Susanne Forbes Dicker, THE HAT LADY, and Katana Abbott

To me, branding is how you show up in the world – how others remember or describe you. It’s both your personal brand and your business brand.

The secret is to be purposeful about your branding. My friend, Susanne Forbes Dicker, has done just this. Susanne is known as THE HAT LADY. She is a real estate agent from Dallas who moved to Michigan. Every time I see Susanne, she’s wearing a hat. She literally has hundreds of hats, and each one is coordinated with a specific outfit. It’s her brand.

A few years ago, we traveled up north to Bay Harbor for a weekend event, and each day, Susanne wore a beautiful outfit with a matching hat. In fact, she even wore a hat in the car during our four-hour ride to the resort. Her branding is smart, classy, and consistent – a reflection of who she is.

During our four-hour drive up north, I had a chance to ask her about being THE HAT LADY and how this branding has helped her with her business. This is what she shared with me…

“I have known the value of branding ever since I worked at Neiman Marcus between 1965 to 1969, and I saw how valuable a moniker it was to do statement dressing and to have a HAT LADY “tag.” It has served me well with marketing myself and my real estate business. My tag line was “I wear many hats to serve your real estate needs.”

I love that. It’s so simple, yet it sticks.

Susanne continues to explain,

People would always say that they were working with the HAT LADY in buying or selling their homes. In fact, I was riding a camel in Israel, and a couple came over to me and asked if I was THE HAT LADY from Dallas, Texas. Even now, I don’t know how to dress without a hat.”

Now that is a powerful, yet simple branding idea. It would never work if she wore a hat once in a while or just on occasion. Susanne owns this brand, and it has served her well.

Now it’s your turn. What’s your personal brand? If you’re in business, what is your business brand? Think about this for a moment. I have several brands:

  • Smart Women’s Empowerment – Live with Purpose, Passion and Prosperity!
  • Midlife Millionaire® – Live your Purpose Brilliantly!

Not only is living with purpose, passion, and prosperity my tagline, but these ideals are how I live my life every single day. When asked if my glass is half full or half empty, I always say my glass is overflowing. This attitude has helped me stay positive even through my darkest hours – it’s what makes me tick and is the reason I get up every morning.

Personal Branding Coach, Jill Jordan, always said, “If you don’t brand yourself, someone else will, and you may not like what you end up with.” Jill also coined the phrase, “Get ahead by getting known,” which is our theme this month. So my suggestion is to spend some time thinking about your branding. Be purposeful. If you aren’t sure, get some help. 

Here are some things to ponder:

  • How are you showing up in the world?
  • Ask others what they think your brand is.
  • Notice when someone introduces you – what do they say about you?
  • And how is your brand serving … or not serving you?

Katana Abbott

Katana Abbott, CFP®, is a Midlife Millionaire® Coach, founder of the Smart Women Companies, and the host Smart Women Talk Radio with over a million subscribers.  For over 30 years, Katana has shown women how to take charge of their life and finances and believes it’s never too early to plan for expected and unexpected events like retirement, encore careers, moving abroad, or preparing for long-term care.  She has written several books, created a financial literacy course, and is a popular speaker. Katana has been honored by NAWBO as one of Detroit’s Top 10 Business Women, receiving the Breakthrough Award. To download her new retirement guide, Three Smart Strategies for a Midlife Millionaire® Lifestyle. visit