Merilee Kern's Collections
Courtesy of Opulent Luxuries
For those with their hearts and minds set on finding inimitable bespoke décor, housewares and custom-commissioned gifts that are mind-blowingly exquisite need look no further than Opulent Luxuries. This artisanal crystal design house has raised the bar beyond the traditional work of Tiffany, Waterford and Baccarat courtesy of its custom-tailored “patent-pending” pieces made exclusively from the finest semi-precious gemstones extracted throughout the globe.
The company uses these scrupulously-sourced stones to hand-craft giftable wares like vases, candlesticks, bowls, glassware, lighting, coasters, landscape pieces, accolades and more—all designed by hand with perfect symmetry by some of the world’s most skilled craftsmen. Each resulting work exudes glamour, elegance and sophistication, from liquor glasses fashioned in Amethyst to candle sticks and vases crafted from Phantom Quartz and much in between.
Opulent Luxuries has the ability to yield virtually any design imaginable for the most discerning consumers, with many items available with personalized etching. This includes a number of engraved design options perfect for sports fans, such as the first ever baseball bat created from Phantom Quartz for the New York Yankees.
The company can even design the most striking natural clusters of rough gemstones that are perfectly suited for illuminated interior and exterior environments. The results are jaw-dropping notes of glam within the space, whether indoors or out. Place a cluster adjacent to a kinetic fire or water feature and the effect is nothing short of spectacular.
To uphold and guarantee the utmost quality standard, Opulent Luxuries employs a grading scale for its gems that’s synonymous with diamonds with respect to cut, color and clarity to ensure only top-quality stones are utilized. Only the gems that have a rating of A/A+ are chosen and then crafted by hand by the world’s most talented artisans through an incredibly painstaking process. All of the crystals utilized present their own signature of internal inclusions, fractures and crystal structures that took millions of years to form through a series of catastrophic geologic conditions— characteristics that serve a precious reminder of each stone’s provenance. It’s these distinctive properties that help ensure each and every piece is wholly one-of-a-kind.
The company was crystalized by Jeff Rutstein, the son of a geologist and geology professor at State University of New York at New Paltz. Rutstein spent decades traversing the globe with his father, and his father’s aspiring geology students, in search of the most beautiful, unimaginable gems hidden in deep, remote regions of the earth that had yet to be discovered. Then, after working with industry giants the likes of Tiffany and Waterford, coupled with a decade-long tenure in sports marketing, Rutstein had a vision to “elevate the game” and launch a suite of designs exemplifying the most high end, luxurious sports accolades ever created. Due to the impeccable craftsmanship and beauty of his works, Rutstein rapidly expanded from commissioning sports-specific pieces to a wide array of housewares, drinkware, décor and landscape items that are utterly unparalleled.
Every single creation is customized for each client predicated on their desired gemstone, level of design sophistication and budget. Whether it’s a set of extravagant goblets, pair of Amethyst cathedrals framing a fireplace, illuminated clusters in an outdoor oasis or a football, basketball or baseball cut to perfect form for the ultimate sports enthusiast–the options are virtually endless. Perpetuating this variety is that the company offers an assortment of semi-precious gemstone choices to help ensure the work meets your exacting expectations, hopes and desires.
Crystal materials available include Phantom Quartz, deriving its name from the Greek mythological word “Krustallos,” meaning “Ice Created by the Gods.” They also work with soft pink Rose Quartz, regarded as the “heart stone” and commonly associated with “unconditional love and passion,” as well as Amethyst—a stone often referred to as “Purple Diamonds” due to its intense color tones and splendor.
I, myself, commissioned a Rose Quartz heart perched majestically (and seemingly impossibly) atop a Phantom Quartz base, also with a personalized inscription. The resulting sculpture took my breath away when I first saw it, as it does each and every time I gaze upon it to this day.
“It took several years for me to perfect our ‘patent pending’ etching process, which is an incredibly sophisticated and arduous procedure allowing the gemstone to be meticulously engraved to perfect symmetry,” Rutstein notes. “These designs can not only be etched with meaningful personalized text, but also with a favorite team logo. In fact, we have licensing agreements with all the major professional sports properties including MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA and NCAA.”
So magnificent are Opulent Luxuries creations, the company boasts a bevy of A-List clients like Gearys Beverly Hills, Phyllis Morris, MLB, ESPN, the NFL (including the Dallas Cowboys organization), Frongate and even famous movers-and-shakers in Hollywood.
So, if you want to add shock, awe and sparkle to your life, or some polish and panache to your gifting endeavors, Opulent Luxuries is a categorical go-to gem.
As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist and futurist. As prolific consumer trends, lifestyle and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, Merilee keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. The best-of-the-best across all product, service and travel categories—as well as noteworthy marketplace change makers, movers and shakers—are spotlighted in her exclusive cross-media platform that reaches multi-millions each month through several syndication channels: print and online publications as well as broadcast TV and terrestrial radio. Connect with her at www.TheLuxeList.com / Instagram www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews / Twitter www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor / Facebook www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList / LinkedIN www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern.
***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or arranged at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***
Photo courtesy of Opulent Luxuries
Mother’s Day is on fast approach, and this year’s holiday is poised to bring in the motherload. This as a National Retail Federation survey forecasts that this coming Mother’s Day “is expected to deliver highest consumer spending to date” with expenditures “expected to total a record $25 billion this year, up from $23.1 billion in 2018.” That’s a staggering amount of money showing mommy just how much we care—an endeavor for which consumers up the ante annually.
“Mother’s Day spending has been growing consistently over the past several years, and this year’s spending is expected to be the highest in the 16-year history of our survey,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumers are excited to celebrate all the moms in their lives, and retailers are ready to inspire consumers with unique gift options.”
With unique, sure-fire and tried-and-true gift options in mind, here are a few ideas to help streamline your shopping efforts and help you make savvy splurges to celebrate mom on her special day.
NOVICA Artisan Fair-Trade Marketplace (www.Novica.com)
If you crave distinctive style, worldly sophistication and enjoy shopping for a cause, then NOVICA—the largest online, fair-trade marketplace featuring beautiful hand-crafted products from all over the world—is for you. Their curated cache of artisans has been hand-selected, with many having overcome amazing odds by selling their goods. For example, the Blue Jasmine Batik Silk Scarf, designed by Java artisan Yuni Kristina, has expanded business into a global marketplace thanks to the help of NOVICA’s team. Originating in Indonesia, batik is a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to whole cloth, or cloth made using this technique. Kristina hand-stamps the blue patterns on the ivory textile and adds red and black designs in batik. Also noteworthy NOVICA artisans are glass-blowing artists Javier Gutiérrez and Efrén Canteras, who have worked together to preserve Mexico's blown glass artistry. They work with lead-free, un-tempered and recycled glass that is melted at very high temperatures and formed into beautiful wares like stunning and highly distinctive drinkware and serveware. NOVICA features many other authentic crafts from around the globe and the company has sent more than $89.9 million back to their artisans to date. It’s cause-conscious consumerism at its best.
Dooney & Bourke ‘Caldwell’ Design Handbags (www.Dooney.com)
The Caldwell Collection from Dooney & Bourke exemplifies understated elegance. These chic, structured bags created from python-embossed leather are refined but with a touch of glam courtesy of the gold-plated hardware embellishment. The collection of products has also been treated to repel some moisture, so those spring showers are nary a worry. One option I especially adore from the line is the Caldwell Flynn Handbag, which features rich textures of that python-embossed leather that elevates this fashion-forward bag. Soft pleats and a gold logo round out the look on the exterior, while inside there’s a light twill lining—a bright pop of red juxtaposing my choice of the deep espresso brown option. Aside from its aesthetics, what I adore about this handbag is that it’s extremely roomy, with the main compartment holding an abundant amount while also keeping you organized courtesy of deep-set pockets galore. Another piece that I especially like for when I only need to carry essentials is the Caldwell Zip Clutch. The exotic texture of python is once again artfully imprinted in leather, making this eye-catching clutch an instant outfit changer. Its classic, timeless shape makes this clutch a perfect companion. It can also be used as a coordinating wallet with the Flynn Handbag. For an effortless polish, day or night, Caldwell bags are a great choice for the season and beyond.
Grayson Monáe Handmade Flats & Fashion Accessories (GraysonMonae.com)
Grayson Monáe flats are walking works of art that are handmade to perfection by skilled artisans with 100% genuine leather, exquisite hand embroidery, impeccable craftsmanship, premium fabric, fine silk thread and padded soles. These characteristics, along with the attention to detail paid to each shoe, make them one-of-a-kind classics. Everything from the embroidery to the stitching, to the pearl and bead placement, to the unique designs are crafted by talented artisans. These flats are not only stylish, unique, comfy and cute, they’re also affordable with options starting at $45. They’re also highly versatile and can be worn with absolutely anything, including jeans, tights, skirts, shorts, or even formal dresses. Designed with women of all ages in mind, these are statement shoes certain to draw attention of the best kind. Indeed, not only do they look good on women, but teenage daughters will love them, too. In addition to the fabulous flats, Grayson Monáe also sells handmade clutches to match and beautifully-embroidered handmade scarves.
Sebastien Barthelemy S&B Apparel (www.SandB-English)
Sebastian Barthelemy’s S&B, a fashion company located in Seine-et-Marne, France, offers a wide selection of t-shirts and hoodies featuring colorful pop culture designs based on various heart shape emojis. Mom can wear these shirts to express what she’s feeling with universal love and humor. Designs for women, men and children include famous personalities, country flags and other fun and heartfelt ways to communicate through clothing. S&B believes that the symbol of the heart is extremely communicative and profoundly universal, and serves as the inspiration for their design ideas. Something else to love is the fact that all of the garments are made from 100 percent sustainable, organic cotton.
Dr. med. Christine Schrammek Skincare Line (www.DrSchrammekUSA.com)
For women keen on focusing on skin health and wealth, check out the medically-inspired skin care products from the Dr. med. Christine Schrammek collection by Kosmetik—a 60-year-old German skincare company. Products in this innovative, dermatologist-created line boast proven ingredients, and are individually targeted to meet the needs of different skin types. Thanks to their high ingredient concentration, Dr. Schrammek products seamlessly combine dermatological knowledge with high-end skin care, resulting in rave reviews from women across the globe. Dermatologist, allergologist and anti-aging expert Dr. med. Christine Schrammek-Drusio’s professional occupation as a doctor with her own practice strengthened her desire to create a connection between cosmetics and dermatology. Today, thousands of aestheticians and users worldwide reportedly take advantage of the company’s skin care products. The company offers a skin care portfolio with seven product lines addressing different skin types and concerns, with each combining innovative and proven components to optimize skin health. All products are dermatologically tested, and many are clinically tested, to ensure optimum efficacy.
Playground Sessions Keyboard/Piano Lessons Membership Bundle (www.PlaygroundSessions.com)
Give the gift of music and an enriched life by helping Mom learn how to play her favorite songs on the keyboard or piano at home in an easy and fun way. Playground Sessions, a company co-created by Quincy Jones, is passionate about using its innovative technology and musical expertise to help people improve themselves and enjoy life more. The company offers a bundle that includes a full-featured and elegantly designed keyboard well-suited for the beginner player. In addition, the Playground Sessions bundle includes over-ear portable headphones, sustain pedal, sheet music stand and more. The included USB cable lets users connect to Playground Sessions online instruction via a computer or iPad. With step-by-step interactive lessons, real-time feedback and scores, she’ll be playing on day one!
VocoPro Pop-Up Oke Bluetooth Karaoke System (www.VocoPro.com)
Pop-Up Oke is a great gadget gift for singers who would enjoy a fun, all-in-one wireless karaoke mic with a built-in mixer/speaker, complete with its own light show! From audio leader VocoPro, the Pop-up-Oke microphone can connect to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth and use YouTube or any number of different karaoke apps to access and enjoy hours of entertainment. Singers can also use the onboard MP3 SD/TF player to perform with recorded MP3 tracks. The multi-color LED lights can be turned on or off and, when on, will automatically “dance” to the beat of the music to add a visual excitement to any karaoke session. The system features a new generation of wireless karaoke microphone technology, including an all-in-one portable design. It’s just perfect for small karaoke gatherings and road trips. it also features innovative music link technology that can pair two Pop-up Oke devices to perform duets, a shock mounted professional condenser microphone to reduce handling noise, and a user-replaceable lithium ion rechargeable battery.
VocoPro Karaoke Dual Bluetooth System (www.GuitarCenter.com)
Also from VocoPro is KaraokeDual, a powerful 2.1 digital boom box with high-quality DSP effects that allow singers to sound their best. The system has a powerful 100W amplifier with dedicated subwoofer allowing for high quality karaoke audio. Users can connect via Bluetooth and stream karaoke audio wirelessly, or can connect the KaraokeDual machine to an Internet-connected Smart TV with the available digital optical input. Either scenario allows users to access thousands of tracks through YouTube or a favorite karaoke app. The KaraokeDual also comes packaged with two digital 2.4Ghzband wireless vocal microphones, each of which has the controls built right into the handheld for maximum convenience. It also features a vocal eliminator feature to reduce the original vocals on non-karaoke tracks as well. Turn Mom’s living room into a karaoke studio for friends and family, filling the space with great-sounding music and vocals for hours of fun and entertainment.
Cookies Con Amore Italian Treats (CookiesConAmore.com)
Cookies Con Amore is a baker of gourmet Italian cookies. While based in Southern California, the Italian-born head baker, Fernanda Capraro, is inspired by recipes that can be traced through five generations. Their heart-shaped jelly is a signature item along with Italian Wedding Cookies, Biscotti, Amaretti and an array of other tasty and authentic confections. Most are also available in Gluten Free varieties. Uniquely Italian, the cookies contain the top-quality, natural ingredients, including organic butter, free range eggs and premium grade extracts. Cookies Con Amore’s traditionally Italian palate favors subtlety and focuses on an essential flavor, believing that if you are eating a lemon cookie, the flavor should unfold delicately and you should taste fresh lemon, a hint of sweetness and nothing inessential. This premium cookie brand is great for gifting, holiday entertaining and certainly as tasty "everyday” treats. Many assortments are offered in a stylish package that combines multiple cookie flavors in a single heart-shaped basket, tin or box.
SHARP Superheated Steam Countertop Oven (www.SharpUSA.com)
The SHARP Superheated Steam Countertop Oven is an extremely efficient option perfect for every-day use, allowing users to keep their big oven clean for special occasions. The combination of superheated steam and conventional, radiant heat in all cooking modes means that food will be crispy and browned on the outside, moist and delicious on the inside. Not to be mistaken with a traditional steamer or steam oven, with superheated steam up to 485°F, in conjunction with conventional, radiant heat, proteins will brown and become crispy. Sugars will caramelize. And the results are amazing. You won’t need to preheat your oven before cooking or even defrost the food the night before. You can simply place food into the oven, set the desired cooking mode, temperature and time. With multiple cooking modes, this countertop oven provides endless cooking possibilities and will eliminate the need for multiple small countertop appliances. It can broil or grill, bake or reheat, cook pizzas, warm food, and also create 7 shades of toast. Its convenient front-loading water tank is easy-to-access, and easy-to-fill with regular tap or bottled water. It’s the perfect size and provides up to 60-minutes of cooking time before refilling. And, the hidden bake element is beneath a flat oven floor so clean-up is a breeze. This really sets this oven apart from most other countertop ovens. The included broiling pan and crisper tray gives you 2-tier-cooking and they are 40% larger than a standard, quarter-size sheet pan making it perfect for anything from making sheet pan dinners for the whole family, to hors d’oeuvres for party guests.
Limoneira Lemons, Merchandise, Recipes & Tips (Sprouts.com)
From Limoneira.com, Limoneira spokesperson, “Healthy Grocery Girl” Founder Megan Roosevelt, shows people how to make life simpler and healthier with recipe and nutrition tips, natural beauty techniques, creative decorating ideas and green, non-toxic cleaning solutions—any and all of which Mom would certainly appreciate. Buy her a gift pack of these lemons and show her how to enjoy fresh juice for glowing skin, the many benefits of lemon water and more...or cook one of their delicious meals for her like their Lemon Chicken Sheet Pan recipe. You can actually purchase gift baskets from Limoneira.com as well as merchandise gifts well-suited for Mother’s Day, like the Lemon Sugar Candle that’ll freshen up Mom’s space. Since its inception 126 years ago in 1893, California-based Limoneira has evolved into an important sustainable grower and harvester of lemons and other citrus. Its founders were pioneers of spirit and vision that helped lay the foundations of a thriving California citrus industry. Their dedication and innovation in the agricultural industry helped found and develop many institutions that still exist (Sunkist Growers, Fruit Growers Supply and Diamond Walnut). Today, Limoneira is a global agribusiness and seller of citrus to grocery stores and food establishments everywhere.
As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist and futurist. As prolific consumer trends, lifestyle and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, Merilee keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. The best-of-the-best across all product, service and travel categories—as well as noteworthy marketplace change makers, movers and shakers—are spotlighted in her exclusive cross-media platform that reaches multi-millions each month through several syndication channels: print and online publications as well as broadcast TV and terrestrial radio. Connect with her at www.TheLuxeList.com / Instagram www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews / Twitter www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor / Facebook www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList / LinkedIN www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern.
***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or arranged at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***
Photo courtesy of/copyright NOVICA
Growth. All businesses and professionals should desire it and most certainly need it. But achieving and sustaining growth in today’s uber-complex environment—whether corporate, entrepreneurial or personal career growth—takes multifaceted vision, ingenuity and agility. Indeed, a lack of growth in business speaks volumes. It says a business or individual hasn’t fruitfully evolved in its own lifecycle (or career cycle), hasn’t kept pace with industry trends, that increased profitability isn’t being prioritized (or valued) ... or all of the above. Even when all of these things are successfully realized, there’s still quite a macro fight to be had as one endeavors to advance.
For companies, economic indicators are a useful benchmark which often portray how ominous or encouraging the growth opportunity landscape may be. For example, according to intel from The Conference Board’s Economic Forecast for the U.S. Economy, GDP data shows that “... growth slowed in the final quarter of the year ,” and that, “during 2019, expect growth to slow further, as effects from fiscal stimulus measures wane ...” Such intel can put things into perspective and prompt businesses to pivot on activities and expectations for the period.
But even as businesses at large strive to thrive, so too must the individual professionals that drive them. At the end of the day, a business’ success, or lack thereof, is a direct reflection of the people therein—from ownership and management to frontline and support staff and everyone betwixt and between.
For some insight-oriented motivation, here’s a glimpse at how some business owners and professionals are growing their businesses and capitalizing on opportunities in their respective industries while promoting professional self-development.
#1 – Embrace Your Uniqueness, Don’t Try to Blend In
Whether with respect to a company’s offerings, approach or image—or to staffers, themselves—uniqueness and authenticity can be key in attracting and entrenching customers. Sure, it’s easy to “play it safe” and still turn a profit, but to fully achieve breakthrough goals and hit seemingly impossible targets requires taking risks—true, and even unconventional, sincerity among them. Harvard-trained lawyer Chinwe Esimai, the first African to secure a global executive role at one of the world’s largest banks, encourages individuals to embrace “shining in their own lanes,” even in corporate America. By not downplaying her efforts or her Nigerian-born immigrant background and by staying true to her uniqueness, Esimai achieved extraordinary success with a banking industry leader.
#2 – Increase the Value of Your Brand
For companies, your brand isn’t your brand until you’ve legally maximized all of your resources. This is according to patent lawyer JiNan Glasgow George, who underscores that, for multi-billion-dollar companies like Apple or Nike, their trademark, logo and patent is what they focus on to drive value. George, who helps small businesses understand the power behind copyrighted brands, explains that intellectual properties (IP) provide protection against other companies from “borrowing” your ideas while also solidifying the uniqueness of your brand.
When it comes to one’s personal trademark, Karen Leland, author of “The Brand Mapping Strategy: Design, Build, and Accelerate Your Brand,” suggests developing your brand by design, not default. “Know precisely where you are so you can discern where you need to go,” she says. “Every business person, from secretary to CEO, needs to start by assessing the personal brand they currently have and be truthful about the degree to which it exists by design—or default. Then they need to take stock of the impact that current brand is having. Is your brand producing the reputation you desire? What is it about what you do, or how you do it, that makes you unique, distinct and special? What sets you apart? Positioning yourself by specifically articulating how your brand speaks to the needs of your audience, coupled with the unique way you address those needs, is critical to creating an effective personal brand. And the more specific you can be, the better.”
#3 – Double Down on Failure
Many in business are understandably discouraged after taking a loss, let alone experiencing a series of losses or rejections. However, with a fresh point-of-view on failure you just might be able to turn those setbacks into growth springboards. In fact, in his book, WTF?! (Willing to Fail) Brian Scudamore (founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?), explores the notion of “failing upward” and, in the process, “using setbacks to change your business for the better.” He asserts that “being an entrepreneur means letting go of fear,” and I contend that all aspiring professionals (not just entrepreneurs) should embrace this paradigm.
Speaker and business guru Anthony Russo was able to wrangle his fear and rejection worries–to an extent that he built a seven-figure business in less than 18 months. Russo achieved this remarkable revenue benchmark by “doubling down” that, as he puts it, “is the art of leveraging failure to accelerate success.” By this, he means absorbing everything he passively learned from each prior failure and proactively learned about each situation by seeking and researching new tactics and trying again. While Russo concedes that failure is a significant part of nearly any business process, especially relating to company ownership, he urges that powering through can lead to success that may not just meet, but exceed, original expectations.
#4 – Fractionalize Unforeseen Problems
Unanticipated problems or events are always spontaneously occurring, and that unpredictability—especially with complications—can wreak havoc on the most well-conceived plans, sabotage timelines and send expenses soaring. This is why many companies invest so largely in prevention development teams—a strong resolution department to solve problems before and after they happen to keep the momentum and productivity flowing. But, not all companies—and certainly not individuals—have the luxury of having a department team at-the-ready to alleviate the angst. Franchise and small business expert Brian Clark, owner of Service Team of Professionals ("STOP") franchises, uses a simple method to avoid unforeseen obstacles from overtaking his businesses. According to Clark, “Every problem can be solved by asking the right questions and breaking down the problem. Fracturing each challenge to small, accomplishable tasks will not only be less intimidating, but also easier to maneuver.”
#5 – Work Smarter, Play Harder
Productivity is a key priority in the labor supply-and-demand chain. It’s easy to focus on profits and products, dismissing the “how” it all gets done. Yes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it also wasn’t built single-handily either. Many businesses and professionals have been taught strategies to “work smarter not harder.” But well-respected business advisor and company CEO Richard Polak subscribes to “work smarter, play harder.” He’s advised the world’s largest companies, including the likes of General Electric, to focus on time and output. To invest in the well-being of its staff as well as invest in technologies that boost its efficiency and capacity, thus maximizing work time and morale to boost bottom lines. Polak differentiates himself by referring to his model as “compassionate” productivity strategies.
According to an Accenture study, “The parallels between a superior customer experience and employee experience are striking. An optimized customer experience generates loyalty and additional sales. A stellar employee experience attracts talent and boosts workforce engagement, productivity and retention. This, in turn, directly improves a business’s financial performance.” The net result? The report revealed that “companies with highly engaged workforces are 21 percent more profitable than those with poor engagement.”
#6 – Embrace Value System-Driven Victory
Pak Chau, the wildly successful tech entrepreneur who operates in various sectors like social networking, e-commerce and esports, did the unthinkable. As a value-driven entrepreneur, Chau had undertaken a successful ICO (Initial Coin Offering) to raise nearly $2.5-3 million for his esports platform. But, subsequent to raising these funds, he had an epiphany. Chau returned the money from investors and told his team they were going to start raising sales-driven capital from scratch. Why? As months passed after the ICO, Chau harbored an ominous feeling. “Deep down in my heart,” he recalls, “I felt that something was wrong. I felt that the energy in the office was slowly draining.” One reason for that was the newly-established investors from the ICO. “They knew nothing about gaming,” Chau laments. “They were offering advice that did not resonate well with me or my team, and it was starting to obviously impact the company culture.”
Chau was looking for more than generating revenue, but rather to actualize a more holistic measure of achievement. Having foregone the funds from the ICO—undeniably a gut-wrenching decision most entrepreneurs would never have the stomach to execute—he had to figure out a way to launch on a shoestring budget. He believed that he could build his new business directly with the customer; in this case as a community-based marketplace. So, Chau pressed ahead without the ICO-driven funds and ultimately launched his community-based solution. Within days, it attracted more than 20,000 users and now, less than a year later, it boasts more than 70,000.
Chau feels that, at the end of the day, it’s really about the conscience of the entrepreneur. He personifies this notion and walks the walk...all the way to the bank.
#7 – Control What You Can
While cliché, they are undeniable truths: Perception is reality and “image is everything,” as painfully vain as these maxims sound. From one’s physical appearance to how one behaves, people tend to judge first and reason later. The same holds true for a business facility. Whether an office lobby, a retail display window, a website home page or even the body condition of fleet vehicles, aesthetics play a mission-critical role in overcoming the litany of obstacles and objections that are initially present with a new engagement. The influence of appearance is something serial beauty and cosmetics industry entrepreneur Dawn Hunter knows all too well, having built an empire helping people cultivate and refine their image by putting their best face forward.
Looks aside, the idea of “controlling what you can” is about far more than trying to make yourself as outwardly attractive as possible. It’s about embracing your inner beauty, strength and fortitude and being utterly and unequivocally confident in your capabilities.
Epitomizing these philosophies is former Ms. Olympia 50+ Sheryl Grant who, after leaving a corporate career, discovered that transforming her body began with a shift of what she could control: her mindset. She developed what she now calls the “F.I.T. for Business” model based on principles of faith, intuition and tenacity and went on to win Ms. Olympia her first time competing at age 55. Today, Grant teaches entrepreneurs and executives that, while they can’t always control their external surroundings, they can determine how they respond to situations. She imparts that their perspective and beliefs often drive success, or lack thereof, and play a big role in shaping their future.
As the old adage goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat ... and there’s certainly more than one way to spur growth for your business or career trajectory. The seven strategies above, particularly when employed in multiplicity, can catapult your professional endeavors to new heights. It’s never too late and there’s no better time than now.
As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist and futurist. As a prolific branding and marketplace trends pundit, Merilee spotlights noteworthy industry innovators, change makers, movers and shakers. Experts, brands, products, services, destinations and events across all categories are spotlighted in her exclusive cross-media platform that reaches multi-millions each month through several syndication channels: print and online publications as well as broadcast TV and terrestrial radio. Connect with her at www.TheLuxeList.com / Instagram www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews / Twitter www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor / Facebook www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList / LinkedIN www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern