Plan de traitement pré-mariage (rapport 1/3)

J’avais entrepris plusieurs traitements en vus de mon Jour-J 🙂 En voici mon rapport, en trois parties. La premiĂšre partie concerne le peeling TCA, que j’ai testĂ© pour venir Ă  bout de mes taches brunes.

Mon jour-J fut le 25 juillet dernier. Robe romantique et Jimmy Choos, ciel bleu et amoureux heureux. Inoubliable
 encore plus beau que dans mes rĂȘves ! Je vous avais parlĂ© de la liste de soins esthĂ©tiques que je m’étais planifiĂ©s en vue de la cĂ©rĂ©monie – Ă  prĂ©sent, et comme promis, je vous fais mon « rapport ».

Partie 1 : peeling

Pratiquer des peelings Ă©claircissants en plein Ă©tĂ©, c’est compliquĂ©. Cependant je voulais vraiment estomper les taches brunes sur mon front. J’ai demandĂ© conseil Ă  l’une de nos spĂ©cialistes en la matiĂšre : Elisabeth. Elle est notre doyenne et a plus de 30 ans d’expĂ©rience en peelings.

Son diagnostic : j’ai un dĂ©but de melasma – une tache brune liĂ©e Ă  des problĂ©matiques hormonales (j’ai changĂ© mon type de contraception rĂ©cemment) et qui s’accentue lors d’expositions solaires rĂ©pĂ©tĂ©es. Par ailleurs, mĂȘme si je suis fille de dermatologue, je ne me protĂ©geais pas du soleil de maniĂšre quotidienne (j’ai adaptĂ© mon comportement depuis).

Elle m’a donc fait un peeling TCA lĂ©ger, Ă  15%. J’ai dĂ» faire trĂšs attention au soleil pendant 10 jours, j’ai pelĂ©, mais ça en aura valu la peine. Les taches ne se voient presque plus. J’ai en effet Ă©tĂ© bluffĂ©e par le rĂ©sultat aprĂšs une seule sĂ©ance alors qu’il faut compter en gĂ©nĂ©ral trois sĂ©ances pour un traitement complet.

PremiĂšre promesse faite Ă  Elisabeth : introduire un Ă©cran total dans ma routine-beautĂ© matinale. C’est chose faite avec l’achat du Mesoestetic Melan 130. J’ai passĂ© ma lune de miel en l’appliquant religieusement le matin et en tout cas une autre fois dans la journĂ©e – mon teint Ă©tait suffisamment unifiĂ© et ma peau lumineuse pour que je laisse mon traditionnel fond de teint dans mon tiroir genevois !

Conclusion : j’attaque le traitement complet cet hiver. Et selon les recommandations de notre lasĂ©riste Maria, je ferai probablement quelques sĂ©ances de Picosure focus pour perfectionner l’homogĂ©nĂ©isation de mon teint.

before the peel
a few days after
a few weeks after the first peel

The art of negotiation

Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a negotiation MasterClass held in Paris. I am happy to share some of my key learnings with you.

Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a negotiation MasterClass held in Paris. The teachers, Laurent Combalbert and Marwan Mery, are two prestigious negotiators, famous for inspiring the TV show “Ransom”. I had already done some reading (Negociator will be available in English on Amazon very soon!) on the subject and this course has extended my knowledge on this fascinating topic.

I am happy to share some of my key learnings with you:

– I have always perceived conflict as a negative thing, tending to avoid it as much as possible in my personal and professional life. I now understand the difference between conflict and confrontation: conflict is simply the expression of a disagreement and as such lays the ground for a negotiation. Confrontation, however, is more aggressive – which is exactly why I dislike it. From now on I will no longer view conflict as negative !

– A successful negotiation is made of 80% preparation and 20% agility. Needless to say I will never again enter a negotiation without studying beforehand all the issues at stake, especially those that pertain to other party.

– During a negotiation, always be clear on the position, objective, and stake. They are completely different elements. If one focuses only on the position, one might end up losing the negotiation for lack of addressing the other party’s real interest.

This intensive 2-day class made me realize how we all tend to enter a negotiation the way we enter a sports competition i.e. with the belief that “the winner takes it all”. This is actually the reason why so many negotiations fail! Instead, we should all start by thinking about the other party as our “coopetitor” – a competitor with whom we wish to cooperate.

On a more personal level, I have learned that my cooperative attitude and my empathy are valuable assets and tools – as long as I work on managing my emotions and my lack of assertiveness. Indeed, they will enable me and my coopetitors to end our negotiation with the positive impression that we did all we could to reach a balanced solution.  

I truly wish to pursue this course, to gain more experience and expertise (there are 2 more modules I can attend). I am convinced that it will contribute to continually improve myself as CEO of Forever Institut and Forever Boutique – and also as a mother 😉 !

Suggested reading list for those interested (currently in French only):
– Negociator
– NĂ©gociateurs d’élite
– Devenir meilleur nĂ©gociateur que ses enfants

Innover mĂȘme en temps de crise

Durant la fermeture de Forever et le confinement, mon attention Ă©tait initialement principalement dirigĂ©e sur les stratĂ©gies de survie et d’agilitĂ©. Mais une fois tout l’aspect administratif rĂ©glĂ© et les pare-feu mis en place, ma petite voix de leader intĂ©rieure (qui a souvent la tonalitĂ© de mon pĂšre
) a refait surface. Je me suis rappelĂ© l’importance de voir loin, de rester acteur de notre dĂ©veloppement et toujours en accord avec notre valeur d’audace. Peu importe l’incertitude de la situation, il fallait recommencer Ă  penser Ă  l’avenir.

Nous avons la chance d’avoir une Directrice MĂ©dicale toujours Ă  l’affĂ»t des innovations et prĂȘte Ă  me faire partager sa passion pour l’esthĂ©tique. Juste avant la fermeture en mars, la Dr. Sophie Menkes Ă©tait dĂ©jĂ  convaincue d’un nouveau produit qui pourrait reprĂ©senter un grand pas en avant dans l’univers de l’acide hyaluronique ; et nous avons dĂ©cidĂ© de ne pas brisĂ© notre Ă©lan. A peine trois semaines aprĂšs la rĂ©ouverture, l’ensemble de l’équipe mĂ©dicale a donc Ă©tĂ© formĂ©e Ă  l’injection de Profhilo.

Les études cliniques démontrent que le Profhilo retend et réhydrate la peau en profondeur, en améliore la qualité, et restaure une certaine douceur aux traits sans pour autant agir comme un produit de comblement.

Je n’ai testĂ© qu’une fois dans le passĂ© l’injection d’acide hyaluronique et j’ai Ă©tĂ© sujette Ă  une rĂ©action inflammatoire qui, bien que transitoire, m’a plutĂŽt dĂ©couragĂ© Ă  retenter l’expĂ©rience. Lorsque la Dr. Menkes m’a parlĂ© du Profhilo, et apprenant que sa formule ne contient pas les particules qui selon mon pĂšre Ă©taient Ă  l’origine de ma rĂ©action, j’ai dĂ©cidĂ© de me laisser tenter. Le fait que cet acide hyaluronique n’agisse pas en volumateur m’a aussi sĂ©duit – en effet, je n’ai pas (encore) l’impression d’en avoir besoin.

J’étais donc la toute premiĂšre modĂšle de la Dr. Debora Schivo Ă  Forever Boutique qui, contrairement Ă  la Dr. Menkes qui injecte a l’aiguille, a choisi une approche Ă  la canule. Il faut savoir que le Profhilo se « dĂ©pose » Ă  cinq endroits-clĂ©s du visage. Avec l’aiguille, il y a donc cinq points d’injection par cĂŽtĂ© ; la canule, quant Ă  elle, permet de dĂ©poser le produit en ne faisant qu’un point d’entrĂ©e au centre de chaque joue, et la canule Ă©tant plus longue que l’aiguille, celle-ci se glisse sous la peau pour atteindre, tel un Ă©ventail, les cinq points stratĂ©giques (regardez la vidĂ©o sur le compte instagram de la Boutique!).

0795bafb-0eb2-4412-a38c-7199bcdb4d45
les cinq points stratégiques

Je n’ai pas eu besoin d’anesthĂ©sie malgrĂ© mon niveau d’anxiĂ©tĂ© assez important (merci Dr. Schivo de m’avoir supportĂ© !), mais l’application de froid sur chaque joue a permis de gĂ©rer la lĂ©gĂšre douleur. Ce n’est pas agrĂ©able, le produit brĂ»le lĂ©gĂšrement lorsqu’il pĂ©nĂštre sous la peau. Les endroits oĂč le Profhilo a Ă©tĂ© dĂ©posĂ© n’étaient pas lisses le soir-mĂȘme (cela s’est rĂ©sorbĂ© en 24-48 heures) et le point d’entrĂ©e de la canule Ă©tait sensible pendant deux Ă  trois jours. Par contre, en repartant de Forever quelques heures aprĂšs l’injection, personne n’aurait pu dire que je m’étais fait faire quelque chose au visage.

IMG_2871
juste aprĂšs l’injection

Quatre jours jours seulement aprĂšs le traitement, je trouve ma peau dĂ©jĂ  plus lumineuse et uniforme; et alors que j’applique du fond de teint tous les jours (mĂȘme en vacances, au grand dam de mon fiancĂ©), je n’en ai pas appliquĂ© ce matin, pour la premiĂšre fois depuis trĂšs longtemps. Je suis par ailleurs persuadĂ©e que ces rĂ©sultats sont d’autant plus beaux que j’ai suivi les conseils de mon pĂšre depuis le dĂ©but du confinement, en appliquant le Discoloration Defense de Skinceuticals deux fois par jour, et le Serum Retinol de Alchimie Forever deux fois par semaine.  

J’ai dĂ©jĂ  prĂ©vu ma deuxiĂšme (et derniĂšre de l’annĂ©e) sĂ©ance de Profilho juste avant mon mariage, et je me rĂ©jouis alors de partager les rĂ©sultats, qui seront cliniquement visibles puisque j’ai pris des photos en 3D.

Merci Ă  toute l’équipe de Forever pour votre enthousiasme renouvelĂ© et pour votre soutien quant Ă  notre quĂȘte constante d’innovation. 😊

Infinie gratitude

Cette pĂ©riode de confinement met tout le monde Ă  rude Ă©preuve, pour diffĂ©rentes raisons. Certains traversent des Ă©preuves familiales ou de santĂ©, d’autres des difficultĂ©s financiĂšres ou organisationnelles. Personnellement, le moment le plus traumatisant pour moi a Ă©tĂ© d’avoir dĂ» fermer les portes de Forever Institut et Boutique le 16 mars au soir et j’ai vĂ©cu les semaines les plus difficiles au niveau entrepreneurial que j’ai eu Ă  vivre.

Etant dĂ©sormais sortie de cet Ă©tat post-traumatique de stupeur et de rĂ©volte, je rĂ©alise que cette pĂ©riode peut ĂȘtre une rĂ©elle source d’opportunité : pour certains, ce sera de changer de vie ; pour d’autres de rĂ©aliser que chaque mĂ©tier, chaque maillon de la chaĂźne, compte – et doit ĂȘtre respectĂ© ; pour d’autres encore ce sera de faire Ă©voluer leur entreprise ou leur maniĂšre de vivre


Personnellement, l’un des sentiments que cette situation inattendue m’apporte est une infinie reconnaissance et la rĂ©alisation cruelle mais nĂ©cessaire que je prenais trop de choses pour acquises, et notamment :

  • Ma libertĂ© d’action : en tant qu’entrepreneur, on travaille tout le temps, mais notre chance est d’avoir une certaine flexibilitĂ© dans l’amĂ©nagement de son temps (dĂ©pendant des pĂ©riodes bien sĂ»r). C’était facile et presque naturel d’organiser des petits moments de bonheur spontanĂ© comme une verrĂ©e entre amis ou collĂšgues dans mon bar habituel, Ă  la derniĂšre minute ; ou de m’offrir une escapade amoureuse ou en famille dans un coin de paradis
 j’ai le privilĂšge de pouvoir m’offrir ces plaisirs.
    Cette pĂ©riode m’a ouvert les yeux sur le sens du sentiment de libertĂ©. Car en fin de compte, on peut le crĂ©er en nourrissant notre jardin intellectuel et en sachant s’adapter Ă  notre environnement : j’ai dĂ©couvert une nouvelle routine de retrouvailles avec mes sƓurs, entre amis ou collĂšgues, chez moi et en mode « virtuel », les joies d’une vie familiale renforcĂ©e (nous avons accueilli les enfants de mon fiancĂ©) et le bonheur procurĂ© par une vie malgrĂ© tout plus lente.

 

  • L’insouciance : j’ai probablement un biais suisse, car nous n’avons pas souffert d’attentats alors que de multiples pays ont Ă©tĂ© tĂ©moins de la violence accrue de ces derniĂšres annĂ©es ; mais mon insouciance passĂ©e – avec comme principales prĂ©occupations celles de m’assurer que nos entreprises familiales fleurissent et que ma fille se dĂ©veloppe bien – me manque !
    Depuis quelques semaines
 je dĂ©veloppe une autre forme d’insouciance, celle dĂ©veloppĂ©e par la conviction fondamentale que l’épreuve rend plus fort. Elle alimente ma conviction que tout est possible, pour autant qu’on prenne ce que la vie nous offre, Ă  chaque instant.

 

  • La dynamique du dĂ©veloppement et des projets : j’ai grandi dans une famille d’entrepreneurs, nos projets nous ont toujours nourris et rĂ©unis. Quand l’état d’urgence a Ă©tĂ© dĂ©crĂ©tĂ© le 16 mars dernier, j’ai cru un instant que mon monde s’effondrait, que je perdais tout ce que j’avais investi en Ă©nergie et en sueur ces quatre derniĂšres annĂ©es
 et puis mon pĂšre, le Dr. Luigi L. Polla, a eu ces mots qui continuent, plus de trois semaines plus tard, de rĂ©sonner en moi : « Rachel, si on doit tout recommencer, alors ce sera aussi une chance, tu sais ; et on recommencera. DiffĂ©remment, peut-ĂȘtre ; mais ensemble ». D’autant plus surprenant que cette dynamique de renouvellement vienne de la gĂ©nĂ©ration de mon pĂšre. Il m’a offert le plus bel exemple de rĂ©silience, a calmĂ© mes esprits, et m’a permis de me relancer dans une perspective d’avenir.

Le confinement ne durera qu’un temps – plus ou moins long ; quand nous avons la chance d’habiter dans notre merveilleux pays, d’ĂȘtre entourĂ© d’amour, d’avoir un toit et de jouir d’une excellente santĂ©, il n’appartient finalement qu’à nous de nous apaiser et de dĂ©cider de ce qui adviendra aprĂšs.

sasha reine

 

 

 

Going Viral

Covid-19 seems to be in everyone’s mind and conversation… It has been a great opportunity to learn more about my team and business.

Covid-19 seems to be in everyone’s mind and conversation. What started as a “far-away” problem suddenly became an anxiogenic reality very close to us – even more so now that cases have been declared in Geneva. Being an optimistic and rarely anxious woman, I was not alarmed nor did I judge it necessary to act upon this situation. I felt however that my father took it very seriously and needed to be reassured. That is why I took things in hand at Forever; and I am glad I did, because this experience has been a wonderful opportunity to learn more about my team and my business. What have I noticed so far?

First of all, that we are quick to lose our sense of judgement. Let me share an anecdote to illustrate this point. I entered our common room while one of our laser-hair-removal therapists advised her colleague to double-check her client because she had just come back from Mexico. The former, looking surprised, replied “but there are no cases of Corona virus in Mexico”! Actually, what her colleague meant was that the client’s skin might be tanned, and therefore react more strongly to the laser treatment. This did make us all laugh
 even though it shows our brains function differently when we are preoccupied.

A very positive consequence of the Covid-19 situation is that – contrary to my presumption – it brought our team closer. We have all been more caring with one another, sharing good advice and news, asking whether we’ve taken our daily vitamin and echinacea supplements to boost our immune system. Those staff members that are less anxious naturally took it upon themselves to reassure their more hypochondriac colleagues.

Our clients have also been very grateful and appreciative of how thoughtful we have been in the situation, offering them hand sanitizers and Alchimie Forever’s Dry Skin Balm in every treatment room, reception, and waiting areas. The timing is actually pretty fitting since we have just launched our new packaging on this product. I told you I tend to always see the positive in life 😉

IMG_1592

Lastly is the first time in my life as a CEO I am confronted to the possibility of a major external risk to the business, challenged to find the appropriate dose of prevention and empathy towards those who are more scared than I am, without over-reacting and generating useless panic. I am finding the exercise extremely interesting and enriching, and my next read will be about crisis management. There’s still a lot to learn.

Happy & Sexy Countdown

In 5 months, my partner and I will be celebrating our love and commitment to one another; an outdoors wedding in tune with the summer solstice. Obviously, I want the whole experience to be as magical as in my childhood dreams: the sunset between the vineyards and the lake, the gathering, the dress, the music, the love declaration
 And I wish to feel my most beautiful self, to honor and dazzle my man, our families and friends. Do you see what I’m getting at? 😉

chateau lacoste

So here’s my Forever beauty countdown program to get ready for the D-Day

  • Laser hair removal: already done!
  • D-5 months (now): start using Alchimie Forever’s Advanced Retinol Serum twice a week at night
  • D-4 months: laser facial with Picosure Focus to fade away brown sunspots and tighten my skin (I’ve already done 1 session, so 2 more to go over the next two months)
  • D-2 months: A light version of the Softlift , performed by my dad Dr Luigi L. Polla. A very subtle and natural way to enhance my facial features (cheekbones, jawline), reduce the under-eye circles and nasolabial folds, and most importantly generally rejuvenate my skin
  • D-7 weeks: Hyaluronic acid filler to plump-up my lips (not the ones you think; see my blog on the injection of the “other lips” 
.)
  • D-6 weeks: Get a Hydrafacial Boost and start using the Pigment Lightening Serum of Alchimie Forever to complement my treatment
  • D-2 weeks: get a Hydrafacial Pamper to have the perfect skin tone and enjoy a little bit of pampering on top
  • D-3 days: my sister Cyrille has advised an eye-lash tint. Knowing me, for sure there will be tears! That way no mascara leaks 😉
  • D-2 days: a lymphatic drainage should help me relax and detox
  • D-day: my Forever Beauty program being over, I will get my make-up and hair done by Le Bal des CrĂ©ateurs, the crĂšme de la crĂšme in Switzerland

I’ll keep a beauty journal to share my experiences, as well as before and after pictures. Stay tuned!

My key CEO-takeaways for 2019

I am sure you all know about the concept of “3 take-away messages”. I often use this method in my life, to synthesize and integrate the learnings of a class, a workshop, a book – any relevant experience really. So I decided to apply it to my 2019 business year as a CEO of our family business.

 

  1. COACHING rather than COPING

My first stress trigger was when I realized we didn’t start the year according to the set budget. I tried to cope by myself using various strategies, but by April, I felt powerless to reverse the trend. That’s when I entered panic mode. Luckily I had just started new coaching sessions.

In just a couple of sessions Eva Cruz guided me towards asking myself the right questions – which led me to find the right solutions. Much more useful than panicking! Most importantly, she helped me find my “WHY” – the famous Why of Simon Sinek. Since our coaching sessions ended, I feel like everything kind of fell into place. Even my anxiety level has reduced quite drastically.

Understanding the power of the right type of coaching at the right time, I tried a second approach towards the end of the year. I started Krav Maga with Thierry Colomb, a self-defense and productivity coach. These sessions help me feel more powerful and in charge.

  1. FACE rather than FEAR

This year I have really worked on my tendency to avoid difficult discussions. My coping mechanism was usually to hide in my “cave” (my office for example) rather than face them with trust and strength. It was particularly challenging for me to change this behavior, as it is rooted in my childhood.  But I’m getting there. And the most recent discussion to date I had with a dear colleague has been a relief for both of us; we were able to tell each other what we needed to move forward into a more constructive, and successful relationship. When I received a heartfelt thank you note for what I felt was a tough discussion, I realized how facing issues is key.

  1. ASK rather than ATTEMPT

Lastly, I realized how important it is to ask for help sooner rather than later. As a young CEO, I kept feeling that reaching out for help would hinder the image others would have of me. My eldest sister Ada and her husband have kept trying to change my mind about this. I don’t know if it’s their persistency or simply my growing maturity. But definitely, 2019 has been a year of calls or emails to the Chairman of our Board of Directors (Gilles Bos, a wonderful mentor), asking him for advice. Looking back – and ahead towards 2020 – I feel that I have grown because of this new and positive perception of the act of asking.

 

Photoshoot des #Pollasisters

Depuis 2013, mes sƓurs et moi organisons des sĂ©ances de photo de nous quatre. J’ai eu le bonheur d’offrir ma nouvelle maison comme dĂ©cor de notre derniĂšre sĂ©ance en date. Ce fut un moment trĂšs privilĂ©giĂ© car cela nous a permis de faire tout ce que j’aime avec elles


Depuis 2013, mes sƓurs et moi organisons des sĂ©ances de photo de nous quatre. On joue le jeu, on se pomponne, on se met en scĂšne, Ă  chaque fois dans des lieux diffĂ©rents et avec un style particulier. D’un sacerdoce (je l’avoue, au dĂ©but, je n’étais ni trĂšs Ă  l’aise, ni trĂšs patiente), Ă  un moment de partage joyeux et qui nous rapproche, ces moments ponctuent nos rencontres Ă  quatre.

J’ai eu le bonheur d’offrir ma nouvelle maison comme dĂ©cor de notre derniĂšre sĂ©ance en date. Ce fut un moment trĂšs privilĂ©giĂ© car cela nous a permis de faire tout ce que j’aime avec mes sƓurs
 et je sais dĂ©jĂ  que les photos nous rappelleront cette journĂ©e extraordinaire.

Cyrille, en charge de l’organisation de nos shootings (la pauvre, gĂ©rer ses sƓurs dans ces moments-lĂ  n’est pas toujours Ă©vident !), avait prĂ©vu plusieurs tableaux :

  • Nous prĂ©parer ensemble dans mon dressing : choisir nos vĂȘtements et accessoires pour la soirĂ©e, nous maquiller et nous faire belle. Ce fut la prise de vue la plus compliquĂ©e, d’une part parce que c’était la premiĂšre (il faut toujours un tour de chauffe), et d’autre part car mon dressing n’avait pas une profondeur de champ nĂ©cessaire au cadrage. Note Ă  moi-mĂȘme: demander au pĂšre NoĂ«l d’agrandir mon dressing 😉
  • Cuisiner ensemble. Un menu tout simple composĂ© d’une soupe, de pĂątes et des tomates fraĂźches. J’adore recevoir ma sƓur aĂźnĂ©e lors de ses visites Ă  GenĂšve. Le fait qu’elle choisisse de loger systĂ©matiquement chez moi est un rĂ©el privilĂšge qui redouble mon plaisir Ă  prĂ©parer nos repas. C’était donc un tableau que j’ai particuliĂšrement apprĂ©cié ! Surtout quand on rajoute la cerise sur le gĂąteau
 Ă  savoir du champagne.
  • Boire un thĂ© chaud (eh oui ! J’adore le champagne mais il faut savoir diversifier les plaisirs) et bouquiner autour du feu de cheminĂ©e. J’ai Ă©tĂ© conquise par la maison car je la trouve magnifique, mais aussi parce qu’il y a une cheminĂ©e. J’ai donc eu le bonheur d’allumer mon premier feu avec mes meilleures amies (mes sƓurs), et nous avons passĂ© un doux moment Ă  regarder les flammes danser dans l’antre de la cheminĂ©e.
  • Faire du sport. Le sport fait entiĂšrement partie de nos vies ; mĂȘme Cyrille qui n’était pas du tout sportive s’y est mise ! C’était donc assez naturel qu’on promeuve le fait de prendre soin de soi et de sa beautĂ©, pas uniquement au travers des crĂšmes et des soins, mais aussi par l’exercice physique.
  • Enfin, profiter d’un moment de dĂ©tente dans le jacuzzi
 aprĂšs l’effort nous avions droit Ă  du rĂ©confort. Le petit plus de ce moment ? Quand ma fille Sasha est arrivĂ©e et s’y est glissĂ©e avec nous pour inaugurer nos premiĂšres photos Ă  cinq !

Sharing success

Saturday, it was Forever Boutique’s 2-years anniversary. What a journey! When I think back on all the work that brought us here, and all the energy that we have put in to make our business grow and bloom since October 6th 2017, I actually feel dizzy with amazement.

Early Saturday morning, in the train for Lausanne, I took a moment to reflect on the exciting day that was about to unfold
 Forever Boutique’s 2-year anniversary.

What a journey! When I think back on all the work that brought us here, and all the energy that we have put in to make our business grow and bloom since October 6th 2017, I actually feel dizzy with amazement.

The idea of this Boutique had been gestating in our father’s mind for 4 years, but was finally created in 9 months. And just like a pregnancy, the experience was thrilling and exhausting towards the end; the “baby” developed slowly, its design taking shape progressively, until a few weeks before the grand opening when the anxiety of how it would really “look and feel” reached numerous peaks.

Admiring the scenery between Geneva and Lausanne – a landscape which is now an integral part of my business life – I realized that work, sweat, and tears were not the only reasons for our success; our capacity to work together as a family contributed a great deal. There’s the transmission of trust and leadership from the first generation to the second; the sharing of responsibilities between us 4 sisters representing the “next gen”; and the whole family’s support and desire to challenge one another with love, care, and respect, aspiring to make each other – and our businesses – flourish. The surprising beauty in all this, is that our family has actually grown too! Those colleagues who really share our values, work ethic, vision, dreams, ambitions, philosophy, and embrace them all as if they were their own – they are part of the “family”.

boutique2ans

One of these gems we were so lucky to meet is Marie. She has become my best friend, and my best business partner-in-crime. Our clients often ask if she is part of the Polla family; she may not be by blood, but she definitely is in spirit. She has my back and I have hers. What she has achieved over the past two years as CEO of Forever Boutique is amazing: she has given it a soul, a pulse, an aura. Marie has been exemplary in her commitment as well as in her positive and forward-thinking attitude. Today, our success is hers too. Trusting her with our “baby” is our family’s greatest achievement.

Marie, thank you for these 2 amazing years and the many more to come!

marie et rachel folles

 

Discovering a far-away culture

Last month, I spent two weeks of “business holidays” in China and Seoul. I had a wonderful time, even if it was everything but relaxing, and must admit that I fell in love with China. I think part of the feeling was due to the fact that I realized how uninformed we are when it comes to this fascinating country. Just two examples of what I wasn’t expecting at all: Chinese people are  welcoming once you take the time and heartfelt effort to engage with them; and the country is particularly clean – after the third picture of blue sky, I stopped
 as it actually was “normal”.

I also fell in love with the complexity of the country: after these two weeks I have never been more convinced that life is never black or white – but rather made up of billions of shades of uniqueness (or blue, if you look at the sky)!

These considerations set apart, here are the main highlights of my trip there:

  • It is a far-away country, not only due to the kilometers which separate us. First of all, 99% of the people I met during my business meetings don’t speak English; communication, which is the basis of engaging in a trustful relationship, is truly challenging. Then, our culture and traditions are estranged, which makes for awkward moments, but good stories to tell!
  • Dimension is totally dissimilar: when I met one of my business contacts, she wanted to show me some of her franchises. Only two shops, yet seven hours later (more or less a full tour of Switzerland; here though we never left Beijing!), made me realize how dissimilar our sense of distance is. Another stunning example is that in my country and industry, we talk of a “chain” when we have 2-3 clinics and are considered as a major player when we generate over 4 million revenues; every place I visited in China or Seoul had 25 to 40 different locations, each generating tens of million in revenues. It is more than attracting, I must admit; but back home, I doubt that we, Europeans, have what it takes to conquer Chinese clients in their homeland!

rap chine 2

  • Time is money: in their view, it is ridiculous that a Doctor does the consult; they have “beauty consultants” trained for that, leaving the Doctors time to perform the acts and the trainings – where their real added value lies. We don’t work like this in Switzerland; yet I was intrigued by the concept and I am relentlessly thinking of how I could implement this here, without being untrue to our own culture and mentality.

I came home with many business ideas and meetings to talk about, as well as a multitude of personal memories. On this more personal note, my main highlight was seeing the astonishment in my daughter’s eyes. And discovering the card she bought and then wrote, telling me how proud she is to see me work hard for our family business. sasha-et-moi.jpg