Principal, Bollare Communications
An expert on style and trends, Alle founded Bollare Communications, a bi-coastal beauty, fashion and lifestyle public relations and communications firm. From Gilt GROUPE to Physique 57 Alle has worked with top names to drive impact back to their bottom line. Bollare is focused on employing young and dynamic team members and mentoring them towards READ MORE »
Q: Please share with us the story of how your professional journey began and has brought you to where you are today
A: I was one of the initial team members of women’s online retailer, www.shopbop.com. As the company was in start up phase, it was a wonderful opportunity to be involved in so many facets of a growing business- from styling photo-shoots, to drafting product descriptions, to appearing on air on hundreds of television segments for the brand, to managing our publicity presence. Seven years ago the Shopbop business was sold to Amazon. In this transition I had the unique opportunity to start Bollare, my own consulting business, with Shopbop as my first brand partner. With the combination of my experience at the helm of such a successful contemporary fashion and ecommerce business and friends covering the launch of Bollare in outlets from the Wall Street Journal to Allure; the clientele came naturally, allowing us to be selective and strategic with whom we worked.
We’ve grown the business to a robust place- now managing client’s public relations and communications strategy for beauty, fashion and lifestyle brands between offices in NYC and LA. Bollare partners with clients for celebrity seeding, traditional media coverage and digital consultancy through our dynamic team and wonderful industry relationships.
Q: Who is a leader that you have great respect for and why?
A: I have so many – as I’ve learned from and been inspired by successful women over the years-
- Sara Flores, Bollare’s Vice President. Her servant leadership and constant ‘thought of and for the team’ is truly unique and special.
- Erin Condren. Erin and I have been friends and had a working relationship for six years. Watching her company explode with successful partnerships with Target and Shutterfly as well as her own namesake ecommerce platform, all while keeping a spirit and personality that effervescently flows through the business, is inspiring!
- Bob Lamey, Principal Founder and former President of Shopbop. Bob always taught me through ‘doing and trying’, and pushing me, and the team at large, to explore and more often than not, impact-fully succeed!
- Mike Fister, my father. One of my most trusted advisors and consultants- a successful Silicon Valley businessman who has the ability to critically apply key learning across so many verticals; he has taught me to ‘look for the pattern’ and not take each instance- positive or negative- as an outlier situation.
- Don Popkes, my husband. He has taught me and inspired me to have a balance in life – which in turn lends to further business success.
Q: What are 3 characteristics that you believe define great leadership?
A: Motivator, Servant and Strategist
Q: If a business has several, viable ways to grow and innovate, how do you pick the best road to take?
A: These are my favorite businesses to work with because they offer you legs! A wonderful brand will be one that offers different ‘ways to get there’ – as each of these paths and points of differentiation will potentially tap into a different and unique marketplace, providing a different point of touch and therefore more layers of access to spread the word.
From here we then TEST. Being nimble and adjusting to what is working and what is not is critical to a dynamic and successful business.
Q: What’s your best advice for an entrepreneur in an early/bootstrapping phase? Or in a growth/need to ‘now scale’ phase?
A: Oh man, I love this question- my favorite thoughts are:
Work smart, not hard. Think through what you’re doing and strategically pick your course of action and be resilient (easier said than done), but if it were easy, everyone would do it. There are times in any business when you have to push and times to celebrate the wins. Strategically and thoughtfully work through those, and it will be amazing what you can do!
Q: What are your top 3 tips for networking?
A: 1. Do it and do it often. I have learned so much by meeting and listening to others.
2. Think of the other, no one learns anything by talking, listen and ask questions.
3. Look for mentors, people whom have careers and lives, not necessarily in your exact field, which are inspiring, and look for the patterns of why you look up to them and how they got there. The pattern is how you will be able to personally apply the key learning.
Q: A great negotiation can be game changing for one’s business or life. Studies have shown that men are much more comfortable negotiating and asking for what they want compared to women. What’s your advice to women who are uncomfortable negotiating?
A: Set a GOAL- if you don’t know what you want, how can you get there? With this in mind, then enjoy the game of it. Look at a negotiation as a game of chess- thoughtfully picking your next move helps you reach your end goal.
Q: What do you believe makes a great brand?
A: A clear understanding of who you are. You cannot be all things to all people. Decide what and who you want to be and strategically make decisions that carve and mold accordingly.
ON Starting Out
Q: If you had a young sister or a daughter who was a senior in college, anxious about landing her first job or unsure of what she wanted to do, what would your advice be to her?
A: Intern, intern, intern! When I was starting out, there is no way I even knew what I do now was an option for a career! It is better to intern and learn what career options there are before assuming, getting on the wrong path and feeling either stuck or stranded!
Q: What or who in your life gives you the strength to persevere?
A: My team and our clients. I feel such a sincere level of passion and dedication to both groups. When times are tough or trying, I think of them and what the business means and has brought to these two important groups in my life.
Q: It is a common saying that we learn more from our mistakes than from our successes. Can you share a story about a time when you experienced a mistake, and how you eventually came out a winner because of the lesson it taught you?
A: So…would you like these alphabetically or chronologically…! YES, no doubt about it, a mistake learned first-hand with your own dollars, emotion, and time sticks with you!
Attention to detail in a negotiation. You cannot be too zealous to ‘get it done’ – the identifying and exploration of details and how they affect both parties is key.
Q: How do you overcome feelings of insecurity, fear or discomfort when deciding to take a risk?
A: Time and experience. This is certainly something helped with the ‘grey hair factor’ feeling and eventually thriving in the feeling I truly feel comes with time and experience in doing it. This and being highly methodical and thoughtful with the choices you’re making. With time in the game on this I find you eventually look forward to the resolve more than worrying about how you’ll get there.
ON Self Care
Q: Online calendars, emailing ourselves, post-it notes… I’m still struggling to find the best way to manage my time and to do list? What’s your method?
A: This is one of the world’s most eternal struggles- management of your precious time- and then how to take note of it all. My dear friend has the coolest business, www.erincondren.com. Her life planner is a lifesaver- it has everything from a sheet that keeps frequent flier information to, of course, your daily agenda. The best part is, it’s FUN, colorful, and chalk full of positive sayings and inspirations. If I’m going to manage my life, I might as well ENJOY doing it!
Q: Oprah has that great section in her magazine “What I know for sure”. What do you know for sure?
A: I’m lucky and blessed.
Q: Who are your favorite designers?
A: Now this is certainly the most challenging question thus far! One of my favorites right now is BREN- a new line that recently launched by a designer, twin sister, duo. I love supporting the emerging female entrepreneur – and their elevated, feminine styling is sweet and wearable.
Q: What are the beauty items you could not live without?
A: The ghd styler. This flatiron has universal voltage. I have taken it this year alone to Barcelona, Berlin, Sydney, and Tokyo…I never leave home without it!