The NY NOW Awards provide an important opportunity for our community to recognize brands who have stood out for their innovation and design, their dedication to designing sustainable products, and those incredible emerging brands.
Best Product by Section
NY NOW’s Best Product Award celebrates products at to the market that push forward the ideas of innovation, authenticity, and sustainability.
Meet our judges
Co-CEO of RIOS
As Co-CEO RIOS, Jessamyn is responsible for the growth and financial vitality of the practice. She oversees the health of finance and business operations and the realization of strategic planning goals. After joining the firm in 2015 as our first CFO, she created infrastructure to catalyze sustainable and scalable growth among the studio’s many disciplines. She drives the creation of processes and procedures that direct and support overall firm operations. Jessamyn’s diverse background spans biotech to renewable energy to extreme sports, which strengthens the entrepreneurial drive behind RIOS. In addition to her role within the practice, she serves as CFO of notNeutral, our sister company focused on tabletop products. Her passion for design amplifies her talent for creating operational clarity to scaffold the bold, transdisciplinary design RIOS is known for. She received her Bachelor of Science from the University of California at Berkeley, and her Master of Business Administration from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.
Creative Director of Happiness at Foundry42+
Cooper Boone is the Creative Director of Happiness at Foundry42+. He is a published clinical psychologist, award-winning singer/songwriter, televised cook, event designer and published interior designer. His interiors and events have been placed in both print and television: Country Living Magazine, New York Magazine, New York Times, HGTV, Fine Living Network and Green Door Magazine. He has curated numerous events for Farmacy Beauty, VP&C Partners, JCPenney as well as multiple specialty events with chefs Heather Carlucci, Shawn Hubbell and Chopped champion Dafna Mizrahi. “My approach to design and merchandising is rooted in a simply stated warm elegance. I get inspired mostly from nature and old objects. My goal is to create accessible, spaces versus aspirational. Everyone deserves to live in an environment they love and represents who they are without paying a fortune.” In the retail realm, Cooper is known for his trend forecasting sense and his keen eye for detail.
Published stylist, decorator, and artist
Shelly Kennedy is a published stylist, decorator, and artist. Her designs have been seen on the pages of People Magazine, Country Living, InStyle, Better Homes & Garden, Coastal Living, Rachel Ashwell’s “Shabby Chic” as well as many other magazines and decor books. Her work has been seen on the set of television shows as ABC’s FRIENDS, Modern Family, and Extreme Home Makeover. And with a love for beautiful spaces and entertaining her homes & studios have been featured by This Old House, Design Sponge, Where Women Create, Where Women Cook, and Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion.
Shelly has worked in the gift industry for over 30 years. Early on as a giftware rep covering all of Chicago, a buyer and merchandiser for a chain of midwest gift shops, and later as a product designer and licensed artist for a few of the industry’s best giftware companies. For over 15 years she grew drooz studio inc., a children’s original art wholesale business – selling art and decorative accessories to stores, designers, mommies and Hollywood celebrities all over the world.
Her art currently is represented by Oopsy Daisy Fine Art for Kids/GreenBox art group.
Her latest endeavor is proprietress of DROOZ + Co.. Opened in 2016 a modern day general store located in her hometown of Skaneateles, New York in the beautiful Finger Lakes region. Offering a little something for everyone, she searches from her backyard to the ends of the world to find the most wonderful and unique goodies for women, men, teens, kids, baby and home.
Co-owner of a collection of small retail businesses in the Greater Tacoma, Washington
Jennifer Luna is co-owner of a collection of small retail businesses in the Greater Tacoma, Washington area with a heart for her community and helping customers celebrate all of life’s milestones. Her flagship store, Paper Luxe Stationery & Gifts, opened in 2014. Followed by The Curious Bear Toy & Book Shop in 2018 and The Crest Home in 2020. She’s currently opening a second Paper Luxe location, as well as a baby store, Little Luxe, in nearby Gig Harbor, WA in September 2021. 2022 will see the launch of her passion project, Kindship Cards. Jennifer is a previous 40 under 40 Gift & Stationery award winner and is currently on the Editorial Advisory Board of Stationery Trends Magazine. She is happily married with 3 children!
Owner of Red Boot Consulting and co-founder of Flourish & Thrive Academy
Robin Kramer is the owner of Red Boot Consulting and co-founder of Flourish & Thrive Academy. Robin has worked with leaders in the retail industry that have built their brands on innovative merchandising and strong service cultures. For 20 plus years, she has worked primarily with small, upscale brands and designers to bring their products to market, position these niche brands for maximum exposure to their target customers and build relationships with national and international retailers.
She is also a speaker and moderator as well as a panelist for various conferences, trade shows and podcasts. She has a passion for helping creatives go after their dreams. And for red boots!
Retail Store Owner, Entrepreneurial Influencer, FIT Professor, Sustainability Steward and Business Consultant.
Ann Cantrell is both an entrepreneur and an academic, owning a modern general store in Brooklyn, NY and also teaching full time as associate professor in the Fashion Business Management Department at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Before FIT & opening her shop, Ann worked in Product Development in the fashion industry for several years at Ralph Lauren, Talbots and Coach, and previous to that in Planning at Brooks Brothers. She opened her store in 2007 and a website soon followed the next year, and she’s been hustling ever since. Named “Best of New York” by New York Magazine, Ann and the shop have been profiled in countless national publications and television shows celebrating wins in the small business community. Most recently in Covid she scored air time on QVC and HSN to highlight her business, one of only 20 retailers selected from around the country to participate. She’s testified in front of Congress to advocate for issues important to the Small Business Community. This year her shop (Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store in Park Slope, Brooklyn) will celebrate its 14th anniversary.
Market Editor of Business of Home
Caroline Biggs is the Market Editor at Business of Home. A maximalist at heart, she believes that every object should have some sort of function in a home—even if it’s just to be beautiful and interesting.
Founding Editor in Chief of Stationery Trends
Founding Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning, design-focused trade quarterly Stationery Trends. I’m also editor of ThePaperNerd.com plus I podcast at The Paper Fold and The Paper Plane Cocktail Hour. Strong media and communication professional with extensive experience in digital and print publishing, great eye for detail and design & extremely skilled in writing, editing as well as Mac, Journalism, Web Design, Art Direction and Page Layout.
Sustainable Design Award
The NY NOW Sustainable Design Award highlights and upholds brands and makers who have embedded sustainability, environmentally-friendly production processes and socially responsible or philanthropic models into their business practice. For the longevity of our planet, these practices are vital. See application criteria below:
- “Green” Products: products that are manufactured or constructed with only recycled, recyclable and/or sustainable materials.
- Environmentally friendly Production Processes: manufacturers who are using renewable or alternative sources of energy in production, including wind, sun, alternative fuels and preserving clean water.
- Socially responsible and philanthropic business practices: products produced by indigenous peoples, creating viable, sustainable trades and markets in poverty-stricken and needy communities worldwide; and manufacturers who donate percentages of their sales to not-for-profit organizations.
Meet our judges
Chief Design Officer of Outer
Terry Lin is the Chief Design Officer of Outer, a forward-thinking, community-driven brand redefining outdoor furniture through comfortable, durable, innovative and eco-friendly products. Along with his co-founder, Terry launched Outer in 2019 as a way to redefine the approach to outdoor furniture – both the shopping experience and product offering itself through eco-friendly practices and materials paired with the ability to make both beautiful and durable furniture. Terry’s vision for Outer is to promote conscious design for a better world through carefully crafted, sustainably-minded pieces, while also building a sense of community through Neighborhood Showrooms, a new type of retail experience that brings the showroom home; Neighborhood Showroom allows potential consumers to experience the Outer Sofa in-person at a real customer’s backyard prior to purchasing. Prior to launching Outer, Terry’s experience encompasses the full spectrum of retail and product development. From his work on design strategy at IDEO, to the development of hundreds of successful furniture designs at Pottery Barn along with imagining new customer experiences through the management of eCommerce categories at Walmart, Terry’s collective experience across the different categories of retail coupled with his experience in design and product development gives him a unique perspective on all fronts of the retail industry. Terry holds a B.F.A in Industrial Design from the Rhode Island School of Design and currently lives with his family in San Francisco.
Founder and Creative Director of Monica Diaz Mode
Monica Diaz is the founder and creative director of Monica Diaz Mode a fashion consulting and trend creative service company, whose strategic vision focuses on creating and curating an au courant image and presentations for her clients. A highly experienced expert with over 20 years of career history. With a focus on personal styling, sustainable fashion, product development, textile styling, and trend forecasting. Monica has been a featured guest and fashion correspondent for MFBW, NYFNO, Univision, Fox News Latino, and Ehow. She has also partnered and led projects for Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Marc Jacobs, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, JCrew, Lancome. Bergdorf Goodman, the St Regis Hotel, and several Fortune 500 companies. Monica has shared her knowledge as an adjunct professor for LIM College and The Art Institutes. An alumni of the Fashion Institute of Technology, she also has received additional certifications in Image Consulting and Sustainable Fashion from The London Image Institute, London College of Fashion and Copenhagen Business School.
As a personal style coach she helps her clients discover how creating the right image can ignite invaluable changes in their self confidence, career and relationships. Her philosophy centers on helping people translate what inspires them into the sustainable wardrobe of their dreams.
Monica is an advocate for causes she cares deeply about such as Fashion Fights Cancer, NY Cares, and has served on the committee for St Jude Children’s Hospital Gala Por La Vida events.
She is currently working on trend directional projects for her individual and boutique firm clientele. Monica is also writing the 2nd edition of her book 7 Days to Style due out in mid 2021.She is currently working on trend directional projects for her individual and boutique firm clientele. Monica is also writing the 2nd edition of her book 7 Days to Style due out in mid 2021.
Founder of Victoria Akkari Organic Culinary Argan Oil
Passionate about sustainability, food, and creativity lead to thefoundation of Victoria Akkari Organic Culinary Argan Oil, a small-batch luxury edible oil brand handcrafted through our women’scooperative in Morocco that provides local Berber womenemployment through fairtrade.
Victoria Akkari has evolved into a conduit for emerging talent.We specialize in artisans from North African and the MiddleEastern regions, focusing on modernization of ancienttechniques, sustainability, product collaborations, and enablingdesigners to become market-ready. We are excited to launch inthe fall of 2021 presenting fresh new talent in American andEuropean markets.
An alumna of the Fashion Institute of Technology, I have aBusiness Certificate from Columbia University, I also studiedproduct design at Parson’s School of Design and fashion designat Regent’s University London, and I believe that the worldwould be far less bright without the spirit of creativity.
Editor in Chief of Remodelista
Julie Carlson is the editor in chief and cofounder of Remodelista. She is based in Brooklyn Heights.
Headshot Details: Please be sure to credit photographer Matthew Williams
CEO of Shaw + Co. Productions
Ilene Shaw is CEO of Shaw + Co. Productions, and the founding producer of Design Pavilion, New York City’s premiere public design exhibition and cultural event, presenting a series of curated interactive installations and daily programs as centerpiece and public hub for NYCxDESIGN, and intended to increase awareness of the power of design. Shaw also produces Design Talks, offering inspiring topics by some of today’s most insightful design thinkers, held in conjunction with Design Pavilion.
Shaw began her career as a product designer-manufacturer in the home furnishings industry and through a natural progression, she eventually focused on the marketing of design, recognizing the need for effective new trade shows. She played a strong role of influence in the conception and co-development of the ICFF in its initial decade, and Accent on Design since its inception, now a division of NY NOW.
Shaw has devoted her career to the advocacy of good design, serving as executive director of IDSA’s Worldesign Foundation, promoting design-thinking pedagogy to grades K-12, which led to the co-founding of Operation Design, a 501c3 bringing hands-on creative programs into public school classrooms. She led the Sustainability: Design for a Better World initiative for NY NOW for a decade. Shaw serves on the Board of Trustees for DIFFA, Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, and is a member of the Events Committee representing the home design industry for Fashion Group International. Shaw sits on both the Steering Committee and Strategic Task Force for NYCxDESIGN, New York City’s official design festival and advocacy, since its inception.
As a presenter and judge, Shaw joined the inaugural season of CBS’ New York By Design television series in 2020, and will return for an expanded season in the spring of 2021.
Emerging Brands Award
The NY NOW Emerging Brand Award celebrates a new brand on the rise and champions a new generation of makers and creators who have recently launched innovative product/s that tell a compelling story across their platforms. This award honors the spirit of creativity and innovation in product, storytelling, and being of the moment.
Meet our judges
Executive Editor of Cool Hunting
Evan is a founder and the Executive Editor of COOL HUNTING—an 18 year old independent publication highlighting innovations in culture, design and technology for a global audience of creative professionals. The Webby Award‑winning business leverages their editorial access and insight, operating an original content studio, strategic consultancy, hosted travel service and product design studio.
Founder of Dims
Eugene Kim founded Dims. in 2018, a home furnishings brand that offers well-designed pieces at a remarkably attainable price, with the goal of transforming great design from aspirational to accessible. Prior to founding Dims., Eugene was VP of Product at a financial technology startup where he gained an appreciation for the power of storytelling and design in helping customers make better decisions. Eugene holds a B.A. in American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of Southern California. Expressing a genuine commitment to serving others, Eugene enjoys promoting the work of talented young designers and acting as a bridge between emerging design talent and a new generation of consumers searching for authenticity and meaning.
Home Director of Apartment Therapy
Danielle Blundell brings over a decade of experience in publishing and design to her role as Apartment Therapy’s Home Director. She’s a graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism and has appeared as an on-air home decor expert for popular shows like Today and The Doctors. Her strengths lie in trend forecasting, storytelling, and squeezing every square inch of storage space out of her small New York City apartment.
Brand & Content Marketing Manager at WGSN
Coming from a design and creative background, Nina has over 8 years’ experience in the market working with brand positioning, storytelling, visual identity, creative direction and communication, assisting brands looking to future-proof their businesses. Nina leads the brand and content marketing strategy at leading trend forecasters WGSN. A respected thought leader with international publications and speaker experience at events in industries ranging from fashion, beauty to food & drink and interiors. She previously worked for VICE Media and creative design and architecture studios in Brazil, where she helped shape brand strategies and execute award-winning projects in architecture, editorial and entertainment. Nina has a BA in Architecture and Urbanism from the University of São Paulo and a specialisation in Brand Innovation at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute.
Freelance journalist Kim Cook began her career as a marketing professional, living and working in Toronto, Tokyo and Chicago. Now based in NY, she covers design, decor and lifestyle stories for regional and global news outlets as well as professional design industry publications.
Co-Founder of Sight Unseen
Monica Khemsurov is an editor, curator, and entrepreneur living in New York City, and is the co-founder of Sight Unseen, an online magazine that uncovers what’s new and next in design and the visual arts. She spent four years as senior editor at the design magazine I.D., and is currently contributing design editor for T magazine in the New York Times. She also founded Tetra, an accessories brand offering beautifully designed smoking objects for aesthetically minded people.
Emerging Brand Mentors/Judges
Founder of the multi-award-winning Hedgehog Hollow blog and media production company
Alexandra is a British Wife crafting her US life, previously a banker and Engineer from England. Five years ago, she moved with her husband and two girls to Ohio and more recently to Florida.
Founder of the multi-award-winning Hedgehog Hollow blog and media production company she has gone on to find an award-winning subscription box and maker supplies company – Maker Forte.
Alexandra has a passion for innovation, collaboration, education, and community; her brands embody these values, and this has seen her go from strength to strength.
Alongside her companies Alexandra is a business consultant helping brands rediscover their passion and relaunching products to increase revenue up to 10X year on year.
Jewelry Buyer for the Baltimore Museum of Art
April Marie Gray is the Jewelry Buyer for the Baltimore Museum of Art. She has an eye to buy jewelry to reflect and support museum exhibitions while also curating her displays to showcase local and global jewelry.
Playing with material, texture, color and shape, April stays on trend while also expressing a creative and artistic approach to jewelry buying.
She is known for collaborating with jewelry designers on exclusive designs and enjoys taking risks and buying unique and one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry.
April was a speaker at the 2021 Jewelry Independent Spring Summit, where she shared her insight on being a jewelry buyer in the museum retail environment while working with contemporary and art jewelers. She offers advice and mentorship to up and coming designers to help make their brands successful.
Along with jewelry, April is also the Children’s Gift buyer for the BMA Shop.
April received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design.
Founder of Subooka.com
Barbara Morehouse founded Subooka.com, a brand that offers products that are handmade, clean, modern design and tell a story.
Prior to founding Subooka, Barbara has 40 years of experience in luxury global marketing, product development and retail store development in personal care (Estee Lauder/Origins), home furnishings (Waterworks) and fashion (Ralph Lauren Womenswear and Calvin Klein) retail (Bloomingdales) industries.
Lead Buyer and Director of Retail for Gus & Ruby Letterpress in historic, coastal New England.
Lead Buyer and Director of Retail for Gus & Ruby Letterpress in historic, coastal New England.
Byrdy Dilando is the Lead Buyer and Director of Retail for Gus & Ruby Letterpress, a custom design and print studio and trio of brick & mortar retail stores located in historic, coastal New England. During her eight years with Gus & Ruby, she has been instrumental in the opening both the second retail location in Portland, Maine in 2017 and the third in October 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts’ historic Beacon Hill neighborhood. Gus & Ruby’s first location in Portsmouth New Hampshire opened in 2009.
Byrdy has a BFA in Fashion Design from Massachusetts College of Art & Design and previously co-owned a Contemporary art gallery and boutique.
Founder of pucciManuli
Carrie Kohs is the founder of pucciManuli, a family concept store specializing in creating wonder through the act of giving. After spending more than a decade in the corporate world of marketing and advertising in NYC and beyond, Carrie found herself in Europe where she was reminded that the story always adds value. Never one to sit idly by, she seized an opportunity to help fill a void in the retail industry: celebrating the intersection of quality & craftsmanship by sharing the stories behind the products and their makers.
15 years later, Carrie continues to circle the globe in pursuit of remarkable stories, and to push the envelope: from her unconventional product mix and merchandising strategies rooted in discovery to her outside-the-box collaborations and redefining what the retail experience could – and should – be.
Owner of The Smith Jewelry & Living
Christina Catsavis is the owner of The Smith Jewelry & Living founded in 2019 which offers a carefully curated selection of items for the home, gifting, and fine jewelry. She has a true passion for customer service and has nurtured and grown her business by offering private appointments, gift wrap and free hand delivery. Christina attended the Gemological Institute of America and holds an A.J.P. certification. Her passion for design was ignited at an early age by going on house calls with her mother who was an interior designer in the 80’s & 90’s. Christina fell in love with jewelry design in 2012 and has been worked as a bench jeweler and designer prior to opening her own shop.
Owner & founder of The August Tree Co.
Christine Jeanjaquet is the owner and founder of The August Tree Co., which was established in 2013. The August Tree is a gift shop based in New York City and the official gift shop of the Queens Museum.
Christine is an entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in the spectrum of product design and development as an industrial designer, exporter / importer, and retailer. She has a BFA in Industrial Design from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, where she also served as a lecturer.
Aside from The August Tree, she is also currently working on Hecho Local, a product development mentorship program she spearheaded in collaboration with the Queens Museum. The program is geared to support immigrant communities who live in Queens, with participants being guided to build on their craft and develop a new product line for income.
Owner of Newton HQ
Coming from the world of production and manufacturing, Cindy Cortez has worked with many brands before opening her own store in 2019 in Astoria, Queens. Newtown HQ is the home of many households’ name brands like Tokidoki, Sonny Angel, & Udon but Cindy has also taken chances on small and local brands too. With Newtown HQ just turning 1 years old, it has been featured in Business Insider for providing her customers a new way to shop during the pandemic. Months after she opened her retail store, lockdown forced Cindy Cortez to find new ways to sell online. She now makes half her sales on the livestream shopping app Popshop Live. Cindy has also been an event’s organizer for Anime NYC, Funimation, Adult Swim and Sonicboombox. She is in tune with different demographics in many forms of media. From in-person to virtual experiences, Cindy Cortez has done it all in her 32 years.
Owner and buyer for Standing Rock Gallery
Deana Boyages is the current owner and buyer for Standing Rock Gallery, a fifty-year-old, artisan shop specializing in handmade glass, jewelry, pottery, sculpture, textiles, and wall art. She is a graduate of Bates College with a major in Political Science and a minor in Studio Art. Deana’s previous professional experience in finance, as well as her passion for creativity, has made owning and operating a gallery the culmination of many of her educational and professional talents. She is committed to advocating for small businesses and the critical component they play in our communities. “Main Street businesses are what make our towns bustle with activity and are often filled with friendly conversation and camaraderie. They bring life and foster relationships within our communities and without them, we would lose much more than just the economic value to our areas, but also the benefits of the personal relationships which help to sustain us all.”
President of Don Schacter + Associates
Don Schacter is President of Don Schacter + Associates which is a national rep company in Canada whose website is www.coolproducts4u.com. Don has lots of experience in the gift, housewares, and home décor industries as Sales Manager at Umbra, InterDesign & Precidio as well as President of Design Motivation. He also has owned a Kitchen Store in Canada and was Chairman of the Canadian Hardware & Houseware Association and as well as Past-President of the American Marketing Association, Toronto Chapter. Don’s background contains experience as Product Manager, Advertising Executive and founder of POD (Prisoners of Design) a Canadian network of graphic & industrial designers, photographers, and others. Don is a graduate of Ryerson in Toronto.
Senior Buyer and Product Consultant at What on Earth Catalog
Jackie has been a Gift Buyer for more than 10 years and previously worked in the apparel and fashion industry for more than 15 years, beginning a career in wholesale before entering the retail segment as a Buyer for UncommonGoods in 2011. During this period, the importance of small business advocacy and B-Corp practices, environmental awareness, and causes, and forging long term vendor partnerships was paired with exposure to thousands of established and emerging brands and products across dozens of gift categories, which facilitated immeasurable personal and professional growth in the Retail Gift segment.
Founding team member and the Head of Beauty & Pet
Peterson’s retail career started at luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue, where she was introduced to Indie Beauty, and then Violet Grey, where she developed a passion for brand education and incubation. She is now a founding team member and the Head of Beauty & Pets at Verishop, a social-commerce platform based in Los Angeles, CA.
Founder/Principal Scent & Strategy Olfactive Consultant/Buyer-at-Large,Tigerlily Perfumery
With over 20 years of experience on nearly every side of the fragrance industry, Lisa founded Scent&Strategy, a fragrance advisory firm. The company’s focus is strategic fragrance development including 100% natural fragrance and clean fragrance.
Since starting S&S, Lisa has worked with companies of all sizes, often with the challenge of optimizing, elevating, and growing a company’s scented portfolio prior to acquisition/sale. Lisa has been a guest writer and industry expert for consumer and trade media, and she can be seen talking with perfumers about her clients’ launches in YouTube and Instagram videos as she’s a passionate client advocate. Lisa is also passionate about a scented candle social enterprise she advises, Labyrinth Made Goods, which supports women who have experienced incarceration by professional training, apprenticeships, and permanent employment as a part of YWCA McClean County.
In addition to developing scents across all categories, Lisa is the Olfactive Consultant/Buyer-at-large for Tigerlily Perfumery, a San Francisco-based retailer of niche and indie scents. She is a merchant adventurer, finding and developing perfume talent from around the country.
Lisa’s fragrance collaborations have won countless industry awards.
CEO of Tori Reese
As CEO of Tori Reese, Marina has been able to use her vision of shopping and sense of community to achieve the success of her online boutique. Prior to being self-employed and opening her boutique, Marina received her bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University. And began her career in Finance at Digitals in NY and later worked at Dun & Bradstreet in Short Hills, NJ before embarking on this online world. She is constantly heading to markets – Apparel, Gift and Toy shows throughout the US to bring her customers the best and newest products. The boutique has been voted as Runner Up for Best Online Boutique in New Jersey.
Indie Beauty Formulator and Coach
Indie Beauty Formulator and Coach
Marla Bosworth started her career in retail as a teenager in the 1980s during a summer job as the gift shop store manager at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming – accessible only by tram at 10,450-foot elevation. Growing up in a mountain ski town rich in tourism was pivotal in launching Marla’s retail career. After graduating college on the East Coast, Marla spent a decade at Forrester Research in Boston in the ‘90s as a market research analyst. Later, Marla combined both her research and retail careers and opened two brick-and-mortar stores – one in the Boston area and another in Jackson Hole. She has more than 23 years of experience in indie beauty as a manufacturer, retailer, skincare formulator and coach. She specializes in empowering the artisan as well as forecasting trends and retail strategies for independent beauty brands. Marla leads business and skincare formulation workshops throughout the U.S.
CEO and co-founder of Sweetwater Labs
Nadia Doh is currently the CEO and co-founder of Sweetwater Labs, a fast-growing all-natural skincare brand. She has a diverse background, starting off her career in graphic design and marketing in upstate New York and then spent decades in finance in New York City, Sweetwater Labs home base. She co-founded Sweetwater Labs in 2017 with her husband Yoav after decades of searching for natural skin solutions for her sensitive skin and started the company after receiving amazing feedback on her initial formulations. She is a certified in yoga and meditation and has taught both at various charities and institutions around New York City and the company regularly donates a portion of their profits to charities that are closest to their hearts. Sweetwater Labs is a culmination of her creative, logistical, and entrepreneurial skill sets. Nadia and her husband’s mission is to continue building a line of products that materially improve people’s lives and positively impact their community and world at large.
Brand marketing and advertising photographer
Natalie is an in-demand brand marketing and advertising photographer who specializes in lifestyle and studio product photography. Her work with celebrities and brands over the last 20 years has given her a keen perspective on how to compose and light a product shot that tells a meaningful story.
Owner, Wholly Craft!
Olivera has been operating Wild Cat Gift & Party, an award-winning retail gift store, for over 15 years. During that time, she has worked with thousands of independent brands, connecting customers to products and stories to share with their loved ones. She is passionate about mentoring talented artisans and designers to build lasting brands. Olivera has been featured on the DIY network and in numerous publications and is a regular contributor to Columbus Parent Magazine. She has led hundreds of entrepreneurs in workshops on connecting with customers, developing pricing structures, nurturing retail relationships, and building balanced and sustainable businesses. Olivera is known for her fun and practical approach to centering human relationships in every aspect of business.
I am a designer. Making spaces and people look good, and function well, is my forte. I have owned an interior design business for over 30 years, many of those years running retail shops to show luscious things to entice buyers. Houses, apartments, yachts, boutique hotels, etc. all are canvases to be created and then enjoyed. My work has been described as “European chic” and my great love is the use of color.
Owner & Founder at HIGHBAR BOUTIQUE
After a successful career in Healthcare Administration, Jill Wargo, Owner & Founder at HIGHBAR BOUTIQUE decided to trade her scrubs for style! A natural talent for design, she created HIGHBAR BOUTIQUE with the well dressed woman in mind and filled the space with interesting designers, modern pieces and unmatched quality. Sophisticated women near and far, bored with chain store fast fashion, became loyal clients and quickly put HIGHBAR BOUTIQUE on the map!