Posts By: KrisRuby
“Every event you plan, I hope you have on great shoes.” Kimora Lee Simmons
Kimora Lee Simmons gave a day long Master Class in Celebrity Business/ Branding at FIT. Kimora Lee Simmons, Former Supermodel, shared her personal business story and secrets to creating a successful media conglomerate. She shared how to launch and maintain a celebrity brand business from business model to success. The day-long class was presented by the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). The event was facilitated by Jennifer Bartok, Producer of Celebrity Catwalk. Kimoras entire executive marketing communications team also shared how Kimora has created a successful empire.
Kimora Lee Simmons is a very well established woman, and I was inspired by her strong drive for women’s empowerment. Kimora is a former supermodel and CEO of Phat Fashions. She discussed how she transformed her company into a major brand owned by Kellword, one of the largest apparel manufacturers in the U.S. Kimora started out when she was 13 years old on the runways in Paris. Karl Lagerfeld deemed her “the face of the 21st century.” From there, she worked in every runway, in every atelier and she listened to everyone around her. BabyPhat originally started 13 years ago. Russel Simmons started a line for women and Kimora created a whole new silhouette. Kimora is the muse of the look that she created.
Kimoras tip pointed out that Kimora was very ahead of the curve with social media marketing. Heather Gataya, Marketing Director of Phat Fashions said, “Kimora has gathered and galvanized a community through her Facebook and Twitter accounts.” Kimora herself referred to her “twitter family” numerous times throughout the event and encouraged others to tweet and be authentic when representing your personal brand.
Kimora recently broadcast a fashion show live from Times Square in honor of celebrating a decade of fashion. Her branding goal is to show that her “over the top, jet set lifestyle” encourages other girls that they too, can have it all. Her motto is “Always express the 3 F’s- Feminine, flamboyant, foxy.” Her VP of Marketing referred to the brand as “over the top, celebrity rich, high style and edgy.” The goal of branding should be to develop a memorable, unmistakable persona.
Kimora has achieved this through the creation of the cat- the iconic piece of the brand. The Baby Phat cat logo is internationally recognized. Kimora also stressed the importance of brand diversification. Her hit show “Life in the Fab Lane” airs on networks in over 200 countries worldwide including the Style Network E!, Sky Networks and ProSieben. Kimora has also recently launched a fragrance “DareMe” as well as a limited edition “Kimora Barbie.”
From a branding perspective, I found it interesting when Kimora’s Marketing team shared the mood board that she created for her most recent fashion show. You can see the Moroccan print in the background. The vision is delivered throughout all aspects of the final fashion show.
Licensing and partnerships
A relationship between licensee and licensor is inherently a fight. It is like oil and water. It does not mix. With your product, you will always look at it for the design, beauty and relevance. It will always be a fight about creativity and budgets- it is inherently a ton of issues. You always have to protect the integrity of yourself. As a licensee, you have to protect your investment and team. Find a way to please you customer and not rip them off. Find a way to put so much into a product and work it for the biggest ROI.
It is imperative to partner with retailers. “My goal is global domination for 2010.” Kimora said, “I would love to get into vertical retail, I want to roll out in Europe and Asia.” Kimora’s Marketing team stressed the importance of creating a solid digital press kit. The kit should include a company, bio, sizzle reel and recent editorial. Mail the kit out to potential partners.
Tell us about your passion for fashion
When it comes to all things fashion I love what I do- I love every aspect of fashion, I love what I do and I am very passionate about it. You don’t make a lot of money doing this- it is not all about the money, neither is TV. You have to put it together and build it. I love to be involved in the creative aspects because I feel like my lines are creative, aspirational brands. It is about the lifestyle and the emotion that goes along with it. It makes me proud to see people support my vision.
I love to be able to inspire people, help people reach their goals and I like to talk to people about what they do. It touches me when someone says, “I read your book and it helped me overcome abuse etc.”
How do you balance being a wife, mother, creative director, boss- how do you juggle 25 different things?
I pray for more hours in the day! I have great kids. Things fall into place- it’s not one thing over another that makes any of us different- it is small steps along the way that make the difference.
I meet everyone from the homeless man on the street to kings and queens. I am always inspired by people I meet and I draw from the inspiration. I think that has contributed to all of the brands success so it is a reciprocal relationship- I am not sure they always know that I look up to them also. I really communicate with people and I keep my pulse on what’s going on.
Tell us about the vision of your brand.
I oversee everything from product placement, licenses, designing colors palettes and trends. I also oversee the vision of the brand- how to roll out a brand, where to roll out a brand and that’s my job; it’s like being the head designer
I have built a lifestyle and a brand that I’m trying to support. I’ve built this and this is my vision but people will come along and they will try to buy you and a lot of people whether its Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren or Donna Karen. It’s difficult to watch your baby in development and be part of the corporate structure.
Any Words of Wisdom for Women Entering Business?
It is about the grace, the finesse and the determination that you choose to live your life with. It is about the boundaries, the limitations or the goals you set for yourself. It is about aligning yourself with like-minded people. It is about every step you take and how you do that.
You have to always perform and you have to always be on. Don’t ask people to do things that you cannot do
It’s about how you take your steps in life and how you juggle your challenges. You can have what you want and make what you want of your life. More importantly, it is about how you rebound from it because everything can’t always be cotton candy. It is about the grace, dignity and the way you carry yourself
Don’t be making raunchy tapes and then tell me you want to be my assistant- have a greater goal for yourself!
Always note that there’s something out there better for you. Every decision of your life should be within that larger goal you set for yourself
It is about planning out your life to the best of your ability. I don’t think anybody is in their perfect dream job and I don’t think it’s always that easy. To be great people we want to be determined.
Never be complacent- never think you have “so arrived” or that life is all about you.
We all make up a whole big unit, whether it’s our resources, energy or fashion. You should always know you are one very small piece of a whole big puzzle. You should always live your life and think about the best way to contribute and fit into the bigger puzzle. My motto is- always keep it moving, always pick it up.
Always do something knowing its not just about you- you cant be content in your job, always want something better for yourself, never think you have all the money in the world, always know it’s a better picture, always be as kind as you can to someone.
Life is like water- you want it to flow, change and be beautiful and clean.
Try not to live a life that makes you overly apologetic.
Surround yourself with people you admire. I never want to be the smartest or the richest. I want to be with other creatives and people I respect and learn from. Sometimes I want to meet people who are not necessarily weaker, so I like to spend my time with kids or people who I can also inspire.
What are your pet peeves in business?
I hate liars, I hate cheaters, people with low self esteem, low integrity, people who do anything to get anywhere. I like to keep it clean and straight. I don’t like people that are overly negative and want to hold me back. I don’t want people who are overly pessimistic. Loyalty is huge- disloyalty is a problem.
What advice would you give to people for starting a team
Create a team with people who are very smart, have a shared vision, cultural diversity, and ethnic diversity. If you are interested in joining our team you can email us at, email@example.com
Kimoras views on men, entrepreneurship and love
Respect yourself and command that others respect you on a business & professional context
Personal Branding Advice? Stay true to your core brand
Fashion is my base- you need a base for your personal brand. People look at me and think “ She knows what she’s talking about when it comes to fashion. If I do beauty or cosmetics- it is all about what I know which is fashion. People have to watch spreading themselves too thin.
While you have the attention, work it –but don’t go in blindly thinking “oh I sold albums so I can sell jeans. People have to know you and respect you on being an authority- we cannot not believe in it.”
Even though Lady Gaga is hot, she could sell a nail polish line, but as time goes on her product is only as good as her next song so it means you don’t have the foundation.
I was into fashion and the work I did speaks for itself- then that grew into a bigger picture into the life and lifestyle and that turned into how I look and how I live.
Kimoras Team had some great nuggets of advice:
“You have to get fans- utilize social media networks! Reach out and engage with your customers!”
“Don’t take no for an answer, and don’t be shy speak up”
“Nobody knows more then you do. You have to tell yourself every day that you are in the top 1%”
“When you see the opportunity, get on it. Do whatever you need to do outside of your job.”
“No retailer has your own best interest at heart. You must own and control your brand.”
It is really great to see a celebrity who actually responds authentically to their twitter messages & engages with their community:
I am so honored to be chosen as one of the youngest ever to win the Business Council of Westchester “40 Under 40” Rising Star Award! Congratulations to my fellow award winners! I look forward to celebrating with you at the reception on June 10th held at Mastercard International. Here is a list of the entire “40 Under 40” Business Council of Westchester class for 2010:
York International Agency, LLCClark Briffel
Reckson – a division of SL Green
Samuel Etre. Esq.
Sheryl Frishman, Esq.
Willem Gravett, Esq.
Erin Guven, Esq.
Michael Hekle, Esq.
Pure Physique LLCMatthew Lisk
Cushman & Wakefield
David Rubin, MD
Krishn Sharma, MD
John Tomlin, Esq.
Winners will be featured in Westchester County Business Journal. Ceremony Presented by: MasterCard and Westchester County Business Journal.
About “40 Under 40”
Modeled after the national business recognition program “Forty under Forty,” Rising Stars – Westchester’s 40 under 40 pays tribute to individuals in Westchester who are making their mark in their chosen profession at a young age. This innovative program is specifically designed to acknowledge individuals under the age of 40 who surpass expectations, raise the bar and set new standards for success. For more information, please visit The Business Council of Westchester’s site
Forty young men and women who exemplify leadership, foresight and a vision for the future of Westchester County have been honored each year since 2004.
I am also looking forward to attending the upcoming Business Council of Westchester event held by my fellow Rising Stars alumni:
Become a Source: How to Tell Your Story and End up in a Reporter’s Rolodex
Presented by the Rising Stars Alumni
Interface with media experts representing local news sources and major networks. Learn how to become an industry expert the media can rely on. Come away knowing how to craft your story, give the perfect sound bite and cultivate mutually-beneficial media relationships.
Hear from top media experts:
Tim Fleischer – News Reporter, WABC-TV Eyewitness News
Errol Louis – Columnist, New York Daily News & Commentator, CNN
Scott Rapoport – Freelance Correspondent, WCBS-TV
Tara Rosenblum – Anchor Reporter, News 12 Westchester
Caryn McBride-Executive Editor, Westchester County Business Journal
Mary DeSilva – Midday Personality and Program Director, WFAS AM/FM
Robert Schork – Senior Editor, Westchester Magazine &
Executive Editor, 914Inc.
Learn the practical application of these techniques from Rising Stars Alumni business owners who have successfully applied them to their own businesses.
Event attendees will have the opportunity to submit a “My Expertise” contact sheet to each of the media panelists.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
6:00 to 7:00 pm – Cocktail Reception
7:00 to 8:30 pm – Program
Westchester Marriott Hotel
670 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY
Interview with Pete Kistler, CEO of Brand Yourself
You have probably Googled yourself, but if you haven’t someone else has. Did You Know 80 million people are Googled a day?
I recently interviewed Pete Kistler, the CEO of Brand Yourself, a firm Ruby Media Group has partnered with and a pioneer in the personal branding space. Pete Kistler is an inspiration to many entrepreneurs and members of Gen Y- I am personally inspired by his motivation, drive and passion and left the interview feeling invigorated. Why invigorated? Because it is very rare to meet another member of my generation who has taken the road less traveled, who has followed his passion and who turned down job offers in this economy to create something out of nothing. Pete took a blank slate and created what is now one of the fastest growing personal branding platforms in our field and we are honored to partner with him and work with such an innovative firms. The Brand Yourself platform that Pete created makes it much easier for personal branding coaches like myself to monitor and track progress for our executive branding clients.
In our exclusive interview, Pete Kistler shares his personal story in creating Brand Yourself, advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, hiring tips and his thoughts on the role social media is playing in new media dating…
Why did you start Brand Yourself?
I saw a few of my colleagues losing job opportunities because of what was out there on the web and at the same time I saw other friends winning opportunities- I realized there was a huge opportunity to help others win. My idea for Brand Yourself first began at Syracuse when I presented it to the Entrepreneurship Club and the President pulled me aside and said this idea had merit and that he believed we would take it to the next level. The President was RJ Sherman, who is now the Chief Technology Officer and CFO
What is your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
First and foremost- an idea is not worth much- the most important part of an idea is executing it.
Always share your ideas with as many people as you can-they will give you new perspectives that will make it stronger.
Don’t be afraid to put your new idea out there- if someone wants to copy it they will have to sacrifice their time- most people aren’t willing to do that.
The key to success is having a strong team around you- having a dynamic team where people feel comfortable putting ideas forward and analyzing them from different objectives. Our team is compiled of diverse backgrounds and our ideas become much greater then where we started.
Find a mentor- Entrepreneurs are over-confident in nature which is why they take huge risks that may completely fail but the believe they will succeed. With that level of confidence, you need to bring in outside perspectives of people who have 40 years of experience in your field. They will tell you things that will save you a lot of time; you might as well learn from someone who has already made the same mistake.
To find a mentor, start with your personal network- Ask someone in your network, “ Do you know anyone who has been doing social media successfully?”
What are some workplace trends among members of Gen-Y that you have noticed?
In general, Gen Y has an entrepreneurial mindset, which is awesome! Whether it takes form in starting a new business or even being entrepreneurial within a role in their company and then becoming promoted faster, Gen Y is extremely entrepreneurial. Entrepreneurship is becoming more heavily engrained in the corporate culture amongst Gen Y.
Why do you like working with Gen Y?
I love it because they are so entrepreneurial and they are willing to speak their minds. Some people from older generations don’t expect younger people to speak their minds, but I do and I love it.
Tell me about the Corporate Structure you have created at Brand Yourself
It has been a flat structure since the beginning- almost every company decision has been talked over informally as a group. It is non corporate and non hierarchical; everyone feels like they are a part of the team and their opinion matters. We started off as friends- making the shift from friendship into business can be hard but for us it has worked well.
We also pride ourselves in taking an experimental approach- we like trying new things and seeing if they work. We aren’t afraid to take risks!
What are your thoughts on a 9-5 job?
It kills me. My mom has been working for 40 years at the same place- she isn’t excited about what she does but she loves her co-workers so work is completely fulfilling to her for that reason. I have been entrepreneurial from the get go so when I think about working for someone else at this point seems “ridiculous.”
As entrepreneurs, we realize that if we have a goal it really is achievable- the toughest part is doing it, but unfortunately most people don’t understand this. We are confident that whatever we want to do in the future we will be able to do- and that means not working 80-hour weeks for another employer.
What have you sacrificed to make your dream come true?
I have sacrificed the traditional route- people are expected to graduate and then obtain an entry-level position. At Brand Yourself, we threw all of that to the wind and said “What if we can create value right now?” I sacrificed a typical college experience but I know its worth so much more. I am also not able to put as much time into relationships as I would normally be able to. You really find out who your true friends are because they don’t get mad if you have to cancel a dinner for a work related event because you are the CEO.
Ideally, I would want to attract an entrepreneurial woman that shares the same mentality.
What role does social media play in your hiring process?
It is so vital! If a potential intern doesn’t have a strong social media presence, it is immediately a strike against them. Especially for the Social Media role in particular, we need people who understand the space and who are comfortable and passionate to be doing it on their own whether they are hired to do it or not by Brand Yourself. PR as a whole is also shifting online to the management of relationships in social networks. If a PR intern doesn’t understand the power of the web and isn’t already doing it, then they will have a lot of catching up to do and it is extra training on behalf of the company.
The interns should also take the proper steps to brand themselves accordingly in the social web. We see our interns as brand ambassadors. Once, a potential intern had a ridiculous Facebook photo and I thought “I don’t know if I want this person representing my brand.”
What are your absolute Branding “Dont’s”?
Your headshot is key- it should back up your brand
If you are a model then put up provocative pictures, but if you are a businessman then wear a suit
If you are a social media person and work in a specific niche, then brand towards that
For social media professionals, as long as I look at a photo of someone and I don’t feel immediately turned off, then it is OK
Advice for people new to the Personal Branding space?
First- know what your goals are- once you know what you want, do a little research, create a LinkedIN profile and have a few people look at it. Make sure it accurately represents you and then use it to see who you know and who can connect you at that company form your network. For Facebook, re-configure your privacy settings accordingly. You should create a process for tagged pictures; make sure you are getting email alerts when you are tagged and then immediately check to make sure they accurately represent your brand. As for Twitter, join in the conversation!
What is Personal Branding and how do you discover your brand?
Personal Branding ultimately means thinking of yourself as something that needs to be differentiated from everyone else.
It means really thinking of yourself as the CEO of You Inc (you as a business and what can you do to stand out to extract your core value proposition and then position that against what is already out there in the market)
You can discover your personal brand through the personal branding worksheet we created which walks you through this process. It begins with “what is your vision and purpose.” Your vision is your external view of what the world can be and your purpose is how you can get the world to become more like your vision. For example, my vision is a world where everyone does what he or she loves. My purpose and role is connecting talented and passionate people to reach other. To achieve my purpose, I started Brand Yourself which allows individuals to put their best foot forward and promote themselves to people that would be able to provide meaningful opportunities.
What is the 4 step Branding process you have created?
Build- Discover what is out there about you, what is your brand as of right now? Create positive content around that as well as on your own personal web site. Make sure that everything that is found is optimized- Rise up in Google rankings. Discover your brand, communicate it and it becomes visible- Proactively push yourself out to the people that can open doors for you.
How has social media impacted dating?
For every potential new relationship, I always look them up on Facebook without question! Red flags include wall posts of crazy friends, what other people are saying about them and their “about me section.” I like people that use their “about me” to talk about who they really are as a person as opposed to adding a list of books they like- the extra mile shows me they are self aware. Pictures are also red flags- recently tagged photos of ex boyfriends etc. I am a laid back and understanding person but when you see that it makes you wonder. They should have the respect to know that a new potential partner could see it- it should be untagged if they are ready to date again.
Twitter is also interesting- if someone is complaining on Twitter all day long it shows they may be a miserable person and you probably don’t want to get too close to them. As for LinkedIN- if they aren’t on there it doesn’t bother me- but if you are going to choose to be on a social media site and have a barely filled out profile and 2 connections- it might reveal something greater about their personality, such as poor follow through.
What is the future of Personal Branding?
The future is that personal branding will ideally become engrained in the educational system itself. Starting from a young age, teachers will help people understand what their core strengths are and what they love to do so they know where they excel, what they like and help them with goal setting. Making sure all the content is related to their brand and that their resume is in alignment with their goals will be a natural extension of the future of branding. We will have a whole generation of self-aware people and it will be easier to find other like-minded people.
The future will also be about trying new things, taking different classes and subjects that you would never take on your own from a topical level in the hopes of finding out what your true purpose in life is.
How do you measure success?
My measure of success is when I’m doing what I love with people I love and I am able to live the lifestyle I want to afford.
How do you measure success from a Personal Branding perspective?
Success in personal branding can be measured once you start getting random opportunities from across the world because you have created a brand touch point that made them want to reach out. Success is when your personal brand is working for you 24/7 while you are sleeping.
Pete has been nice enough to share 50 free trials for 14 days to RMG readers to the Brand Yourself platform with Ruby Media Group. Simply click here and type in the promo code“RubyMedia” to check it out!
About Pete Kistler
Pete Kistler is the CEO of Brand‐Yourself.com, a toolset to build your personal brand online and manage your reputation through social media. Brand Yourself has been named one of the Top 100 Most Innovative College Startups in the U.S. two years in a row. Pete is one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 5 College Entrepreneurs, cited as a leading Online Reputation Management expert, one of the Top 30 Definitive Personal Branding Experts on Twitter and he was a judge for the 2009 Personal Brand Awards. Pete writes the Wednesday column for the nationally acclaimed Personal Branding Blog, ranked the #1 job blog by CareerBuilder and a Top 50 Marketing Blog by AdAge and syndicated by Forbes, Reuters and Fox Business. Pete is also the co-author of the book “Career Launchpad” (Perry, 2009) and “From Tweet To Hired” (Brand-Yourself, 2010). Pete is passionate about using technology to bring people together and make life simpler, easier and happier.
I woke up yesterday morning thinking it was going to be a fantastic day. I took a cab from Wall Street to Grand Central Station, took pictures of the beautiful skyscrapers and mentally prepared for my upcoming meeting. As I was waiting in line at Starbucks I went to reach for my phone to check in with my 10:30 am meeting and realized the phone was nowhere to be found. There is nothing worse then being stuck in the middle of Grand Central Station without a phone. I felt vulnerable, exposed and completely stranded in the Big Apple. I had to rely on police officers to use their phones to call my number to see if anyone would pick up. I was praying that there would be a Good Samaritan that would happily return the phone- but no luck.
Luckily I paid for the cab with my credit card and I was able to track down the cab drivers number and had them search the vehicle, but no phone was found. A few hours later- the phone stopped ringing and it had been shut off, which means someone out there happily found the phone and decided to shut it off and is probably re-selling it on the street. I spent the next ten hours at Verizon setting up a new phone, re-installing all of my apps and canceling the old number. The backup assist that I spent 5 hours working on with them a few weeks ago failed and not one of my contacts was re-stored.
All of this got me thinking about how engrained technology is in our daily lives. Try spending a day without a phone– notice how your mannerisms and hand movements change. For example, as I was driving I kept reaching into my bag to check my phone only to realize it wasn’t there. All of my pictures of friends and family that I had accumulated were also lost to some stranger in Manhattan; which is a very unsettling feeling. I was beginning to treat the phone as an alternate camera, and the pictures I took at my Grandmothers Birthday from that phone can now never be replaced. Some lucky person in Manhattan now has access to all of my work emails, my Facebook and my Twitter messages. This makes me have serious privacy concerns. Even if you lock your phone you are still open to all sorts of privacy attacks as it is easy to hack in.
I was also forced to have more human interaction then I am normally used to- especially on the train. Whereas I would normally hide away in my Ipod, my laptop or my Blackberry, I was forced to talk to others around me. This made me realize the decreased number of “human to human” interactions I am having on a daily basis due to my relationship with my devices.
This post is not about “the importance of backing up you contacts” as that goes without saying. A day without my phone made me really re-think the content of my emails, my posts, the pictures I take and the private text message conversations I have. The more time we spend with our personal devices the longer we develop a more intimate relationship with them– but don’t be fooled. Regardless of how personal it is, everything you are writing does not inherently belong to you- it is stored on a server somewhere and can be retrieved at any time or sold on the street for that matter.
If you are ever in a similar situation, here are my tips for handling cell phone withdrawal and surviving a lost phone situation:
- Immediately change your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN and email passwords
- Put out a status update on your social media accounts to alert your network that your phone has been lost so that if anyone does hack into your phone they will know the messages are not coming from you
- Locate the nearest computer and hop on! This way you can log into online banking and immediately take measures to put a hold on the account
- Learn how to be nice to police officers- they are your friends and will let you call your phone from theirs to see if anyone picks up
- Be nice to the people at the phone store- you will be sitting with them for a minimum of 2 hours so you should make it as enjoyable as possible for the both of you if at all possible
- Be grateful- losing all of your contacts, photos and emails is very unfortunate- but what is more unfortunate is losing your health. In the grand scheme of things losing your phone is not the end of the world, so write a gratitude list of 10 things you are grateful for (the fact that you are able to purchase a new phone) and try to be optimistic.
Today I am committed to having a new relationship with my phone. I am beginning to re-think the messages I write, the pictures I take and the work e-mails that I send from my mobile device. At the end of the day, what I have taken away from this situation is a newfound respect for the power of technology. The second it begins to consume you the universe will literally rip it right out of your hands and make you start over again.
In my interview with NYC Real Housewife Jill Zarin on her latest book “Secrets of a Jewish Mother” Jill says, “Email and texting is ruining true romance.” Jill touches on the important role social media is playing in the dating world and proposes a “no phone” rule. Read my full interview here!
In “Secrets of a Jewish Mother,” Jill Zarin wants to know: Why are you not dating anyone yet? Have you asked everyone you know to set you up with someone? Have you gone online? What are you waiting for?
In our exclusive interview, Jill Zarin shares her top tips from her new book “Secrets of a Jewish Mother” on how to navigate the dating scene, find true love and build a life filled with happiness and success.
Kris: What led you to write the book?
Jill: I wanted to write a book for the longest time. I had a lot of things I wanted to write about and my sister and I thought the book should be called “Secrets of a Jewish Mother” and that we should write it with my mother and sister. It’s lonely being at the top and I wanted to share this with the people I love the most. I like doing things together as a family and now we are doing the book tour together, television and media together and we are ultimately all enjoying the success together.
Kris: Did the show inspire you to write this book?
Jill: My mother Gloria was the breakout starlet on The Real Housewives of NYC after she gave advice to Bethenny. There was an overwhelming response and thousands of people wanted similar advice. We realized that not everyone grew up the way we did and had that quintessential “motherly” and involved parent. Our mother Gloria was very affectionate with us and we wanted to share that gift with everybody. We asked people what they wanted to hear about and everyone wanted to know “How did Jill become so successful?”
Kris: What role did your family play in your success?
Jill: I grew up with amazing parents who always told me that I could be anything I wanted to be and they would always be there to support me. With my first business, my parents gave me $10,000 to start at 23 years old. My parents had the faith and trust to invest in me. They always told me I was the smartest and I was the prettiest and that really resonated because it gave me the confidence I needed to succeed. If you are always told you are smart and beautiful, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
What is most fundamental to you in terms of working hard?
Jill: Education! Education builds a foundation and it is fundamental to a Jewish upbringing. My family always pushed me to excel in school and at the end of the day you have nothing without an education. I believe it should be mandatory to go to college. Being American and being Jewish, you don’t even realize how lucky you are. Education should be required- through my success is the fact that I have a solid education. I learned how to write and I learned how to think.
Kris: What is your advice for women looking for love?>
Jill: Ask everybody in the world you know and tell them you’re single and you’re looking! The man of your dreams won’t fall in your lap; you have to find him! Once you leave the college environment of socializing, you are likely to meet someone at work. Online dating is another great way to meet someone, and we actually talk about JDate in the book. You need to be safe about Internet dating- do a credit check or security check on your date to make sure they aren’t pretending to be someone else.
Kris: What are your must haves?
Jill: He must be kind, have a good sense of humor, be loyal, generous and dedicated to you. He should love you a little more than you love him. He should also be kind- always give your spouse five minutes of understanding. Always be on your toes, and always make sure your husband is on his.
Kris: What is your best advice for singles?
Jill: Trust your gut! My best piece of advice is to trust your instincts. If you don’t think he’s right, he’s probably not right. You should always give people a chance- I call it the “two date” rule.
Kris: What are your top tips for singles?
Never leave a stone unturned
Like a good sales girl, never leave a cold lead. If somebody says, “I have a guy for you,” you have to go on every single fix up you get. You are not allowed to say no- even if you don’t like him, you may like his friend.
Get out of your house
You won’t meet anyone sitting at home!
Dress for success
First impressions are the most important thing you’ll ever have in your life- whether it is meeting your in-laws or going to an important business meeting, always dress respectfully and always look your best.
Put away your devices
Email and texting is ruining true romance. I have a rule- no talking on phones in the car or on a date. The worst way to start a relationship is by texting on a date- when someone’s Blackberry ® is sitting on the table every time you go to eat, you feel the table vibrating! No phones at the dinner table- put your Blackberry or iPhone ®in a vault when you go on a date! It is rude and disrespectful, and you will never get to know someone if you are more glued to your device. I suggest turning off the phone before you walk into the restaurant. If he refuses to put down the phone, then he shouldn’t be out on a date. If the business call is more than a ten-minute call, then re-schedule for when he has time- you are not his secretary!
Don’t order a lot if you know he doesn’t have a lot of money. This isn’t the last supper- you’re not going to the electric chair; eat before you go out so this way you don’t feel guilty he’s paying.
My other dining tips:
Follow the leader
Don’t eat like a pig on your first date
Never order more than the host who is paying is ordering
If everyone is ordering chicken, don’t come in and order lobster
If someone else is treating, you order less than the host
Kris: Do you believe in traditional courtship roles?
Jill: The man should plan everything in the beginning. People shift roles in a relationship, but in the beginning, old fashion is always the best rule of thumb. I will tell you, I once set up a friend of mine with a guy and he didn’t pick up the tab- I will never fix him up again- it was so rude and gross!
Kris: What are some Secrets of a Jewish Mother that you would like to share?
Jill: Never be less than who you are- you can only step out of your comfort zone for so long. You can pretend to be someone for a very short period of time; you have to be who you are and he should love you for it. If he doesn’t, he’s not the right one.
Nobody’s perfect, so why should he be?
No just means you didn’t ask the right question. You didn’t ask it right, so go back and ask again.
If you want unconditional love, go buy a puppy.
Just because he’s imperfect, doesn’t mean he won’t be perfectly right for you.
Kris: Do you have any fashion and makeup tips for single women?
Jill: Yes, my favorite fashion and makeup tips from “Secrets of a Jewish Mother” are:
You are what you wear. If in doubt, do not wear it. If you don’t feel good in your clothing, you will radiate insecurity and others will notice.
Fake eyelashes do open your eyes. Try them.
Moisturize your face and hands as often as possible.
Do not buy a piece of clothing just because it is cheap or on sale. There are tons of stores that have fabulous clothes for less, so make sure that you love something before you buy it.
If you know you are being photographed, photograph yourself first before you leave. Often, you will look great in something in person but not as great on camera. Take the photo just to make sure.
If you wear lip liner, keep checking it.
Don’t fidget, play with your hair or bite your nails. Also, don’t slouch.
Always bring a sweater. The Jewish mother is never without a sweater.
More beauty and fashion tips can be found in the book.
Kris: What are Gloria’s “Must Have” Qualities in a husband?
Jill: Gloria’s “Must Haves” are: Generosity, Dedication, Kindness, Fidelity, Ambition, Fatherhood Capabilities, Brains, Sense of Humor, Age Compatibility, If you are Jewish, he has to be Jewish too.
We sum it up best in “Secrets of a Jewish Mother” when we say “If the guy you are dating falls short of any of these qualities, move on. The right guy is out there. It is better to be alone than end up with someone who makes you miserable. If you are in a terrible relationship, gather your courage, cry on your best friends shoulder and get a divorce. Life is too short to stay sad forever. Marriage is not supposed to be a jail sentence.”
For more information on Jill Zarins “Secrets of a Jewish Mother,” please visit:http://www.secretsofajewishmother.com/
About the Author
Kristen Ruby is the President & Founder of Ruby Media Group, a Social Media Marketing, Public Relations & Personal Branding Agency. Follow Kris on Twitter@sparklingruby or via her blog.
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I recently spoke at an FIT Marketing class on the rise of social media marketing. I was honored that Dean Gamanos, the Professor and owner of an advertising agency in Greenwich, CT brought me in as a guest speaker. Dean opened up the class by talking about the different forms of marketing and communication agencies: consultants, design firms, ad agencies, media buyers, public relations agencies and Internet Agencies. I was stunned when he mentioned Internet Agencies as a new form of a marketing communication agency because it is the world I have grown up in. We are living in a Marketing Renaissance where social media marketing is coalescing all of the different facets of communications and blurring the line between the divisions. It makes me question the importance of majoring/specializing in one form of communication as I think it is critical today for any recent graduate to possess a diverse skill set which includes a “sampling” of every discipline within communications.
As a social media marketer, it is imperative to have an understanding of marketing, branding, journalism, public relations and broadcast journalism in order to do my job effectively. You need to know how to interview someone effectively, how to pitch to secure great placement for a blog post, how to pitch articles for media placement, how to build a brand both virally and offline and how to create an effective ad that can be used in multiple mediums. It is no longer sufficient to major in one discipline and think that covers it all- today’s graduates must possess a strong skill set in all of these disciplines to be effective in the communications industry. While I agree that specialization is critical in this job market, I also believe that possessing knowledge of multiple mediums is what will make you most valuable in this marketplace.
I enjoyed being asked to speak at FIT as well as participating in Deans Marketing class. He shared some relevant content including marketing tips, mistakes and tools to position your brand.
8 Principles of Successful Marketing:
- Know your product or service
- Know your customers
- Your customers aren’t listening to you
- Know your competition
- Being good isn’t good enough
- Marketing should be the most creative part of your business
- Good planning and good implementation are as important as a good idea
- Everything in your business should involve marketing
10 Common Marketing Mistakes:
- Failing to listen/ failing to observe- not doing research, not checking the competition, not observing the marketplace
- Not positioning your product or service
- Doing too many things at once
- Not focusing your selling message
- Changing strategies and selling message too frequently
- Making advertising decisions based on low rates rather then cpm’s
- Not advertising with adequate frequency
- Emphasizing short term sales increases through price promotion rater than long term brand building
- Building on fads rather then trends
- Ignoring your brands image
12 Ways to Develop a Strong Positioning for your Product:
- Be the First (Harvard, Hertz, Time Magazine)
- Be the Latest (Windows)
- Own an Attribute (Heinz Ketchup- thickest, Ferrari- speed)
- Be #1 (Toyota Camry, Ford Explorer)
- Specialize (Victoria’s Secret- sexy lingerie)
- Have a heritage
- Be Preferred (more hospitals use Tylenol)
- Focus on Use (Nike-Racing)
- Stress Quality (Chanel #5, high quality, high price)
- Price (Walmart, lowest prices)
- User group (Apple- graphic designers)
- Competitive (7-Up, Avis)
Stay Tuned: In May & April, I will be covering an exciting celebrity branding master course with Kimora Lee Simmons and Joan Rivers.
NEW Celebrity Business: Close Up and Personal with Joan Rivers and Kimora Lee Simmons Spend a day with one or two of these glamorous and super smart women and find out what it really takes to launch and maintain a celebrity brand business. Get an inside look at two different business models- each with star wattage and market longevity. Find out how these businesses work and the role and responsibilities of the namesake. Hear about three different journeys that all lead to consumer product adoration and millions of dollars in sales:
• Joan Rivers, entertainment industry “A” lister, comedic icon, media personality and brilliantly witty fashion critic talks about her highly successful jewelry business partnership with QVC.
• Kimora Lee Simmons, former supermodel and “fabulicious” icon and author talks about her role as CEO, and Creative director of Phat Fashions, which she has transformed into a lifestyle brand owned by the apparel giant Kellwood.
Facilitator: Jennifer Bartok, producer, www.celebritycatwalk.com
I was also extremely inspired by the beautiful design work the students at FIT had created. I included photos of my favorites and wanted to honor their amazing branding work!
Is Social Media Keeping you Single? Here are my top tips for creating a cohesive online identity:
– Clean up your digital footprint because whether you like it or not your date will perform an online search of you
– Remove pictures of your ex on your social networks if you are serious about entering into a new relationship
– Do not post status updates about your dates as new privacy restrictions may make your updates visible to everyone including your date (social media is not as private as you may think)
– Be creative with your profile! Create a profile that is unique and sets you apart from the rest. However, don’t make it so “creative” that if someone looks you up on Facebook, Twitter® or LinkedIn® they will think you are several different people.
– Once you have taken the “virtual” relationship offline, do not connect online during your date! Stay off your phone, it is the easiest way to kill the chances of a second date. Courtship is still very much alive, despite the rise of social media.
For more information, please visit ABC WTNH
Work Day Rejuvenation
Are you seeing Double? Do you wish there were 2 of you to complete your job?
Do you need a mental vacation while you are stuck on a call?
Is your work day already turning into a rollercoaster?
Glued to your Blackberry/ IPhone and need to escape the office?
Floundering under your workload?
Dreaming of a vacation after tax season?
Are you having a slow Monday after a long, exciting weekend? Is the dreary weather getting you down? Do you need a quick “pick me up” at your desk? No matter how much you love your job, everyone can get a little stressed out when working in a confined space with others, especially with tax season approaching. Here are our top 13 tips to rejuvenate your day in the office. You can actually turn your work space into your personal mecca and do yoga moves right at your desk!
Top 13 Tips to help you get through the day:
1. Go for a walk around the block– Escaping from a stuffy office for some fresh air can help clear your head and sharpen your focus. It’s also a great chance to see some adorable dogs on their afternoon walks. Even 3-5 minutes of fresh, clean air can make all the difference. Breathe in positive thoughts.
2. Take a coffee, tea or smoothie break– Refreshing your afternoon with your favorite drink can help boot your spirits and liven up the rest of your work day (and if you do a coffee run for the office, it can probably get you in good graces with your coworkers too.
3. Be PATIENT! People say patience is a virtue so you should stick to it. If something isn’t going your way or as efficiently as it should be: take a breather and figure out exactly what the problem is, and then go back to working on it. You’ll be at least twice as efficient.
4. Do Yoga at your desk– Spend your lunch hour doing yoga, or try some great stretches at your desk to increase circulation. This is also a great way to make friends with new co-workers.
5. Custom Affirmations– Google “positive affirmations” and create a Word document of all of the affirmations that will help attract success and happiness into your life. Googling the law of attraction is also a great place to start with this. After you have assembled your list, print it out and put it in a safe place and start your day off with your top 10 affirmations!
6. Make a fun to-do list. Writing down activities to do later in the week will remind you of your fabulous life outside of the office. Plus, it’s always a satisfying feeling when you get to cross things off your list!
7. Make that lunch hour count! Socialize with fellow employees, take a client out to a new restaurant you’re dying to go to, make that one call you keep forgetting to make, hit the gym or eat a fresh, organic meal. Making the most of your lunch hour will help you feel motivated to tackle the rest of the day. If you are too busy to eat lunch, then take a solid 5 minutes to yourself to savor every bite of the meal you are chewing and turn away from the computer to decompress.
8. Light is your best friend. Staring at a computer screen for hours on end has the power to make anyone go a little nuts. Most people often forget that sunny days and well-lit areas can cause someone to be in a better mood. Turn on that lamp, open those blinds or go outside if you have the chance!
9. Play some tunes! Music has the power to alter moods and increase brain stimulation. But be weary of what you play- 90s pop music may not be everyone’s favorite genre. Forgot your headphones at home? Try Pandora- it is free and easy to create personalized music lists straight from your desk. Create customized play lists that will get you energized to complete the project you are lagging on.
10. Leave the baggage at home! Remember why you came to the workplace, to work and get PAID and hopefully do something you love! If obsessively checking your news feed is causing you emotional baggage in the work place, step away from the computer and make a commitment to only check the social sites after work hours.
11. Pack snacks to eat throughout your day. When you complete a project or need a break, bust out that candy or take a bite of your yogurt parfait. When you have a prize to work for, the work seems to go much faster. If you are on a super health craze, pack protein bars, almonds and healthy mood boosters.
12. Decorate your workspace. Chances are you spend more hours at work than at home, so why insist on staring at your blank cubicle wall? Put a few pictures of friends, family, pets, an interesting paperweight, or a funny comic strip on your desk. A picture of your family or a postcard from a friend will help remind you that there is life outside your office walls.
13. Change your daily routine. Working in an office 40-80 hours a week can often have you stuck in a rut of doing things the same way day in and day out. Try doing something different today- whether it is saying hello to a coworker you usually breeze by, getting to work a few minutes early, or making a commitment to respond to all of your emails on time, little changes can make a big difference in your day.
14. Dress for Success. Try wearing something very bright, wearing your hair differently, or pick a new nail color you have been eyeing at the salon. Changing up your style is a great conversation starter and ice breaker and will also keep you feeling good about yourself throughout the day. Also try complimenting a coworker if you notice they have changed up their style!
Any one of these tips can change a trite workday into a more enjoyable one. Remember to stay strong and fight the good fight of the Monday workday blues!
Building Your Brand Socially
Conversations about your brand and your products and those of your competitors are happening online right now. Learn how can you listen, engage and build your brand socially.
Personal Branding and Social Media Marketing is a complete lifestyle change. It involves getting in the habit of sharing information publicly as opposed to privately, and this may seem overwhelming for many at first. Personal Branding expert Kristen Ruby will present how to build a personal brand and transition into a “social” lifestyle and how individuals can establish leverage social media to establish credibility as opinion leaders in their respect industry. Additionally, Kristen will describe the important steps to navigate through the Personal Branding process, from creating your online presence to maintaining and expanding network connections.
To register for the conference, please visit SO201
“Kristen Ruby did an outstanding job for the Columbia Business School Alumni Club’s Social Networking workshop that she conducted in Greenwich, Connecticut earlier this year. Not only were her slides well-organized but her presentation manner was engaging and articulate. Based on the enthusiastic response from the audience we plan to have her back for a follow-up session!” Dean Gamanos, Co-Chair Columbia Business Alumni Club of NY