Lives In: New York, NY
About Me: I am most passionate about food, family, nature, travel, and how deeply intertwined all of them can be. Having grown up in a small, rural farm town, I couldn’t wait to move to the culturally diverse and opportunity rich city of Manhattan. Ten years later, after travelling to over 25 international cities, starting and leaving a career in fashion and e-commerce, marrying my entrepreneurial husband, attending culinary school and becoming the proud mother of beautiful baby Aesop, and starting Barley + Oats. I truly believe that our food choices can have a profound impact on our health as well as the sustainability of our natural environment. When I began the Natural Gourmet Institute for my chef’s training, I knew that I wanted to be in the health-supportive food space and to start something entrepreneurial that helped inspire people to eat for their health and to consume more plant-based foods. When I became pregnant, I began to think about and research pregnancy and postpartum nutrition. What I found was a wealth of traditional knowledge from all different parts of the world. In many other cultures, women have been following special diets in the postpartum for thousands of years. These diets helped them to convalesce faster, re-balance their hormones in the postpartum, produce breast milk in greater quality and quantity, and maintain even energy at a time of sleep deprivation as well as a stable mood. Their cultures and communities embraced that the postpartum period was a special time for a woman and her child, a time for nourishing the body and the soul. In New York, and the US in general, we don’t exactly have that collective view of the period that follows childbirth. The collective community isn’t exactly there to support us as new moms and certainly isn’t there to cook us traditional recipes from healthful, whole foods. In addition, most of us don’t even know that our diet can impact the way we feel in the postpartum or that it can have any effect on our milk supply or our child’s behavior and development. And if we do know or believe that to be true, we certainly don’t have the time, energy or desire to prepare those healthy foods when we are nursing newborns and barely able to walk without cringing. I knew that I wanted to change that. I wanted to help new moms feel nourished, loved, pampered and healthy in those magical and challenging weeks post birth. I began talking to other moms, conducting market research and sending out surveys and the results were a resounding “yes”. Other women (specifically mothers) wanted that too. And so Barley + Oats was conceived and launched just a few months after Aesop.
Hire Me For/I'm Good At: Health-supportive cooking and menu planning, e-commerce operations, merchandising + planning.
Interested In: I am very interested in collaboration and mentorship. I would love to cross-collaborate with related brands in different areas of the mother/child space as well as other food brands and entrepreneurs. Should the right person come along with passion and experience that could help grow and evolve the brand, I would even be open to partnership.
Mama Likes: Well of course, food. One of my favorite things to do is try new restaurants and cuisine or to just share a delicious meal at home with friends and a great bottle (or two) of wine. I love walking the farmer’s market at Union Square or discovering and trying out new ingredients. On rainy days, you’ll find me inside baking some cookies or making a nice soup, comfy in some lounge clothes and settling down to a good movie or art project. This is something I look forward to sharing with my son some day. Hand-in-hand with food, of course, comes travel. I absolutely love to visit and explore new places and get lost in new cities. My husband and I try to tackle at least one new country per year and also look forward to sharing this with Aesop someday soon.
Ivanka Trump is certainly one mama who is an inspiration to me. I followed her company a bit when I was working in fashion, and I love the environment she has created for her employees. She has created a company that really values personal wellness, family and work-life balance. Her employees are able to live the brand, which in turn, makes the brand more legitimate to its customers. Her #womenwhowork campaign is just another dimension of her clear commitment to empowering the women around her and spreading the message that we are more than just a single job title.
Michelle Muller, founder of Petit Organics and co-founder of Little Spoon, an organic, fresh baby food company is also a huge inspiration to me both as a friend and a business advisor. She has managed to grow an amazing health-supportive food business from a small NYC boutique baby food service to what is now becoming a nationwide, grocery chain name. As a single mom with three little boys in NYC, she is superwoman.
A third mama who inspires me is Alisa Vitti. Author of WomanCode, founder of Flo Living, and also a friend and advisor, she helps young women re-balance their hormones and cycles so that they can be healthy, happy and fertile. She herself was told she wouldn’t be able to have children back in college and dedicated her career to learning how to fix the imbalances at hand in a natural way. She now has a beautiful, naturally conceived baby girl and is helping other women to heal themselves and gain that same possibility.
Brands that most reflect your style or that you’d want to work with: I love brands that embody health, wellness, sustainability, practicality and a commitment to quality. In terms of fashion, I really love what Eileen Fisher stands for and the timeless comfort and quality of their pieces. When it comes to reflecting my style most, Anthropologie would be the winner. From their clothing to their accessories and home goods, I am never disappointed by their expertly curated collection.
Brands or companies I would love to work with: From a food perspective, I would love to partner with Whole Foods or smaller, online family food destinations like Abe’s Market or Thrive. Even another meal delivery/ingredient service such as Sakara, Munchery or Plated could be fun to collaborate with on a special menu.
There are many great family, pregnancy and baby brands like Milkbarn, Estela, Grovia, Honest Company, Monica + Andy and Hatch to name a few, that could be great for creative collaboration. Outside of retail, new mom destinations like yoga studios, family centers and events, hospital maternity wards, pediatrician offices, nutritionists, doula and lactation consultants, and food media would all be wonderful to work with. It would also be great to collaborate with related charities + non-profits in the city, such as Baby Buggy, to bring more healthy food to struggling moms in the area.
Words you live by/quotes you love: As trite as it sounds, “just do it” is something I tell myself whenever I feel overwhelmed by a laundry list of things to tackle. When I get out of my head and start to do things versus think about them, I am able achieve so much more. It can be quite empowering to see just what we’re capable of when we start taking action.
The other thing I repeat to myself daily is “live love.” In everything that I do and every interaction I have, I try to do it from a place of love. If it ever becomes too hard to do this, it is a red flag that some changes and adjustments need to be made.
Best advice you’ve ever been given: “Choose it.” I was once told to take everything that comes to you in life as if you’ve chosen it. Doing so empowers you to then change it.
Best advice you’d give to someone starting out: Dedicate a little time for yourself each day to do something just for you and nobody else...watch your favorite show, sit down with some ice cream or wine, turn off your devices and just breath. You need that little act of self-care to stay focused and not burn out too quickly.
What are three things people would be surprised to know about you? 1) I used to sing competitively. 2) I love sci-fi. 3) I am extremely messy.
Where can we find you?