Fall Forever

I know, I know, it is still summer for 10 more days. Yet in my heart, autumn has arrived. I love fall for so many reasons… the changing foliage, my birthday, sweaters, boots, pumpkins, richer moisturizers.

I also love fall because with it comes the feeling of a New Year – like the start of a New School Year, with all of the possibilities and opportunities (and new office supplies) that come with that feeling.

Here are my fall rituals.

1.Spring cleaning. I am purging old papers (and you know my love of paper), making room for new, embracing the feeling of lightness.

2. Goal setting. The arrival of fall is a reminder that there are only 110 days left in the calendar year. That’s 110 opportunities to check things off my list and accomplish what I set out to do January 1st.

3.(Mental) Space clearing. During fall, trees let go of their leaves, releasing the old, to make room for new buds. Following their example, I work to let go of something I no longer need, be it a feeling, an obligation, a regret.

4. Seed planting (not literally). Fall is a time of incubation… seeds of ideas planted now will bloom next spring. I make myself take time for creative thinking and brainstorming.

How do you celebrate the arrival of fall?

Family business…. Business family

Today, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the inspiring Maimah Karmo in the context of providing insights to business owners in the greater Washington, DC area.

Maimah is the President & CEO Of the Tigerlily Foundation, the publisher of Bliss Magazine, the voice behind the Pure Bliss podcast, a mother, a breast cancer survivor, and much more.

She asked me to speak about one of my favorite topics, family business.

When I tell people I work in family business, I get a wide array of reactions and questions…

“Oh, wow, how do you do it?”

“Well, that must be really hard!”

“I could never work with my family.”

“I wish I had a family business!”

I love the opportunity to work with my family. It’s not always perfect, but I would not trade it for anything. Here are some of the insights I shared on my interview today.

What I love about working with my family:
– There are no politics (or less).
– We do not question our motivation: we all, in the end, want the family business to grow and prosper (even if we may disagree with the how).
– Work feels more personal (some may say this is a con, but I love this aspect so much!).
– I now know my family (Mom, Dad, sisters, uncle…) in a work capacity, at a different level than “just” a sister.
– Working with my family has made me feel closer to them.

The challenges about working with my family include:
– There is no family time that doesn’t involve some work conversation; it becomes a lifestyle more than anything else.
– Family dynamics tend to seep into work dynamics (for example, my oldest child behavior is sometimes very visible in my work interactions…)
I hear stories from other people working in family business, who share with me that working together destroyed the family; I suppose this is a con, but I do believe that with respect, love, and some best practices, this is a very avoidable con.

Our family business best practices include:
– We work on the idea until we all agree: if we disagree it’s because the idea we are debating is not yet right enough or good enough.

– The above notwithstanding, we also agree to disagree (then the project or idea we disagree on does not get executed).
– Respect always – even more so because we are family members.
– We each have our areas we work on / in, so we aren’t all involved in the same thing, and we each have “ownership” of something.
– We actively work on our family business dynamics and frameworks, as this in itself is an important success factor. For example, all members of the family involved in day to day operations attended a 4-day family business seminar at INSEAD, one of the best family business experiences I have ever had.
– We have family meetings every other year to update those family members who are not working in the business, so they feel informed, involved, and cared for. This also enables us to benefit from their “outside the business” ideas and perspectives, which is quite invaluable.

– Finally, my sisters and I have a monthly Skype meeting to talk life, work, family business, and everything in between. That communication helps us be better sisters, and better business partners. In the end, whether it’s business, family, or family business, it really is all about communication.

The Podcasts That Make Me Smarter

I started listening to podcasts to make it easier to run on the treadmill, one of my most hated things, yet something necessary if I am going to stay in shape on the road. These days, I listen to them while flying, while driving, and sometimes even while getting ready in the morning.

Here are some of my favorites. Please share yours!

The Knowledge Project by Shane Parrish.

This is the first ever podcast I listened to. The Angel Philosopher episode with Naval Ravikant is still one of my favorites ever, I have now listened to it twice.

Living It by Kelly DiNardo and Amy Pearce-Hayden.

This is a new podcast, started by my friend Kelly, a project that came out of her book Living the Sutras. I love the theme of “living life on purpose” and particularly enjoyed this week’s episode with Michelle Gielan.

How I Built This with Guy Raz by NPR.

These are interviews of entrepreneurs and how they built their business. I got turned on to this podcast because of an episode featuring Marcia Kilgore and her story about Bliss – and have been addicted ever since. The episode with the two founders of SoulCycle is also amazing.

Freakonomics Radio by Stephen Dubner.

This podcast definitely takes me out of my comfort zone and introduces me to topics I don’t typically think about. One of my favorite episodes is How to Catch World Cup Fever, from this past summer.

And here are some podcasts I downloaded but have yet to listen to…

Best of Both Worlds by Laura Vanderkam and Sarah Hart-Unger. I got turned on to this one after reading Laura’s book Off the Clock, which I loved.

The Business of Fashion. This is one of my favorite daily newsletters (I wrote about these here). I just need more hours in the day.

What are your favorite podcasts? And when do you listen to them?

2018 Goals 

I am in Los Angeles today (well, technically, Manhattan Beach) for an all-day meeting that was just cancelled this past Friday morning. After initial frustration, I decided instead that sometimes, cancelled plans are a gift from the Universe. It is January 22, 2018, and I am already feeling overwhelmed and behind. Actually, if I am really honest, so far this month (this year) I have felt organized on January 3rd and 4th

Somehow the year started so intensely that I am still figuring out my 2018 goals, 2018 budget, 2018 marketing plan. So today, the Universe gave me the gift of catch up. After a run by the ocean to clear my head, a Fast Eddy juice from Sunlife Organics, I am sitting outdoors in the sun thinking about my goals.

 My Alchimie Forever goals are focused on revenue growth, a new product launch (fabulous retinol serum in the making), and continued profitability. Also, I commit to redoing all of our Youtube videos which really need a lot of improvement (don’t watch them!). I will work to delegate more, which should be made easier by the arrival of our newest team member Emma, Sales & Marketing Project Manager.

 My personal goals involve both recurring resolutions and new commitments:

  • Drink more water (I think this has been on my list most years…).
  • Continue my one-day juice cleanser per month (and actually, today is January’s day… when in SoCal…).
  • Carry less paper around with me – if you know me, you know my Céline tote that goes anywhere I go, which weighs an average of about 22-25lbs. Apparently my back pain may be related to this…
  • Exercise three days per week – consistently. This week will be the first 2018 week where this actually happens.
  • Read more. Specifically, finish reading the stack of books on my bedroom floor that remain “pending” since I “Marie Kondoed” my book shelves over a year ago.
  • Clean out my closet. Apparently, the average woman wears only about 30% of her closet. This is probably my case, so I need to do something with at least 50% of the remaining 70%.
  • Be kinder. In particular to the TSA employees at the airport who sometimes get on my nerve. And maybe also to myself (reminding myself for example that finalizing 2018 goals on Jan 22 is not the worst possible thing in the world).

I like to have a word that defines each year for me – like a leitmotiv. I don’t have my word yet for 2018… I am hoping I will by the end of this day during which I will be catching up, but also letting my brain roam around freely in the California sunshine.

Happy 2018!