We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Wilson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melissa, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Work life balance is an area that has evolved over time at different stages in my life. I have worked since I was very young, putting myself through college while working full time. I knew no other way and always had a determination to succeed. I worked hard to build a career in advertising and as my career advanced I had to learn to balance my time. While I had a thriving career I always had a love for entertaining, curating gifts and a grand love of cheese. I am also a self proclaimed grazer. I love to graze . Give me a little bit of everything but never give me a plate of one thing. I have dabbled in all of these things in any way I could weather it was planning a birthday, buying a friend a gift, ordering too many things on a menu and even when I traveled. I have been very fortunate to have traveled to many places around the world and those experiences further deepened my love for curating and exploring tastes from so many cultures. It wasn’t until I was married and had our twins that I realized I needed to reset and refocus that work life balance. I used to spend a lot time with clients and coworkers however when the twins were born I had to learn how to better manage both. The twins really helped me grow my love for planning and curating and looking deeper into those passions. After several years of balancing my career and my family I was burned out. I loved advertising. I knew at a young age that was what I wanted to do but I realized I was at a point where I wanted more. From advertising I moved into philanthropy, event planning and ended up diving deeper into that love of cheese.. As I look back on the path I have taken I feel very lucky to be where I am today. I am building a successful business that continues to grow from a passion and something that has been very much self taught. I have immersed myself into the world of cheese and this huge cheese community. Board Oh! has also afforded me the opportunity to better organize my time ensuring that I am giving both my business and family the time they each deserve. If you had asked me 5 years ago would you choose to be working on a new client pitch or helping others celebrate special moments with something I curated and designed I would not have known how to answer because I would have wanted both. Today I am very grateful that I don’t have to choose. I am beyond blessed and thankful for my husband, my family, my friends and the clients who have supported me and helped me to get where I am today. I hope that as my kids grow up alongside Board Oh! they build their own dreams and see that they too can can make those dreams come true while still having a thriving life.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I feel like I have always been an artist of sorts. From a young age I loved to color, I loved to draw, paint and I think that is what drew me to the world of advertising and now to the world of curating and designing. I have always been drawn to details. My career in advertising taught me a lot that has helped me build Board Oh! both professionally and from a marketing perspective. I am most excited to see Board Oh! developing into a brand. I feel it is important to set yourself apart from others in both your products, your design and your brand. What makes me different? What makes me unique? How can I be better for my clients and the market I serve? Those are the questions I ask myself and continue to answer daily as I am building the Board Oh! brand. It has not been easy but what business plan is right? I feel that through Board Oh! I am providing my customers the highest quality, unique designs and a brand that can be recognized. I want to be sure to always curate the best for my clients and for this reason I want to be sure to control the quality myself. I am learning and educating myself daily. I want to be a trusted and recognizable brand in the world of cheese, charcuterie and grazing.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have lived in Miami my entire life and what I love most about this city is the melting pot of cultures and the diversity the city has to offer. From art to restaurants to pockets of very unique neighborhoods we have something for everyone. For someone who has never been to Miami I would say we start the day with a cafecito and a croqueta at one of the many local ventanitas in the city. Miami is famous for its ventanitas and if you have not been to one you have not been to Miami. I would then suggest brunch in Wynwood at Morgans. A family owned restaurant named after one of their daughters they have amazing French toast and waffles. Wynwood is known for its colorful murals and there are so many to see that the best way to walk off that brunch is to explore the streets of Wynwood by foot. We could always pop in to one of the many funky museums or stores such as the Museum of Graffiti which celebrates the pioneers of this edgy art form. From here I would head over to Coconut Grove. The Grove is one of my favorite places. I have been visiting this area since I was a young kid and I lived there for a few years. We can pop into Mr.C Bellini rooftop restaurant for a midday drink at their beautiful bar. Mr.Cs with its rooftop location offers beautiful views of the bay and the Coconut Grove area. Got room for lunch? Let’s head over to Coral Gables for a fresh squeezed Salty Dog and amazing sushi at Hillstones. I love sitting at the bar its a great lively atmosphere and a great setting for people watching. If your into shopping Brickell City Center Offers a variety of luxury and premium brand stores and we can stop there on our way to the next destination. I would end the night with dinner on Miami Beach at Joe’s Stone Crabs. Joe’s is a Miami Beach staple since 1913 and has the best stone crabs in the country in my option. I must also admit their key lime pie is the best I have evert tasted so don’t skip dessert.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband has been my biggest cheerleader. From the onset of launching Board Oh! he has been an integral piece of this cheese puzzle. Weather it’s early mornings, late nights, deliveries or even salami folding (he has given himself the title of chief salami folder, ha) he is always the first one in line. My kids although still young I see them watching in awe as I curate and design wanting to know more of how to build a board for themselves and they inspire me daily to be better. I also have an amazing group of friends who have truly been by my side from before I even knew where this road would lead. Without them I would not be here. They have pushed me , they have also folded salami, they have set up events and are always sharing the Board Oh! word. Most importantly they have believed in me when I needed that extra boost, when I was unsure how I would make it through the next event or holiday. They have never let me down and instead have gone out of their way to lift me up. Last I want to be sure to give a shoutout to the people I have met along the way, strangers, chance encounters, past coworkers. I truly believe that so many have played a role in who I am today. I may not have known it at the time or in those moments but I am a big believer in purpose, serendipity and I have faith that God put each one of them in my path to teach me something and for those people and those moments I am forever grateful.
Photos of myself only by @darcygrafphoto All other photos taken by me.