Dress For Success

Catherine Miller and her fabulous cabi Collection is ready when you are!

For a recent presentation to our Connections group, PWBC Member Catherine Miller offered her savvy advice for dressing ourselves this season, and beyond. 

Catherine reminds us: Clothes can change lives. How we dress affects the way that we act and interact with others. Our dress and outward appearance affects how others respond to us and most importantly, how we feel about ourselves. As a Cabi clothing consultant she has seen how lives can change with a new look. She loves working with women as they work to feel and look their very best. And she guarantees that it doesn’t have to mean starting from scratch or spending a fortune. 

A few of her most valuable tips include:

Steering clear of things in our wardrobe that can only be worn one way or in one location. She tells us “No One Hit Wonders!” If an item is not versatile and you can’t see wearing it beyond the one event that you have purchased it for, don’t buy it. It does not enhance your wardrobe to have a collection of pieces that are nice but isolated. Being able to mix and match for all areas of your life and sorts of occasions and events is the key to a functional wardrobe. 

When it comes to Zoom looks – stand out! Don’t wash yourself out in your background by wearing muted colors or no color at all. Brighter colors pop and make your presence known, ensuring you will be seen and heard. V-necks are universally attractive and flattering for all sizes and shapes. Accessorise and be sure to keep a tube of lipstick or gloss at your desk so that you can complete your look before you turn your camera on. It is quite easy to take your look from average to extraordinary with a little color – in your clothing and on your face. 

Focus on layering, which is a great way to add interest to your look and be prepared to take it from day to evening without a fuss. Consider layering with 2 different colors, which is pretty standard. If you are interested in using a print, be sure to have something more basic with which to pair it so it doesn’t draw attention in the wrong way. Watch your fabrics and mix them thoughtfully so as not to have too heavy a look. And always be mindful of your proportions, balancing out the top and the bottom. Remember that everything you throw on can’t be bulky and loose and still look great. 

As for fall trends, printed leggings are a great addition to your wardrobe. Have fun with them. Items in this year’s Cabi collection, as always, go easily from day to night without taking a break. Catherine talked about fabrics to enjoy this season that include parachute polyester and soft corduroy, just to name a few. And accessories that are trendy now include heavy, gun-metal menswear inspired items that are bold and unique. 

Catherine Miller is a cabi stylist and a style and fashion expert. Find out more about her and what cabi can do for your wardrobe at http://www.catherinemiller.cabionline.com/. Catherine’s Closet Confidential service is for those looking to update and upgrade their closet with her individualized support and expertise. 

Building Customer Support

Building Customer Support

Blue Okra works hard to build customer support

PWBC Member Julie Parker offered some helpful ideas for building customer support and trust during these times when direct contact is not always possible. 

As someone very accustomed to having customers touch and feel her products, growing her business at a distance has been challenging. Julie believes that our path to success is to learn how to portray ourselves in an understandable way, which will in turn build trust. We know that people tend to gravitate to well-known brands because they know and trust it, and they don’t have the opportunity to get to know something new.

We need to understand the customer in order to allow the customer to understand our product or service.  Body language and presence are a big part of communication and marketing so it is important, in the absence of direct presence, to build trust with the customer in new ways. One of the most critical ways is “seeing” the customer, which is really working to understand them, and how our product or service might work for them personally. 

In person we can be more expressive. People want to see your hands. Moving closer and being more intentional so that expressions and feelings convey is key. Reflect what they are saying and build a rapport because we know that sharing emotions builds trust. Also, try to be more expressive physically – use your hands, move in closer, be intentional about how you come across. And voicing agreement and showing emotions goes a long way to helping new customers, especially, feel good working with you. If we are mindful, we can do this over video chat.

On Zoom you can also do what Julie calls a forensic chit chat – just a few minutes to initially listen to what is going on. Our natural position tends to be to give them a lot of information but we want to listen and hear what they are saying. It is important to dedicate your time to this. With email and Zoom, it is possible to spend more time with the customer.  It’s important to improve your Zoom skills and background to present yourself in the best light (figuratively and literally!). 

Showing our expertise is another way to work through these unusual times for selling and marketing to new clients. For example, Julie is a certified green business for San Mateo and that happened to be a huge area of concern once the virus lockdown happened. The larger changes we saw as a community allowed people to be more connected to the green aspect of their lives and, as a result, her business. She incorporates that green certification into her marketing as it attracts a new set of more aware clientele. Julie encourages us all to think about what we are doing in our own businesses to be more socially responsible, and make sure we do not overlook the opportunity to promote that moving forward. 

Julie Parker is the creative mind behind Blue Okra, a company that is committed to delivering their customers ethically made, environmentally conscious, perfectly cozy baby blankets and more. Visit www.blueokra.com for more information.

Know Your Liability

Know Your Liability

The fabulous and knowledgeable Caron Soenen

In a recent presentation to our Connections group, PWBC member Caron Soenen talked about the protections provided for premises liability by renters policies, homeowners policies and commercial general liability policies.

It is important for homeowners to protect themselves, their family and their pets not only in the home but away from the home as well. Not many people realize that homeowners insurance does not protect you in the car, which would need to be covered under a separate auto liability policy.

Caron highly recommends that you increase your personal liability on your home to at least $300K, maybe $500K. For the cost of about $20 a month, it is totally worth it. Definitely do it if you own property that you don’t occupy. Have your renters get their own renters policy as well.

Generally, we should all be very clear about what we are financially worth. Take a look at your equity, savings and other assets. Consider an umbrella policy to protect you. The best insurance deal out there is $1M, which only costs about $300/yr. Add it to your auto and your homeowners coverage for complete peace of mind. 

Premises liability is another type of coverage, for someone who owns a commercial or rental property. It covers hazards, repairs, and more, but documentation is required so that everything is on the record. As a landlord, you should have extra protection (up to $1 million) and also have your renters get their own policy.  Check your assets to determine the amount of coverage that you need including an umbrella.  A $1 million umbrella policy usually costs about $300/year.  

Commercial/general liability coverage is for businesses, and will cover business, inventory, and the results of your business (products and completed operations). Anyone who buys that product is protected for the projected life of the product. Typically commercial leases have a provision in the lease which requires the renter to cover the first $100K because the owner does not control the property. 

Pandemics are not considered a loss of business income on most policies. There are a few private insurers out there that may allow for it, but as a general rule, these types of things are just not covered. It is a good idea to know your policy and to speak to someone who knows the ins and outs of what is covered.

Caron Soenen is a Commercial Insurance agent for Farmers, helping small business owners protect their assets and their employees with workers comp policies specific to their needs. To find out more about premises liability and any other insurance needs, reach out to Caron Soenen directly at 650-876-9600.

Reading is FUNdamental

Reading is FUNdamental

Jeannie Twomey finds inspiration for her real estate business – and her life – through reading.

PWBC members enjoyed an inspiring presentation from fellow member Jeannie Twomey. Though her professional bonafides are in real estate, she chose to offer a more personal presentation about her connection to reading and how it has changed her life. 

Jeannie has always been a reader. She remembers being very young and diving into each and every book that she could find. It has allowed her to broaden her perspective and stay really curious about the world around her. Reading has always served to spark her imagination and keep her thinking about the perspectives of others. Reading is more than learning for her – it is a way of life. Especially during these more isolated times, reading has made a tremendous difference in her general well-being and happiness. Some of her favorite reads include The Happiness Advantage, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, Big Magic, and anything by Malcom Gladwell. Fiction or nonfiction, Jeannie finds comfort in the pages of a good, old-fashioned book. 

As a real estate investor, Jeannie deeply depends on her business partners nestled in other regions who serve as her watchful eye during the process of selecting, purchasing and rehab-ing properties for sound investments. She speaks fondly of one of her partners in particular, Mr. John Goolcharan, who is a featured author in the book Desire, Discipline and Determination: Lessons From Bold Thought Leaders. His chapter is entitled I Will Persist Until I Succeed. In his chapter, he details the experiences in his life that enabled him to thrive in business and in life. A native of Trinidad, his mother taught him to be resourceful and determined. He never stopped working to get an education, working to get to the United States, working to excel in establishing himself as a businessman able to support his family. He never gives up. He never decides that something is impossible. And his example is one that Jeannie is happy to follow. She encourages all to read John’s story and to just keep reading in general because we will be better for it. 

Jeannie Twomey and her husband John decided to turn real estate from a hobby to a business in 2017. Key Real Estate Ventures partners with investors nationwide to capitalize on real estate opportunities in affordable markets that will offer the biggest and most reliable returns.

For the Love of Pets

For the Love of Pets

Dawn adores each and every one of her pet (and human) clients!

PWBC member Dawn Hoover entertained us with a few of her most recent adventures as a pet sitter.

Thankfully, Dawn has seen an uptick in business, with new clients and a return of some old, as people get back to their somewhat normal lives and schedules. Dawn focuses on building strong connections with the pets and families that she gets to know over the years. It is not surprising that she is sad to see them move on when life takes them on a new adventure. 

Dawn visits with the pets, gives them some love, feeds them and does other things to not only care for the animals but the humans as well, like bringing the mail in and checking on the house to make sure all is good. Finding someone you can trust to care for your pets as you would can be a challenge. After hearing Dawn talk about the animals in her care, we know they are in the best hands! Her stories of their personalities, preferences, and her broad base of knowledge about the specific breeds, ailments and treatments, too, make it crystal clear that Dawn is the best of the best when it comes to comprehensive pet-sitting and pet care. 

Dawn Hoover of a Pet’s Best Friend will sit, walk and care for your pets when you can’t, providing the most attentive and loving care for all kinds of pets. Check out her website  or call her directly at 650-571-0360 for more information. 

Caring For Seniors Through Music

Caring For Seniors Through Music

music for seniors
The healing power of music for seniors

PWBC member Katherine Follain introduced us to Teepa Snow, an occupational therapist she had the pleasure of working with last year. Teepa’s work with the aged is distinguished by her use of music, it being a powerful force when it comes to helping the elderly thrive despite changes in their functioning and cognition. 

Teepa Snow explains that using music helps support the daily needs of people suffering from memory loss. It can be key to prolonging their independence and regaining their mobility. Having a schedule, movement, touch and organized activities that incorporate music by all indications is a valuable approach. Music is the last faculty to be lost or forgotten. Integrating it into structured daily activities can produce better outcomes. Seniors demonstrate strengthened abilities, improved cognitive functioning and even more lasting memories. Teepa knows that daily living skills need to be reinforced regularly to prevent the slide that dementia creates. Music makes these activities more enjoyable and can help strengthen the muscle memory for those who need it most.

Teepa teaches what is called the “hand over hand” technique to help residents maintain their movement and retain muscle memory. Physically touching them and molding their movements in a slow, repetitive motion is one way. Another is modeling how to eat, or how to pick up something. Combined with music, memories can be more lasting. For a patient suffering from dementia, just a few more weeks of independent mobility is a big victory.

We are living longer now. There is an increased need for care, specifically skill care to keep us as functional and as independent as possible. Teepa Snow and her research surrounding music and how it can help will continue to contribute to breaking ground in making our senior years more enjoyable for longer. Katherine is thrilled to support the work of Teepa Snow and others who fight to help seniors live and age with dignity.

Katherine Follain is a senior care specialist working at Cadence Senior Living Millbrae. Contact her at 650.742.9150 for more information about how she can help you make the critical decisions for the appropriate care of an elder.