It was Nona Lim’s quest for peak performance as an ex-national fencer that led her to start her brand of organic bone broths and soups.
“As a former professional athlete, I was constantly seeking natural ways to gain a competitive advantage,” shared Lim, now based in Oakland, California, on her website. “I discovered the power of food as functional medicine.”
“I observed how inflammatory foods would hurt my performance: my body and brain would only function at peak performance or recover faster when fueled with whole, clean foods.”
Today, her self-named brand nona lim offers an Asian-inspired line of bone broths, soup stock and Asian noodles that are organic, non-GMO and gluten-free. Her products are not only sold online but also stocked in Whole Foods Market and other major supermarkets across the United States. The brand has also been featured in The New York Times, Vogue and other major American press.
“I have always listened to my customers. They give the best feedback.
We started getting the products into stores because of customers’ feedback.” Nona Lim Founder of nonalim
In a recent interview with the WKWSCI Alumni Magazine, Lim, who is in her early 40s, shared that staying focused on what her customers want has helped her grow her brand.
“I have always listened to my customers. They give the best feedback,” she said. “We started getting the products into stores because of customers’ feedback.”
Lim is a woman of several breakthroughs. Her success in the food business is the latest in a string of notable milestones in her life. Apart from being part of the pioneer batch of graduates from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, she was also the first SCI club president.
On top of this, Lim has also proven herself to be a high-achieving athlete. While she was still an undergraduate, she represented Singapore at the Southeast Asian Games as part of the national fencing team.
Over the years, she won silver and bronze medals in several individual events and attained another bronze award under various group categories. At the age of 34, she became the captain of the Women's Sabre National Team.
In 2006, she moved to the United States with her husband, but her love for the sport remained. In fact, it ignited a passion for healthy foods that proved critical for athletic performance.
Lim designed and sold a nutrient-dense, non-inflammatory meal kit made with whole food ingredients in the humble setting of her home kitchen. Word spread, and before she knew it, she had started one of the first meal-kit delivery companies in the United States, Cook!SF.
However, she was forced to close up shop as she was then still inexperienced and the business was not generating enough profits.
“I started a really innovative idea, but was way too early (in time),” shared Lim. “It was before online shopping and the digital age became a real thing.”
That did not deter her from chasing her entrepreneurial dreams. In 2016, she rebranded Cook!SF as nona lim. The revamp came about during a time when the concept of eating clean was becoming trendy.
Lim shared that a successful entrepreneur should be equipped with both communication and leadership skills, something that her years in university had prepared her for.
“The communication studies program at WKWSCI was really helpful,” she said. “It helped even more that we were the first batch of graduates. We were already entrepreneurs.”
“Be conscious of what you are doing. Enjoy the process and have no regrets.” Nona Lim Founder of nonalim
To Lim, introductory modules like CS0201 Foundations of Communication Studies because it helped her to establish a critical thinking framework.
Her presidency in the school committee was also the first time Lim took on a leadership position. “I think it helped to inform me about what type of leadership style and management style I want to cultivate. And that is a journey.”
Upon graduation, Lim spent a decade in various corporate roles for companies like software firm Agilisys, Netdecisions and Monitor Deloitte. Her career took her all over the world, from London and Shanghai to South Africa.
“You learn a lot from working in different industries, doing different jobs. I think that helped a lot later on when I decided to start my own company,” she shared.
Her biggest advice, especially to students and entrepreneurs: “Be conscious of what you are doing. Enjoy the process and have no regrets.”