BeautyView: Angela Sitilides, Owner, Bellacara

If you know me, you know I am persistent – not a nag, but definitely persistent. I also think that “No” is just the start of the conversation. These two characteristics came in very handy when I first met Angela Sitilides, owner of Bellacara. I loved her story… a lawyer who decided to instead do what she loves, and opened a fabulous beauty boutique (she now has two locations in Northern Virginia), and decided to visit Bellacara unannounced and bring her some Alchimie Forever products to try. Two weeks later, I stopped by again to get her feedback. “I don’t like your products” she said. “No problem, why don’t I bring you one of our men’s products for your husband,” I responded. And so our relationship started, as her husband fell in love with our aftershave gel. Thus, she became one of my first customers.

AP: What city were you born in? AS: Palm Springs, California.

AP: What city to do you live in? AS: McLean, Virginia.

AP: What is your middle name? AS: Beth.

AP: What is your astrological sign? AS: Leo.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? AS: I love interior design and if I wasn’t in the beauty business, I’d be an interior designer.

AP: What is your most prized possession? AS: My wedding ring.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? AS: Dead or Alive? So many choices.  Jesus….lots of questions!

AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. AS: Classic, Fresh, Sophisticated.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? AS: I have a Rolex, but I never seem to wear it.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? AS: Diamonds, definitely.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? AS: Serums, layers of serums.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? AS: Acqua Santa by Linari.

AP: Botox or not? AS: Not…yet…never say never.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? AS: Not; are there any natural blondes over 40?

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? AS: Keep it in check during the week, splurge on the weekend, back on the wagon on Monday.

AP: What do you do for exercise? AS: Walk, Zumba class, weights, and I am thinking about adding a barre class.

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? AS: Egg whites, sparkling water, and strawberries.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? AS: Pomegranate Martini.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? AS: Home is more important. When that is running smoothly, work is easier.

AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? AS: Less than 2,500.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? AS: 1. Pack your bag, then take 6 things out of it. 2. Take an ipad or tablet with you. Long layovers or delays are less dreadful if you can catch up on work or watch a movie. 3. Drink lots of water. You’ll step off the plane refreshed if you stay hydrated.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. AS: 1. Skyfall by Adele. 2. So What by Pink. 3. I Want You Back by Cher Lloyd.

AP: What book are you reading right now? AS: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

AP: Quote to live by. AS: “Whatever it is…do it today.  Life passes you by while you’re waiting for the right time.”

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? AS: People who walk around with their cell phones attached to their ears and ignore human interaction.

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? AS: I wake up at 6:30 am and try to get a full 7 and a half hours of sleep.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? AS: Helping people feel good about themselves.

AP: Least favorite thing. AS: Beauty advertising. Those lashes on the mascara commercial are fake. I can help you have beautiful lashes, but no mascara is going to give you those lashes.

AP: Who is your mentor? AS: I would have to say an old friend of my Aunt’s named David Arnopole. He was an attorney and I looked up to him a great deal when I was a child. I went to law school because of him and if I hadn’t had that legal background, I wouldn’t have had the courage to start Bellacara.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. AS: Figure out what you are passionate about and make that your career. It is very difficult to leave a lucrative career once you’re in it, even if you hate it. So make your passion that career and work to make it lucrative.

"Have goals so big your problems pale in comparison"

They say there is no such thing as a free lunch, but yesterday I learned that is not true. I traveled to Dallas to attend Entrepreneur Magazine’s 5th Annual Growth Conference. Amazingly, this conference is free. Thanks to the generous support of The UPS Store, who underwrites the entire conference, I was fed breakfast, kept caffeinated throughout the day, and enjoyed a delicious free lunch. Most importantly, however, I was stimulated, inspired, motivated. And I laughed, a lot.

The keynote speaker was Barbara Corcoran, whose bright pink suit was matched only by the bright pink hair of Entrepreneur of the Year Limor Fried of AdaFruit Industries. Barbara managed to simultaneously make the audience laugh, think, nod in agreement, and clap. She reminded me of one of the most important concepts in marketing and sales: “Everyone wants what everyone wants, and nobody wants what nobody wants.” She also gave various examples of “jump and the net will appear.” She never had better ideas as during those times when her back was against the wall. She works best under pressure, and is most creative when times are bad. And she holds a grudge, specifically against Donald Trump.

The highlight of my day was Grant Cardone, whose session was entitled “Sell or Be Sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life.” I walked in to his session a few minutes late, the room was completely packed, and I instantly felt a jolt of amazing energy. His message was one of positivity, action, and possibility. “Have goals so big your problems pale in comparison,” he said.

In these times of continued uncertainty, Cardone made it his mission to remind the audience that we are not born uncertain. We are born positive and curious. Uncertainty is manufactured – by the media (good news does not sell), education (which teaches us to be conservative), and what he calls the “middle class epidemic.” The “middle class epidemic,” he explained, is this idea that average is now ok. “Average levels of activity is the worst possible thing for this country and for businesses.” We need “massive action.” We should stop playing defense. “Conservative business owners lose market share,” he admonishes. Instead, we need to focus on growing revenues, what he likens to playing offense. That’s the only thing that matters (this reminds me of Barbara’s earlier comments that “sales are the cure-all”). With massive levels of activity comes pressure, of course (again, he and Barbara seem to agree). But pressure is not bad, pressuring a customer is the best thing you can do for her, as long as you are certain of yourself, of your product, of your business. Indeed, “time and pressure make diamonds.”

I left Cardone’s session feeling like I could really do anything, feeling like no dream is out of reach. I left thinking I should have even bigger goals, in fact. I left with a new mantra: “Have goals so big your problems pale in comparison.”

New at Forever Laser Institut: The Exilis…

My father, Dr. Luigi Polla, leading Swiss dermatologist, was the first physician to offer laser technology for dermatological conditions in Europe. In the mid-1980s, he opened his solo dermatology practice after spending time at the Wellman Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital, with Professor Rox Anderson. After 10+ years in his traditional dermatology practice, he opened Forever Laser Institut, Switzerland’s premier medical day spa, in the heart of Geneva, in November of 1997 (we actually just celebrated the Institut’s 15th anniversary, click here for a great video).

Forever Laser Institut has many claims to fame – it is where Alchimie Forever products were born; it was designed by visual artist and architect Andreas Angelidakis; it offers the largest laser and device platform in all of Switzerland, including hospitals. My father continues to update the technology offered to his patients by investing in the leading avant-garde devices. His latest addition is the Exilis, which arrived at our Institut less than a month ago. Our team is being trained as I type, treatments will be available starting next week.

So what is this new exciting machine? How does it complement what we already offer? While this device can be used for the face and body, my father purchased it specifically for use on the body. The Exilis will complement other body therapies we offer, including massage, cryolipolysis, mesotherapy, and more.

The Exilis is a non-invasive treatment system for the reduction of targeted fat deposits and skin tightening. It provides effective body contouring by utilizing a new platform for volume reduction and re-contouring of problem areas. The results include marked improvement in cellulite, skin tightness, tissue volume, tone and elasticity. The Exilis patented technology uses controlled heating to the tissue through radio frequency in conjunction with mechanical action of ultrasound and skin cooling. The combination of the mechanical effects of ultrasound and the radiofrequency energy allows access and treatment of previously resistant tissue, including deeper fat layers, while contact cooling of the surface regulates the temperature of the skin and protects the fine dermal structures. As part of the process, the mechanical energy of ultrasound helps to open up fibrotic matrix fat structures, causing the separation of the fat-cell defensive formation into individual units. The exposed fat cells are then more isolated and accessible and more responsive to treatment. The energy causes targeted deep thermal tissue heating; metabolic activity is thus initiated and localized fat tissue lipolysis is accelerated. Fat cell volume decreases and the fat layer is reduced.

At Forever Laser Institut, we will recommend 5 sessions every 10 to 14 days. Each zone requires about 30 minutes of treatment. A zone can be arms, belly, thighs,  etc.

Translation: firmer, tighter contours, and a more beautiful silhouette.

BeautyView: Mathilde Thomas, Co-founder, Caudalie

A couple of years ago, my mother, Dr. Barbara Polla, had the pleasure of meeting Mathilde Thomas, co-creator of Caudalie, in Paris for an article on women who created beauty brands. I remember feeling a tad envious and wishing I were there to meet the gorgeous Mathilde in person. I have always been fascinated by her, thinking about all of the business questions I wanted to ask her. I only had to wait a year before a beauty conference brought Mathilde and I together. If you don’t know her, you should. She runs Caudalie, a successful beauty brand based on the benefits of grapes (indeed, true to her brand, she loves wine!). She runs the business with her family. She is French in all of the best ways possible. She is kind. And she is humble.

AP: What city were you born in? MT: Grenoble capital of the French alps.

AP: What city to do you live in? MT: New York, NY.

AP: What is your middle name? MT: Julia.

AP: What is your astrological sign? MT: Sagittarius.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? MT: I spent 6 years with the French skin team of L’Alpe d’Huez ski resort.

AP: What is your most prized possession? MT: My family and my team.

AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. MT: French.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? MT: Yes. A vintage Hermes watch that my mother gave me when I was 18 and graduated with honors.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? MT: Neither. I like jewelry by young creators.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? MT: I try to keep it simple: 1. Maintain beautiful and natural skin with my Caudalie skin care. 2. Stay slim and fit at all times. 3. Keep your hair shiny.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? MT: The Des Vignes at night and Zeste de Vigne in the morning. I designed them with the uber-talented Jacques Cavalier and Francis Kurkdjian.

AP: Botox or not? MT: Absolutely not.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? MT: I like the gentle non-drying INOA color.

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? MT: A glass of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte a day.

AP: What do you do for exercise? MT: I run around Central Park, and I run after my three kids all day long.

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? MT: A bottle of white Smith Haut Lafitte 2010 and home-made yogurt.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? MT: Red Smith Haut Lafitte 2009.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? MT: I aim to spend my time 1/3rd as a lover, 1/3rd as a mother, and 1/3rd as a creator.

AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? MT: Way too much.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? MT: 1. Moisturize your face and body before getting on the plane. 2. Never eat on the plane. 3. Drink plenty of water throughout travel. 4. And one more, change the time on your watch to the time at your destination as you board your flight.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. MT: ICU by Lou Doillon, Baby I’m yurs by Breakbot.

AP: What book are you reading right now? MT: I am finishing the Grace Coddington biography.

AP: Quote to live by. MT: “Just do it.”

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? MT: I wake up at 7 am daily, and I try to get eight hours of sleep per night.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? MT: My love for the industry can be summarized by this Linda Wells quote: “Beauty has started wars and inspired sonnets. It is serious and superficial. Beauty is about a dream of a better self.”

AP: Who is your mentor? MT: My grandmother.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. MT: Focus and keep a balance.