Alison Gutterman is president of Jelmar, LLC.  She is very proud of the company and the products that carry the CLR brand.  Alison is dedicated to bringing the Jelmar quality to an ever-increasing audience.  It is not just the family business, it is truly a part of Alison Gutterman. more>>


Living Your Life Without Labels

labelingBeing a mom and running a business in today’s world is no easy feat. It takes strength, courage and grace. Growing up, I was called “bossy” from time to time for being someone who, from an early age, was not afraid to be assertive and chase after what I wanted.  Now in my adulthood and raising a daughter, I think about how putting labels on people, especially young women, can have a great affect on who they become and how they behave.


I feel that from a young age, being able to express your opinion in a group setting, whether on the playground, in a classroom, at soccer practice or at home only helps build leadership skills and confidence. From a teacher in the classroom to the CEO of a company, creating an environment where speaking up and voicing your opinion is considered a positive opposed to negative aids in building a better future with more diverse leaders. We shouldn’t call young girls who are expressing their opinions “bossy.” Instead we should focus on building up their self esteem and reinforcing their strengths.


Personally, I find labels to be very limiting. Telling a young woman that she is being “bossy” for voicing her opinion and demonstrating strong leadership skills limits her from reaching her full potential and pushes her back from achieving higher goals and aspirations further down the road. Labels lead to confinement, and when we confine someone, they have no room to grow. Having a daughter myself, I want to teach her that speaking out and leading is a sign of strength, and not something to be put down.


As Sheryl Sandberg noted, being a woman in the business world does not mean you have to compromise being true to yourself. I was taught, from a young age, that you could be as many things as you want to be, and you don’t have to give a reason, excuse or apology for how high you want to climb to fulfill those roles and achieve all your goals. That is what I think we all should take into account when talking to our children about their future.


With International Woman’s Day just taking place, I ask, what is something you are doing to empower our future generations? Do you think that the everyday labels we’ve used for years without second thought are actually hurting our children and their aspirations? Comment below, I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts! Until next time, friends!


February 2014: Eye On The Prize: The Motivation of Athletes

sochiEvery two years, in the winter and summer, I get so excited to watch the coverage of the Olympics. It’s so inspiring to watch the best of the best from around the world come together to compete for a medal. Their performances and the stories about the athletes’ personal journeys motivate me to focus on goals in my everyday life that I want to achieve.


Day in and day out, as I walk through the Jelmar offices and see my employees working hard for a company they believe in and are passionate about, I get inspired. Determined to be the best “coach” to my superb “athletes,” I work to lead by example and provide my employees the best resources so, as a team, we can continue to give you our best.


Thinking about what my employees need from me, I look to what motivates me in my life. Carrying on the legacy of a company that not only makes great products but also brings together great people to make the products is what inspires me to keep moving forward, both professionally and personally. My employees don’t settle for silver, they strive for gold. Like athletes competing at the highest level, their willingness and determination to never settle is what keeps this company above the rest.


When I get home at night after a long day’s work, my kids’ energy and enthusiasm reminds me that there is so much you can enjoy in one day, and that joy can only fuel your determination to achieve goals. And people find their motivation in different places. For me, making time for family helps me feel more balanced. For others it might be taking a yoga class or simply meeting up with a friend for a cup of coffee at the local café: an after work activity helps rejuvenate mind, body and soul. Athletes often talk about how they “unwind” and how they find time to disconnect from their hard work, but they never are undetermined. The constant quest for being better, for achieving goals, is always with them.


Before the day’s end, you can complete any daily goal you want to achieve. Having the determination and drive takes practice but with the right people in your life, cheering you on, and with a good amount of balance, you’ll be as good as gold. So I leave with you a question: What motivates you to put your best foot forward? Let me know below and I look forward to hearing from you!

January 2014: What My Kids & I Teach Each Other

bizzard_chicagoNow that we are in the heart of winter, I like to think back to my childhood when I spent these cold months with my family and friends, cooped up inside due to chilly outdoor temperatures. Winter months were a time of the year where indoor activities and pastimes were prevalent; it was also a time where I learned a few valuable life lessons. As I watch my children navigate through these months, I can see a familiar pattern occur.


From days spent at the Jelmar office to nights and weekends spent at home, the streets of Chicago can be bitterly cold, not to mention overcast and desolate in winter. During a time when indoor spaces become your everyday sanctuary, I tend to see an influx of at-home play date requests from my kids. The great thing about play dates that I remember from childhood is that it teaches kids how to become good hosts, an invaluable quality they can carry with them into adulthood.


When preparing for a play date with her friends, I like to ask my daughter what she thinks we need to do to ensure for a successful play date. From stocking the pantry with the right snacks to stocking the house with clean towels and blankets (in case the play date turns into an all-night sleepover) to having enough thread on-hand to make friendship bracelets, it is always surprises me to see the overarching similarities in how I prepare to have guests over to my daughter’s.


I notice more and more that, my kids (like yours, I’m sure) watch and observe my everyday moves and actions. Trying to set a good example for them, day in and day out, can feel strenuous and daunting, but I feel it’s the small things that our little ones pick up on most. Being there for a friend during troubled or trying times, welcoming friends and family with open arms into your home and putting others before yourself sometimes are all qualities that I strive for (not only for myself, but for my kids as well).


So I ask you to take a look at your life and think about what your kids have taught? Or what you feel you have taught them, and to remember that we are here to learn from one another, no matter what age we are.

Bidding Adieu to 2013

happynewyearIt’s official! This holiday season is in full force, which means enjoying time with family, friends and colleagues alike. While getting into the holiday spirit, I try to reflect on the past year, and think ahead to what the New Year will bring. 2013 has been a great year for us over at Jelmar, and with 2014 right around the corner, we can’t wait to continue to provide you with the best products and tools the cleaning industry has to offer. What are some highlights from the past year for you? I try to build on goals that I had set in the past year, taking them to new levels, both personally and professionally. Goals never have an expiration date in my book: they just grow and mature into bigger achievements to strive for.


With two new fantastic products, business expansion and the creation of brand new commercials to showcase just how well these products work, we could not be prouder of the products we are producing that are making your cleaning experience easier and more enjoyable. Expanding our social media presence with our Pinterest page this past year was an achievement we feel helps us connect more closely with you, a way for us to exchange ideas back and forth so we can better know what your interests and values are.  Dedication to added research so we can better understand our consumers’ needs and how we can produce products that will make your everyday lives easier was one of our main goals this past year.


So cherish the fun, happy memories you have collected over the past year, and think about the future ones the New Year will bring. How will you try and make 2014 one of your best years yet? For not only you, but also those around you that you care about. I know at Jelmar our team spirit and unity is what keeps everyone motivated and excited to bring the products you know and love, and to provide new products that will change your cleaning experience completely. From my home to yours, happy holiday and a most wonderful new year!

Savoring the Season

thanksgivingThis time of year, my schedule is busier than ever. The upcoming holidays mean lots of activities to plan and prepare for.. From gathering all the ingredients and materials for holiday meals to picking out the right gifts for loved ones and attending gatherings with family and friends, I often find that it’s hard to get everything checked off my “to-do” list.


My home is my center point: it’s where I start and end my day. With my family member’s schedules as busy as mine during the winter months, our typically calm and collected “center point” can become a little messy and unruly. But over the years, I have realized that I need to take a step back and savor the season.


Magic truly happens during the holiday season. I see it on the streets of my hometown Chicago, around the office, and in my friends and family, the coming together of everyone to make the world around them a little better of a place to be.


So I just wanted to take a moment to encourage everyone to step back and enjoy the season, because it always seems to speed by a bit faster each passing year. Hug those close to you, spend time with loved ones, laugh, eat, drink, and be merry. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!