In what part of town do you live?
We live in High Pines, since no one knows where that is, we always say we live near Whip’n Dip.
How long have you lived in the area?
We’ve lived in High Pines for three years. Before that, we lived in the Gables and Brickell for the first year that we lived together. Ben and I are both Miami natives. I grew up in a unincorporated Dade, which then basically became Pinecrest. I went to Palmetto, Ben went to Kilian and then we went away for college.
How did you guys meet?
We were friends in high school. Ben was actually a good friend of my high school boyfriend. In 2010, we ran into each other – the same week that I moved back here. And, here we are.
Would you share a little bit about what keeps you busy during the week?
I’m general counsel of the travel retail channel of L’Oreal, which is the world’s largest beauty company. I oversee regulatory matters, corporate governance, commercial contracting, brand protection and labor and employment matters.
What is travel retail?
Travel retail is basically all of the international distribution channels for products from airplanes to duty free stores, cruise ships, and ports. Basically any international place where you purchase would fall under the travel retail channel.
Are there any fundamental differences between the travel side of the business and traditional retail?
I think there’s quite a few. In travel retail, you’re dealing with international travelers.You need to be cognizant of what the laws are in the jurisdiction you’re in, but also where they’re coming from and how they would interpret your branding, your product, and your messaging. We’re also covering a much broader space. In the local markets, you’re dealing with one country. In travel retail, in our case, it’s the entire hemisphere. Issues from what happened to currency valuation in Argentina to how many passengers are coming from China to San Francisco and LAX are all implicating issues in our business.
Working in an international company with an international client base, could lead to a lot of interesting ‘lost in translation’ moments. Do any stand out?
Pretty much every day something funny happens, that is either something lost in translation or just miscommunication. L’Oreal is a French company. Our global headquarters are in Paris. In my office, we have dozens of different nationalities represented in a small space. Some of the things that my coworkers in the marketing and merchandising think of as ‘unbelievably innovative’ and ‘cool’ (as an American) I kind of shrug and say, ‘I don’t really get it.’ It’s really a difference of cultural backgrounds. I think Americans value practicality and value for their money and a lot of other countries that we are selling in care more about the aesthetic appeal and brand recognition. When you throw all of those different ideas together in the same place, you end up with a lot of interesting discussions.
What surprises about working in the beauty industry?
I don’t have a fashion or beauty background at all. My career started in mergers and acquisitions as a corporate attorney. As someone who has never been interested in fashion or the marketing piece of things, I’ve been most surprised at how much those things really do speak to me as a consumer and as a mother, of girls in particular. Realizing we’re really promoting a feeling about self esteem and being the best version of yourself. If you had asked me a year ago going into this space if I was doing something that was empowering women. I don’t know if I would have felt as strongly about it. I’ve been very impressed with the way that the brands are embracing multiculturalism in our marketing and our advertising and in the way products are being developed. It’s not a one size fits all model and I think that’s been really impressive to me.
Do you have a favorite product that your company makes?
I have a lot. Um, I think Keihl’s is overall my favorite brand. My bathroom is pretty full right now.
Is there really a closet of free samples that you give out to visitors?
When I first started at my job, the first thing every one of my friends asked me was, ‘in the Devil Wears Prada, where she goes into that room and takes whatever she wants- Is it like that at your company?’ The honest answer is – yes, kind of, which has been cool.
What’s the most fun part about your job?
I love the number of different nationalities that I deal with every day and the fact that I have absolutely no way to predict what my day is going to look like. If I come in thinking I’m going to deal with a regulatory issue, within 20 minutes, there’s a labor and employment issue that ends up taking my attention and then some marketing concern. It’s a dynamic and ever changing day. I never get bored.
How often do you come to the market?
We try to come every weekend. My girls just started Hebrew school on Sunday mornings, so that has thrown a wrench into our plans. My older one is named Adina, (Like Adena with and an I not an E). Her favorite thing to do every week is to come to the farmer’s market to get a Rainbow Smoothie. I think if Ben and I came to the farmer’s market without them, she would be pretty devastated.
What’s your ritual like when you come?
First thing we do is run over to you guys and say hi to Adena and get rainbow smoothies. I usually go to get granola and then if we are heading home right after the market, I’ll get salsa, guacamole and pickles. Then, get bread from Zak and Ben always wanders back with some kind of baked good and usually some kind of produce that looked interesting to him. We make our way through the market. And then we go to the playground. The girls run around for a while and then we head out.
What are your favorites from our stand?
I love the Smoothies and the Turmeric. Those are our go-tos. When you have the homemade Fruit Roll ups, they have been a huge hit around here, although dangerous because we eat it all in one sitting. Ben likes to take shots of the Turmeric Concentrate. I like to put it on salads. I just put it straight on. It’s so good.
What do you think would make the market better?
This time of year, it’s wonderful because it’s not so hot. I do think more seating would be great. On hot days, maybe some fans or a way to get rid of the smoke.
What is special about the farmer’s market?
I love that it is a community gathering spot of every slice of this area. Old people, young people, people with dogs, college kids, people with kids. It’s really a special place. Everyone feels so passionately about the vendors they go to and the stands that they consider part of their ritual. I love the fact that it just brings the whole community together.
What’s do you all enjoy doing as a family outside of the market?
We do a lot of walking around our neighborhood. Ben and I are in office buildings all day. So any opportunity to be together with our girls and be outdoors is our go-to. In the evenings and weekends, we do a lot of walking to restaurants in the neighborhood. We go to Sports Grill a lot. Mia Italia is down the street. In the mornings, we’ll walk to Deli Lane. Before I moved back to Miami, I was living in New York. I think this area is about as close as you can get in Miami to feeling that energy and be able to just pop in somewhere.
And doing day trips, whether it’s doing a stay-cation or one of my favorite things to do is to drive down to the Keys early in the morning, go down to Robbie’s and from there go out on a boat, go snorkeling or just kind of enjoy being out on the water together.
What are your regular restaurants?
If we’re doing take out or bringing home food, I love Havana Harry’s and Flanagan’s. I’m a pescatarian, so we eat a lot of Mediterranean food. When we go out to eat, Mandolin is one of my favorites. If we’re going a little nicer, we’ll go to some Michael Schwartz places.
What’s Miami’s best kept secret?
Matheson Hammock is still a secret to some people. The idea that you have the water so close and that you can have a beach or a nature experience and yet you’re two minutes from your house is pretty incredible.
What’s a splurge for you?
Experiences and travel. And one which I guess is a little less conventional is good sun protection. Its hard to come by, but definitely worthy of a splurge.
Do you have a recommendation for sun protection?
For little kids, I actually love Blue Lizard. (It’s not a L’Oreal product FYI, but, I think it’s a great product.).
What’s a fun rainy-day activity?
We do a lot of art projects. Between painting and various papers and mixed media type stuff, we do a lot of art around here.
Where’s the most romantic spot in Miami?
I love going out to dinner on a beautiful night on the water. There’s a bunch of places to do that. There’s Amara at Paraiso and he Ritz for brunch on Key Biscayne is a really great experience and ‘sort of’ kid friendly.
What community groups or philanthropic groups are important to you that you might like to share?
I’m very active in a bunch. I’m on a number of committees for United Way and that’s one organization that I strongly support. I’m on the board of trustees at Temple Judea and we spend a lot of time there. For the last decade, Ben and I have both volunteered with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Miami. I would say in general, I’m very passionate about women’s and children’s issues. So, I participate in a number of mentorship and professional organizations that are aimed at supporting women and children. And in particular, early childhood literacy is my big plug.
Is there a question you would like to ask us?
Do you have any recommendations for fruit trees in a somewhat limited outdoor space?
Bananas, papayas, dragon fruit and some passion fruit vines are all good for a small space. A carambola tree is also good for a smaller space. It’s all about making sure you get a really good variety to start with.
Is there are challenge or something you would like to ask the community?
We like to get up very early every day, but our day doesn’t really start until nine or ten, because that’s when everything is open. I guess one challenge for the community is for different sorts of activities or other things that are available earlier. That would be something that I would definitely enjoy.
What have I not asked you that’s important to you?
Ben and I both get interviewed quite a bit for professional things, but it’s very rare that you have the opportunity to speak about things that are both personal and professional. It’s a wonderful change. It’s fun talking with you and of course seeing you guys all the time and enjoying the ‘literal’ fruits of your labor. So, thank you.
One more question! We’ve been waiting all week to find out – especially Ben…Did you have a crush on him in high school?
That is Ben’s favorite question! Let’s just say, Ben would love to think that I did.