What part of town do you live in?
How long have you lived in the area?
Where are you originally from?
Miami born and raised. I grew up in Kendall just West of the Falls.
Would you tell us a little bit about your family?
I’m one of three siblings – and the youngest by eight years. We all live in South Florida, which is nice. And, my parents now live in Weston.
Please share about what you do for a livelihood or what keeps you busy during the week?
My wife, Nicole, and I have a distribution company that concentrates on design driven kids toys, primarily from Europe. The first and most popular brand we distribute is a natural rubber baby toy brand from Spain called Oli & Carol. My background is in fashion sales and Nicole was a stylist who then started working in the baby industry (once we started a family). After we had our middle child, we were looking for a natural rubber teether and Nicole came across Oli & Carol on Instagram. We loved the design and the fact that is was safe and non-toxic. So we contacted them and asked where we could buy their products in the US and they said, ‘ we just started six months ago and don’t have any distribution in the US.’ Three months later, we had an exclusive distribution agreement. And now five years later we’re in close to a thousand locations in the US and Canada.
I also manage sales, in Florida and Alabama, for a Vancouver based global accessories brand called Hershel Supply Company. I’ve been with them about seven years. They started as a fashionable, accessibly priced and well-made alternative to the typical Jansport backpack. Now, they are a full lifestyle brand, from backpacks to headwear, apparel, wallets, and travel.
What’s your favorite part of the sales business?
The people. I get the opportunity to meet people at sales meetings and trade shows from all over the world. And it’s always fun to share meals and learn about different perspectives. Most of the people I’ve met are genuinely nice and fun to do business with. So even though I come to an office where there’s only a few of us, it still seems like we’re part of a larger industry and family that we’ve connected with.
Do you have examples where sales have influenced design?
Yes. At Oli & Carol our best selling styles are from the Fruit and Veggie collection. When we launched the assortment, we talked with some of our top retail partners on how best to display the teethers. Based on their feedback, we came up with a Farmer’s Market style basket (including, kale, avocados, broccoli, carrots and bananas). It’s now how we merchandise the collection at our trade shows – and many of our retailers do the same in their stores.
What is natural rubber?
Natural rubber comes from a Hevea tree. It’s kind of like a sap that is collected.
What advice would you give someone interested in building a brand?
Right now, more than ever, I’d say concentrate on direct to consumer. With social media being so prominent in our lives, you really have access to your consumer. And you know your message better than anyone.
How often do you come to the Pinecrest market?
We’re there every Sunday if we’re in town. I usually take our three kids and let Nicole have the morning. It’s kind of her morning to relax after a week with little ones. Our first stop is usually to get a rainbow smoothie. Then we go to Zak the baker and grab a croissant, banana bread and a cinnamon bun. Then we’ll try and burn off a lot of that on the playground and meet up with friends.
What’s your favorite thing to buy at LNB Grovestand?
We’ve gotten the tonics, but really – it’s the smoothie that we all love. It’s a great way for the kids to get their nutrients, while not really knowing that they’re getting them.
What do you think the market’s missing?
Live music and maybe a little bit more seating.
Do you have any favorite market stories?
We usually have a couple of families that we link up with. We’ll text beforehand to see who’s making it. When the weather was at its prime last month, it was really nice because we’d go over to the park and there’s probably 10 to 15 families that we know there, and all of our kids just run around together. And we get to just hang out for a little bit.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I like to coach my son’s baseball team. I’m assistant coach. We’re practicing on the same field where I used to play which is crazy to think about. The thing I miss most about baseball, is not playing the game, it’s the camaraderie. It’s hard to explain to a seven-year-old, but I just want him to have fun and make those friendships too.
What else do you like to do as a family?
We try and get a family bike ride in once a week – staying off the main roads and winding around the back streets of Pinecrest.
What’s Miami’s best kept secret?
I think so many people still don’t visit Fairchild Garden. It was one of my grandparent’s favorite places. My grandfather’s ashes are actually spread out there.
Where do you all like to go out for food? What do you like to get you recommend?
With kids we cook a lot. Sage has been a place that we frequent – either their special of the day or their veggie burgers are good. It’s kind of a no-frills place, but the food kind of speaks for itself. Also, Daily Bread is a go-to for us.
Where do you go for a special occasion?
Usually we’ll try something in Wynwood or the Beach. We’ve gone to Wynwood Yard on Reggae Sundays with the kids. (But, I’m not sure how much longer they are going to be open).
What’s a worthy splurge for you?
What’s a good rainy day activity?
A Netflix movie.
Where’s the most romantic spot around?
The Keys. They’re underrepresented.
Would you share a pitch about yourself or company with the community?
Sure, Oli & Carol teether and bath toys are made from 100% natural rubber and completely safe and non-toxic – PVC, BPA, Phthalate and Nitrosamine Free. Their designs have no holes, preventing moisture and the presence of bacteria and mold from forming. No Holes = No Mold. You can visit us online at www.oliandcarol.us
(A+W) If any of our LNB readers would like to order one of their products, Danny has offered us a 20% off code through April 30th. Use (LNB20) at checkout.
Is there a question you would like to ask us?
Do you guys do any tours or, or visits to the farm?
(A+W) Yes. We do them individually, but not often enough. With eight properties and lots to do, we are rarely in one place long enough.
Do you have any questions, advice, or challenges for our community?
The farmer’s market is a functional place for us to purchase produce and good food, but it’s also a meeting place for people. I think that it is the one place that I’ve really been able to nurture my community relationships. Where else is there to bring people together?