“I wish I thought of that!”
Those are the few positive expletives that Alison Bernstein receives when people learn about the incredible service she created while pregnant and in graduate school at Columbia. It helps that Alison is super smart and driven. How smart? One of her first careers was working in investment banking for a French bank after finishing an internship at Bear Stearns in Paris. Yeah, that smart.
Along with being beautiful and sporting to-die-for-hair, Alison is one of those people who understand the intricacies of business so well that she makes it seem so simple. “Starting a successful company can be simple if you understand the basic laws of business.” Oh yeah, like cash flow.
So what was her brilliant idea that has got her ink in every major newspaper and magazine across the country? First, Alison started Suburban Jungle, a real estate firm that focuses on finding her clients their perfect neighborhood based on an extensive questionnaire and lifestyle assessment.
“Moving to a new neighborhood or town is not just about the facts, there is a whole set of social and emotional values that have to be considered before uprooting your family and making a 15-year commitment to a new home. Nobody wants to their children to go to a low-performing school, but do you want your children in an actively diverse learning environment or would you prefer a school that is smaller and more nurturing?”
The list of questions she asks are extensive and as they should be, because as she mentioned, most families will spend most of their saving and a least a decade of their lives in their next home.
For most of her working life, Alison had her residential real estate license. “I always kept it current. I knew that the industry needed a change and after all my international business experience, I could see how the real estate industry was failing. It was an unsophisticated industry where anyone can get a license without any experience. So, no one was focusing on servicing clients—it was always about just selling the house. I understood that it was not about the houses but about the humans. And, when I was at Columbia, my husband and I were expecting our first child and I knew there had to be a better way—so I created it! Suburban Jungle was created out of a need I had.” Suburban Jungle took off in 2008 and now her company is in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, Boca, and Boston!
Just like the millionaire matchmaker, she’s making big deals—but instead of love relationships, her specialty is hooking you up with a suburban town that you will adore. “My focus has always been on moving families out of metro cities and into the suburbs. “When living in a city, you have a certain lifestyle that you don’t want to give up—that’s why so many endure small apartments, so they can enjoy their city’s restaurants and arts culture.” Alison explains.
I fell in love with Alison, not only because she is a rock star businesswoman and a mother of four…yes that is right FOUR CHILDREN, she is passionate about employing mothers. “I have 30 employees at Suburban Jungle and another 250 contract employees. I am passionate about giving moms jobs. I’m not about office or face time, so if you have a ballet recital—go and enjoy your children! I don’t care if your report is done at 2 pm or 2 am—as long as it get done.”
Alison has created a new paradigm of success as well. She has made it clear that success can be simple. But you have to know the rules and follow through with your commitments.
- Know your market. Is there a need?
- Can you make money from this? Cash in – cash back. Understand how much time you are taking and how much profit you are making. Cash is king.
- Do one thing and do it very well. You can’t be all things to all people. Focus is key to success.
Alison is so passionate about business that she has taken the money she has made with Suburban Jungle and started MILF Capital. Yes that is correct: Mother’s I’d Like to Finance.
“I created the firm to develop and access the great opportunities that highly educated, intelligent women have, yet they are busy doing the "mom" thing. We serve a unique market: Women who have real life experience, incredible academic achievements, and great concepts in order to create unbelievable businesses YET lack the resources, capital, networks and up to date technology to fully capitalize on their ideas and concepts.” Says Alison.
When Alison is not caring for her children, hosting Suburb Stroller Tours, finding her clients the perfect house, or financing moms through MILF Capital, she enjoys skiing, playing tennis and boating.
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