saw the reflection of my true self.  The remarkable difference impacted my confidence and self-esteem. I felt compelled to help others reveal their authentic beauty behind whatever was in their way—from a birthmark to acne to any skin insecurity. I felt called to become an aesthetician, so my husband, Mr. Hung, and I opened Kim's Day Spa Buckhead. 

We went from two clients to thousands over the years. We have the most loyal clients who have been with us for 30 years! We both continued to increase our skills and our offerings to our clients. Along the way, we had our son and were able to provide him with the opportunities and education we did not have. Then, when our son was 16, we had our daughter. It was a joyful surprise!

Over the past three decades, we've had the privilege of serving the Buckhead community. I feel the most successful when I see my clients brighten up with greater skincare. 

IN MAY 2016, HUNG WAS DIAGNOSED WITH LUNG CANCER.

As is the case for many non-smokers who get lung cancer, it was far advanced before it was diagnosed. But Hung was a strong man, both mentally and physically. Our daughter was only seven, and he was determined to be there for her and his whole family as long as possible. I believe this determination, just as much as any physical characteristic, let him survive as long as he did. But tragically, his courageous fight ended in October 2019. A side effect of his illness was huge medical bills coming at a time of lowered income due to Hung's inability to work and my need to be with him during treatment. 

 

AS 2020 BEGAN, I WAS OVERWHELMED WITH A NEW DETERMINATION TO OVERCOME THIS NEW CHALLENGE. 

I had faith because I had done it before, but this time, it was complicated because I was also grieving the love of my life. Then, COVID hit. The spa was closed entirely for three months and open only selectively for another two. How could I work any harder than I already was? But while the spa was closed, though I couldn't eliminate the worry, I could choose to work hard amid my anxiousness to survive. I called cosmetology schools and landed a job teaching in the evenings.


SINCE THE SPA WAS CLOSED DUE TO COVID-19, I SOLD MY OBAGI PRODUCTS OVER THE PHONE AND SHIPPED THEM TO MY LOYAL CLIENTS.  I sold gift certificates to keep some income flowing in. I researched skincare products to sell in my salon to create an alternate revenue stream. I was determined. I found NuSkin and began selling the products to my clients. The spa re-opened, I worked seven days a week, and we began to regain our footing. We celebrated my son's marriage to a wonderful young woman. My daughter was accepted to a beautiful school that would give her the foundation education she needed in middle and high school to allow her to follow her dreams.

 

I WAS SLOWLY PAYING OFF THE MEDICAL BILLS. BUT IT WAS HARD; I WAS TIRED AND NO LONGER HAD MY PARTNER. At this low point, 

I attended a Nu Skin conference and heard Alan Nagao speak. I sat in the audience and thought about his physical challenges more than 60 years ago when our world wasn't as accepting of people with his degree of handicaps. I thought about how he used his ideas and hard work to achieve his goals while maintaining optimism. I thought if he could overcome such physical challenges, I could overcome my mental challenges: those thoughts that tell me to give up or to give in to sadness and fear. Hung used his mental strength to hold off cancer longer than any doctor thought he would. I could overcome these financial challenges and keep the spa alive.   

AND SO, I DID. 

Now, I don't think the challenges are over; I know that there will always be challenges in this life, and there will always be unexpected and even tragic occurrences. But at this time, Kim's Day Spa Buckhead is in a great spot. My children are thriving: one has fully arrived as a productive and successful adult, and the other is mature beyond her years. The spa is better than it's ever been. We're well-positioned for the future. And the weight of grief has lessened, and there is fun and happiness in the world again. As immigrants and entrepreneurs, we grow through all our challenges, strengthening us. I would have never known how resilient, resourceful, and hard-working I could be without the setbacks. 

I am taking the time to tell you about this story in hopes of inspiring some of you, even in a small way. 
 

EVERY DAY, I AM GRATEFUL

I walk into Kim's Day Spa Buckhead each day with a sense of gratitude because I was able to "make it" as a female immigrant entrepreneur. The journey has been riddled with challenges, and I appreciate my clients, who have encouraged me to persevere. Moving to America over thirty years ago made me realize my dream. I feel privileged to live here and build my successful business in Atlanta. 

LOVE,

A Beautiful Transformation

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One of the most treasured moments in my work was the opportunity to give a makeover to a woman who had been down on her luck, sporadically homeless, and often hopeless. 
 

She had the "mask" of unworthiness on so tightly that I had to remove it with a little effort, encouragement, and love. 

We treated her skin, hair, and nails. We both saw her transform, and it was a magical experience. 

It is in moments like this, I remember why I do this work. On the surface it appears I am only working on the superficial layer of beauty, but what I am truly doing is removing the blocks that stand in the way of someone claiming their confidence, worthiness and self-esteem. 

I encourage you to nominate someone for a makeover! I would love nothing more than to reveal someone's hidden beauty. 

Do you know someone who could be helped with a loving makeover? Please nominate them below. 

Nominate someone 
A MAKEOVER AT KIM'S

LOVE, 

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