Trèfle à quatre

Interview de mon père sur son sujet de prédilection, ses filles.
Et comment sommes-nous arrivés à tous travailler ensemble?

Étant jeune avais-tu imaginé un jour transmettre une entreprise à tes quatre filles ?

Rien ne présageait cela. Ce n’est pas forcément en planifiant l’avenir que les choses se déroulent comme on le souhaite. Je pense que la réussite dans notre cas est un mélange d’ambition, de chance, de vision, d’intuition, de capacité à saisir l’occasion qui t’est donnée, et d’humilité.

Ce que je savais, en revanche, avant même de devenir père, c’est que je désirais avoir quatre enfants.

Pourquoi ?

En Italie, les murs des maisons étaient ornées de photos de famille. Les plus belles selon moi étaient celles qui montraient les parents et 4 enfants ; cette composition donnait une harmonie spontanée à la photographie.

Filles ou garçons ?

Je n’avais pas de préférence. Cependant lorsque notre 4ème enfant était en route j’avais très envie que ce soit une fille, pour préserver l’harmonie qui s’était installée au sein de votre fratrie et de notre famille.

Quand nous avions 6 ou 7 ans, que pensais-tu que nous allions devenir ?

Je pensais qu’Ada deviendrait Général dans l’armée ; depuis toute petite, elle avait l’âme, la force et la personnalité d’un chef. Toi, Cyrille, je pensais que tu serais danseuse étoile. Tu avais la grâce, l’intensité et la nature éthérée. Rachel, je voulais absolument qu’elle soit actrice ; très petite elle savait tenir la scène. Les prémisses d’un grand charisme. Nous l’avons inscrite à des défilés, des spectacles d’enfant, et plus tard au Cours Florent. Et lorsque Roxane a commencé l’équitation à 6 ans, je rêvais qu’elle devienne championne hippique. Nous avons partagé 12 ans d’aventures équestres où elle n’a cessé de démontrer sa volonté, sa force, son esprit de gagnante.

Selon toi, comment se fait-il que nous soyons toutes aujourd’hui impliquées dans les entreprises familiales ? Le prédisais-tu déjà en 1997 à l’ouverture de l’Institut ?

J’en avais l’intuition, puisque quand j’ai fondé Forever Institut, je ne lui ai pas donné mon nom. J’ai pensé qu’un centre de médecine esthétique pourrait éventuellement intéresser l’une de mes filles – sans pour autant savoir laquelle, et pas nécessairement en tant que médecin.

C’est lorsqu’Ada a pris en main la marque Alchimie Forever après son MBA que j’ai pris conscience du concept de l’entreprise familiale qui irait au-delà de son fondateur.

J’ai souhaité vous transmettre l’actionnariat de Forever très vite. En 2013, lorsque j’ai récupéré toutes les actions, je me suis senti libre de vous les donner.

Pourquoi nous avoir transmis les actions de Forever si tôt ?

Rachel avait travaillé pour Alchimie Forever à Genève durant plusieurs années et Cyrille m’assistait dans ma pratique médicale et se dirigeait vers le marketing et l’écriture. Les quatre sœurs s’entendaient très bien. J’ai pensé que ça pourrait être un beau projet pour vous. Et ce projet ne pouvait pas se matérialiser sans que Forever ne vous appartienne totalement, à vous les 4 filles.

J’étais et je suis toujours convaincu qu’on s’implique davantage dans une entreprise qui nous appartient. Mon intention était de vous responsabiliser, et non de vous forcer. Il ne devait y avoir aucune pression, le désir d’intégrer l’entreprise devait venir d’un choix libre et personnel. J’avais aussi décidé que si l’une d’entre vous prenait la direction avec l’accord et le soutien des autres sœurs, je me serais retiré du groupe de management de Forever.

Puis, un séjour à l’INSEAD vous a permis de comprendre la valeur et la beauté d’une entreprise familiale et de vous projeter au-delà de votre propre génération à travers sa pérennisation. Vous avez pris conscience de la force qui peut émaner d’un projet mené par 4 sœurs.

Aujourd’hui, avec 6 ans de recul, je vois que vous êtes toutes les 4 impliquées, chacune en fonction de qui vous êtes et ou vous en êtes dans votre parcours professionnel. Ada est Présidente Directrice Générale d’une de nos marques, Rachel est leader du groupe, tu es la plume et l’âme de Forever, et Roxane est médecin – un grand chirurgien en devenir.

Qu’est-ce qui fait, selon toi, que nous nous entendons si bien et que nous arrivons à collaborer ensemble ?

Cette entente est possible car vous avez grandi dans une famille ou jamais l’une n’a été préférée à l’autre, ni l’une dite meilleure que l’autre. Vous avez grandi dans une absolue égalité ; égalité dans la confiance, l’amour et le respect. Ça vous permet aujourd’hui de vous gérer les 4 sans aucune ambiguïté ou problématique. Vous êtes consciente d’être chacune l’égale de l’autre, chacune avec ses spécificités.

The Polla Sisters and the King of Hearts
The King of hearts empowered his daughters

Less is More

Ada Polla share her thoughts on how less is more with a few
key signature pieces in your wardrobe.

My grandmother and my godmother both taught me that it is best to value quality over quantity. In life in general, and in your wardrobe in particular. Both always told me that the perfect fitted back slacks would serve me better than 5 cheap pairs bought in trendy colors. As such, I pride myself on a wardrobe that is filled with items I love and wear – and not too many of them.

Nonetheless, my interpretation of a “minimalist wardrobe” was recently challenged when my girlfriend Jenn Mapp told me about her 35 items. She recently decided to simplify her closet (thus her life), and pare it down to 35 items. And she loves the result – not just in her closet. Intrigued? Read on…

AP: What made you decide to reduce your wardrobe to 35 items?

JM: For most of life shopping was my favorite pastime. Now I have a toddler and an infant, a full time job and own a small (but charming!) house. This translates to no time, minimal storage and considerably less discretionary income. Earlier this spring, while searching Pinterest for closet organization tips, I discovered several boards dedicated to the idea of a minimalist wardrobe. The notion of turning my massive, unmanageable closet into a curated collection of seasonal apparel just felt right. Within a few days I ruthlessly edited my clothes down to 35 items and consigned, donated or stored the rest. My life has improved immeasurably.

AP: What are your 35 items? Does this include accessories, shoes, lingerie – everything?

JM: I define “35 items” as the apparel hanging in my closet — business casual separates worn mostly to work. My 35 items do not include accessories because these are my signature outfit makers and without them this would not be a plausible fashion experiment – for me.  Workout clothes, lingerie and sleep items do not count. However, my entire fashion collection now fits in one side of an Ikea Pax wardrobe. This makes me very proud.

AP: How has your life changed since undergoing this fashion experiment?

JM: In so many ways! Obviously I’ve saved money and time but I’m also happier and more present. You don’t realize how much energy it takes to manage possessions. Most tangibly, my fashion experiment motivated me to start a blog. I assumed #jennmapp would be a fashion blog cataloging multiple outfits created from 35 items but I’ve found that I am more inspired by the psychology of the process. Curbing the impulse to shop parallels instinctive behavior in every aspect of my life.

AP: Any tips on how others could reduce their wardrobes?

JM: Sure, how about a random numbered list? The internet loves a list.

  1. Purchase or borrow an inexpensive rolling rack.
  2. Assemble your entire wardrobe in one place.
  3. Automatically move formal or cocktail attire, out of season clothes, ill-fitting or damaged items to the rolling rack.
  4. Consider every item that remains. These will make up your current season collection. If you love it, you will know in one second – leave it in your closet. If you experience any hesitation towards an item, put it on the rolling rack.
  5. Ruthlessly edit until you are down to a collection that feels right. You will need an adequate assortment of tops, bottoms and outwear. Consider your lifestyle. Depending on the size of your wardrobe, you may require several rounds of edits.
  6. Store, repair, consign or donate the rest. Just do it.
  7. Repeat every three – four months, filling in gaps as needed.

As I listen to Jenn in awe, she concludes: “You only think you need hundreds of items. You don’t! I guarantee you only wear 30 – 50 pieces as it is. Closet reduction is an excellent exercise in defining your value system. If you read this and are inspired to act, you are ready. Take the plunge. If the idea doesn’t resonate at all or seems inconceivable, well someone has to keep the economy afloat, right?”

Right!

Resources to help you achieve this minimalist wardrobe:

http://jennmapp.tumblr.com/

@tinclosettonsofstyle

Project333.com

Theunfancy.com

Summer

Today is the first official day of Summer, the longest and one of the most magical days of the year. Summer vacation is on my mind, as I leave tomorrow for two weeks of rest and relaxation…

Today is the first official day of Summer, the longest and one of the most magical days of the year. Summer vacation is on my mind, as I leave tomorrow for two weeks of rest and relaxation…

Here are our four favorite summer destinations.

Roxane:

The island of Reunion, where I spent my honeymoon. I love islands because they usually combine hiking and the ocean in one single venue. Born and raised in Geneva, Switzerland, I have always had water (Lac Leman) and mountains close to me, making both an essential component of my well-being. On vacation, I look for the same combination with the addition of sun, heat, sand, beaches, and waves. I love to be active and hike in the middle of nature and could never spend all day lying on the beach tanning (you know, my dad’s a dermatologist…). But when it gets too hot, there is nothing like ending the day by having fun in the ocean. The true luxury for me is not having to drive hours between the hikes and the ocean but having everything close by.

Rachel:

Sailing (pretty much anywhere). I wake up every morning grateful for my life and all the beautiful places I have had the privilege to visit. Yet the one place I dream of when I think of summer vacation is a sailing boat. Whether I’m alone with my fiancé, or with my daughter, or with friends… I am never as free as on a boat. Right there, admiring the sunset or the sunrise, I feel surrounded by my version of ultimate luxury: time, beauty, and space. 

  • Time takes on a different dimension, a different meaning, on a sailing boat: it flies at a very different pace – very slowly most of the time until suddenly something happens… 
  • I feel goosebumps whenever I recall the beauty of nature. Whether you snorkel or enjoy a solitary sunrise… the beauty of what surrounds you never leaves you indifferent. 
  • Space is the third magical ingredient, just as paradoxical as that of time: the boat is small but the sea immense and its grandeur never fails to surprise you. 

The moments I have spent on a boat are amongst the fondest and most serene I have. I cannot wait to go sailing again. 

Cyrille:

Italy. When I set foot on this land so dear to my heart, I instantly feel at home as much as on vacation. I could write a whole book about the reasons why… here are just a few:

  • Fruits and vegetables actually taste like they should.
  • There is at least one beautiful Piazza adorned with flowers and a fountain in the center each village
  • By just walking around, eyes wide open, you see the equivalent of ten art and history museum collections.
  • The language is heartwarming and melodious.
  • The concept of Aperitivo is so much more than having an after work drink…

I must say I have never had an unpleasant experience in Italy. And to be totally honest, there are 3 factors that definitely work in my favor: I am half Italian and I have learned the language; I have blond hair and blue eyes (through the eyes of Italian men, it makes you feel like an angel, a queen, a jewel…); I am a “Mamma” of an adorable boy (all Italians love kids, and all mammas are greatly respected).

Me:

The Cyclades. We started going to the Cyclades when I was little, thanks to my maternal grandparents who decided to live there for a couple of years (because my grandfather was a professor of Greek language and philosophy), and to me, this remains the most magical place on Earth. The sea is salty, cold, and clear (like Roxane, I need to be near water). The island is quiet and calm, and time takes on a different meaning (like Rachel, I need a change of pace). The food is authentic and mostly from the island, grown in the gardens behind tavernas (like Cyrille, I crave the taste of fresh fruits and vegetables).  

What is your favorite summer vacation destination?

Gift Giving Guide

‘Tis the season… the season of gratitude, and the season of giving. In many ways, I find even more pleasure in giving the perfect gift than in receiving gifts! Finding the perfect gift for everyone really is one of the most satisfying things ever. If you are stuck buying yet another tie for your father, here are some out of the box ideas that will bring a smile to even the “hardest-to-shop-for-person-ever.”

‘Tis the season… the season of gratitude, and the season of giving. In many ways, I find even more pleasure in giving the perfect gift than in receiving gifts! Finding the perfect gift for everyone really is one of the most satisfying things ever. If you are stuck buying yet another tie for your father, here are some out of the box ideas that will bring a smile to even the “hardest-to-shop-for-person-ever.” (I have three of them on my list…)

For your significant other: Erotic Poems by E. E. Cummins. (With the promise of a live reading by candlelight)

For your dad: Smartphone Film Scanner. (So all of those pictures of you as a baby can make it to his phone instead of being relegated to a cardboard box at the bottom of a closet)

For your mom (in particular if, like mine, she loves art and espresso): Color Lab espresso cups.

For your brother (or brother-in-law): a top of the line double-edged razor. (And for an even smoother shave, add Alchimie Forever Antioxidant skin repair gel)

For your sister (or sister-in-law): a gorgeous sparkly clutch that will take her from day to night.

For your best friend (or for your mother-in-law who has everything), this hand-beaded silk chiffon bib necklace is the perfect accessory, and it won’t be one that all of her friends have.

For your co-worker, the most beautiful candle from the unique NYC boutique Aedes de Venustas, which smells as delicious as it looks.

For your secret Santa: a bottle of Bourbon and these will for sure help him/her stay warm throughout the winter.

For that special person on your list who has everything, these two options always enchant: an artsy iPhone case, and a beautiful notepad.