We had the good fortune of connecting with Daniela & Gabriela Apeloig and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Daniela & Gabriela, we’d love to hear about your parent’s parenting philosophy and the role it played in your development.
Our parents played a large role in all aspects of who we are today, from how we are as entrepreneurs and business owners as well as how we are as mothers. Growing up in the Jewish community of Caracas, Venezuela, our parents had a parenting style that was influenced by the Latin American environment and culture. Tradition, family bond and a sense of community were all prioritized in our household. Learning this throughout our upbringing is what led us to care for and support our community. Our parents as a couple always exemplified a blend of analytical and creative. Our father is academic, hard working and very dedicated to his career. Our mother is artistic, creative and more of a free spirit, who spent most of her time raising us, involved in our school life and volunteer work. Growing up alongside these two poles is what fostered in us a balance between work-life and maintaining a household, as well as the pursuit of a job where we could think both creatively and analytically. In terms of their parenting style and our family dynamic, we’d describe our household as having many norms in place, following these norms and maintaining a routine was very important. However, this didn’t translate into rigidity. Our parents were always balanced, open minded and flexible with us. They had high expectations, but knew that we were capable of achieving our goals, always motivating us to pursue our dreams regardless of what they were. While our parents had a vision of who we’d become, they never cut our wings. If we ever proposed a life plan that seemed unrealistic to them, they never said “no”, rather they trusted us and taught us to experiment, test and learn through trial and error. This openness and encouragement to explore is what ultimately led us to discover our true passion. Our parents encouraged us to broaden our horizons and provided us with the resources and exposure to thrive outside of the small bubble that we were born into. They opened up our eyes and taught us to appreciate the world and its many cultures through travel, art, history, learning languages, visiting museums and studying outside of Venezuela. This exposure expanded our view of the world and motivated us to achieve something bigger. Overall, we feel so blessed to have grown up the way we did. Our parents emphasized the importance of being well-educated, confident and firm in our beliefs, artistic and to dare to follow our dreams and passions.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Our biggest differentiating factor is definitely the contemporary design that we put into our products. We’ve always placed an emphasis on modernizing what is fundamentally a traditional piece. There are many incredible Judaica brands and designers that we admire and look up to, each with their own distinct features. However, our distinction is the modern twist that we incorporate into every piece. Judaica can be found in almost all observant Jewish homes, many of us have traditional representations of what those look like from mezuzahs, menorahs, challah boards, and pesach plates we’ve seen passed on over the generations. While we appreciate and value those, we aim to keep those traditions alive but with a different design and aesthetic that is more relevant to the market in today’s day and age. As with everything else, trends evolve and we want to reflect that in Judaica with the most cutting edge, revolutionary design. We accomplish this by innovating when it comes to prints, materials and design. Although we are very proud of what we’ve built, we cannot say it was easy to get there! The growth has been slow and steady, being that we work in a small industry with a very limited and niche market. The mezuzot we launched with, mentioned above, allowed us to realize that there was a market for modern Judaica pieces .We are constantly learning what appeals to our audience and what is in demand and are confident that we will continue to grow and please our customers with new products. Along the way we’ve had our fair share of obstacles, we’ve developed new products, some successful and others that have not been executed due to complications along the way. It is a very complex business where you need to keep in mind practicality, design and aesthetic, as well as adhering to rabbinical laws. As busy mothers managing the company from A-Z, controlling design, accounting, finances, production, inventory, shipping and more, time and resources are limited and due to these limitations we’ve grown at a slow, yet healthy pace. However, patience, setting realistic goals, and acceptance are lessons we’ve learned while running Apeloig Collection. As we said previously, production and design are very time consuming and meticulous with many factors to take into account, so we’ve also had to learn to follow our intuitions and not hold back from bringing new ideas to life in an effort to attain perfection. Lastly, what we’d like the world to know about Apeloig Collection is that you never have to compromise style and contemporary design in order to follow the past generations’ traditions (at least not while we’re around!)
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
After these last couple of weeks in quarantine making the most out of being home and/or taking advantage of what nature has to offer, our itinerary for a friend visiting Miami would definitely include delicious home-cooked meals by the pool, as well as outdoor walks and bike riding. Lately we’ve been enjoying nature and spending time outside with the kids. Whether that’s taking a walk by the beach, or a neighborhood bike ride, we’d definitely start our morning that way. If our visitor is looking for extra cardio, we’d even suggest biking Venetian Causeway from Downtown to Miami Beach. We’d later suggest a delicious brunch. If we opted for the neighborhood stroll, we’d make a usual brunch spread, and sit outside by the pool while we eat. If we bike rode Venetian Causeway, brunch at Malibu Farm is unskippable for a direct ocean view. We’d later suggest some sightseeing and shopping- whether that’s Wynwood, Design District, or Miami Beach. Each of these neighborhoods has its own personality and is worth checking out. If you’re in Wynwood, take some photos at the legendary graffitied walls and grab a bite at Kyu or for something more casual, Zak the Baker. While in Design District stroll the streets, window shop and notice all of the stores’ incredible architecture. Don’t miss out on a delicious meal plus sangria at Mandolin Aegean Bistro to feel like you’re in Mykonos. You can also stop by the Perez Art Museum for an afternoon of culture and arts as well as a beautiful waterfront view. Lastly, if you’re in Miami Beach, our favorite is strolling around Purdy Avenue for a quiet, boutique shopping experience. If you’re more of a nature lover, we’d sign you up for a day at the beach, boating or even kayaking at Oleta Park. In terms of nightlife, we tend to go for the dinner and drinks plan. We would definitely take our friends to our favorite spot, Makoto at Bal Harbour shops. For something more upscale, you can’t miss Osaka. Of course, if the visitor is in town on a Friday night we will be hosting a typical family Shabbat adorned by Apeloig Collection pieces. If you haven’t noticed we love exploring and taking advantage of everything Miami has to offer. Despite all of these landmarks our city has to offer, we wouldn’t miss out on hosting our visitors at home because there’s truly nothing we love more than an at home gathering in good company.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We like to believe that where we are today is the result of everyone we’ve met and all the experiences we’ve lived along the way. However, there are certain factors that we do recognize contributed enormously to our success. Originally the idea of Apeloig Collection was born out of a business plan that Daniela worked on in her last year at NYU. That being said, we give credit to all academic institutions for providing us with the knowledge, skills, resources and experience to bring our ideas to practice. We also cannot forgo the impact that our local community had on the birth of Apeloig Collection. Today we are recognized by various Jewish communities in different regions, but at the beginning it was our contacts in South Florida that gave us the courage to take off and grow our business. When we first launched, it was almost like a soft launch in Aventura where we only sold mezuzah cases to validate that there was a market for our products. It was such a hit with such an evident power in word-of-mouth and referrals that we knew this product could serve many. Despite our current standing, selling Judaica products to people all over the globe, we do acknowledge the impact of our community in making this possible.
Alfredo Gugig Moris Moreno