Page 14

BUSINESS & FINANCE

Senior Select Seal
During a visit to Massachusetts, Alison O’Neil, 58, heard that an older friend had lost a severe amount of weight. She went to check on the 82-year-old. Down 30 pounds, she was standing in the kitchen struggling to open a bottle. “All I really wanted was some cranberry juice, but I couldn’t open the bottle,” her frail friend replied. Senior Select Seal was born of that moment. With a background in psychology, medical esthetics and aesthetic rehabilitation, O’Neil realized that products can be made easier to open for people with arthritis, lack of mobility and issues with motor skills. Her mission is to prevent failure to thrive syndrome in senior adults through a commitment to ease life as people age, by assuring that products and services meet standards that ensure a life worth living. One challenge O’Neil has faced with Senior Select Seal is society’s attitude about less capable consumers. One kitchenware company told her they were “not interested in the product looking like it is for old people” after testing a can opener prototype. However, O’Neil pushed forward because, if seniors can use a product, it will work for any person with a disability. Her company’s tagline: “A wise choice for any age,” includes all conditions such as loss of vision, taste, touch or smell. Loss of appetite, as she learned from her elderly friend in Massachusetts, is a safety issue. Israeli Charm Bracelets Conception to accelerator was a fast and furious road for Karen Zion, 39. When she spoke with AJT, her schedule was packed with long days at work followed by latenight chats with her husband; working through the weekend days; and skipping social events. One caveat to entrepreneurship, Zion warned, is the ability to become obsessed with a 14 | DECEMBER 7, 2018 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES

business idea. “It can take over. Every waking minute you find yourself thinking about it. I need to maintain balance. All of [the innovators] are passionate and believe in what we are doing,” she said. Her passion for the Jewish homeland is the charisma behind Israeli Charm Bracelets. She witnessed how much her Israeli husband and 7-year-old daughter loved Israel during a visit in May; she also saw the memories fading in her daughter’s mind after their return. “The underlying philosophy is to ensure we keep building a connection to Israel with the next generation. When we create memories and family traditions, like a grandmother passing jewelry to her granddaughter, we strengthen ties back to Israel,” she said. With her Israeli sister-in-law, Zion hopes to produce an array of charms that will appeal to young girls at Jewish day camps as much as young adults returning from Birthright Israel. Charms are laser-cut images of Israeli landmarks, animals and maps. “The overarching themes are making memories and building bridges between Jewish Americans and Israel,” she said. Awareness Space Melding her business background and her personal

meditation practice is 47-year-old Liat Philipson’s dream. One year ago, she woke up with a vision for meditation studios that cater to the overwhelmingly stressful lives of working Americans, similar to a trend she witnessed in New York City. While working in advertising and marketing in Israel, putting in 60- to 70-hour work weeks, Philipson felt burned out. She turned to yoga and meditation. “My friends are miserable. They have no time for their families,” she related. “They like their jobs, but if they had emotional support, it would be better. Why not dedicate a beautiful room in every school, hospital and office to pause? A place to sit quietly and do a mindful meditation.” Companies are aware that employees need a wellness component, Philipson said, yet they seem to address only the physicality like losing weight or smoking cessation. Yet, companies like Google and Apple are offering on-site meditation instruction. Awareness Space dedicates a room for employees to recharge and reconnect, using a platform of mindfulness tools and on-site/online support. Being an entrepreneur is in Philipson’s blood. Both of her brothers are entrepreneurs, and she grew up with

a mother who broke the glass ceiling in Israeli architecture. “My mom always had unique ideas about the way she wanted to build her business. She was a woman in a man’s world. She pursued her vision to work with the biggest companies in Israel, which was unheard of 40 years ago,” she said, noting that both her parents inspired her to pursue her dreams. Through the accelerator, Hub Central’s Sharon served as Philipson’s mentor. “She’s available, has great ideas, she’s reliable and she pushes me in the right direction. If she doesn’t have the resource I need, she will find it. She brings a balance to the business side of my idea.” Her biggest takeaway from the accelerator is to stay flexible. While she believes in emotional wellness, Philipson understands she has to learn what clients want and potentially shift based on their needs. chick*u*do Parents today are navigating a complicated world

of device usage and increasing concerns around their children’s mental health, security and safety. For that reason, Lani Preis, 40, and Marla Zafft, 42, are on a mission to create well-designed products that help kids build communication skills and relationships, foster independence and encourage responsibility. Through their company chick*u*do, established in 2016, the pair developed an artsy technology contract to serve as a visual reminder and remove the element of parental nagging. Four categories keep kids on track: etiquette, health, security and privacy. The art-turned-contract is a reminder of the responsibilities that come with access to technology. Parents can use the contract to establish rules for tablets, cell phones or social media. Zafft said her goal for the accelerator was to re-energize ideas and structure to the business. She and Preis are self-employed consultants and busy moms, so adding a structured timeline forced them to think through steps and revisit ideas. “You don’t build a business plan in a vacuum,” Preis said. “We tend to plow ahead and not to revisit. When we go back to review, it gives us new energy and new focus. The accelerator has helped our business development,” she said. “A few months in I thought, ‘I can’t wait to show my kids that we can change paths.’ There’s something beautiful about being 40 and not having it all figured out.” Shira Books Galia Sabbag, 54, has witnessed the spiritual growth

Atlanta Jewish Times, Vol. XCIII No. 48, December 7, 2018  

Business & Finance

Atlanta Jewish Times, Vol. XCIII No. 48, December 7, 2018  

Business & Finance