Faces of AWNY: Hayley Whitfield

Hayley Whitfield is one of AWNY’s extraordinary event leads. Find out how she ended up in a billionaire’s apartment and what she misses most from Australia.

Tell us about yourself – why did you move to NYC?
I moved to New York in 2013 from sunny Sydney, with my husband Michael and 6 month old mini poodle Rosa. We came here just for the experience really—it was always a dream to live overseas in a fast-paced city. I’d travelled loads before, but always skipped America – so arriving on a warm August evening to the West Village was pretty cool. We’ve been here for four years, but took off around the world for 12 months in the middle. After traveling, I was like, right, we must go back to live in New York again, it’s the center of the universe.

I’m originally from Murchison, a Victorian riverside town with 630 people – you know, with all the usual suspects – a bridge, bakery, pub, cemetery and river.

How did you get into your job in NYC?
I launched a company Wolfpack NYC, producing luxury show-stopping dog coats with exaggerated faux-fur trims and accessories, for residents of this dog-crazed city.

What are the differences to working in Australia?
New Yorkers thrive on self-promotion and networking to connect and leverage relationships. As a typical Aussie who has grown-up believing that modesty is a great character trait, the reality in New York is that you just don’t get anything done unless you learn how to hustle and can articulate your personal brand and proposition to others, in like, an elevator pitch. I’ve had to learn to be comfortable articulating my strengths and intentions, without the shadow of worrying that I will be perceived as having a big head. In New York, it’s simply not a bad thing to talk openly about your successes and intentions, it’s a comfortably, open platform to identify ways to collaborate and help each other.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about living/working in NYC?
By this drop dead gorgeous male makeup artist at the MAC store in Union Square – it’s an incredible melting pot this city, but damn you gotta devote some serious time to self care when you live amongst the hustle and bustle.

What’s your ‘only in New York’ moment?
Hmmmm I went into this billionaire’s apartment on the Upper East Side, overlooking Central Park and showed my collection of Wolfpack leather dog coats for their selection. I was like, yep, for a solo start-up, that’s pretty cool.

When you need retail therapy, you run to…
All Saints, Meatpacking District

Favorite NYC brunch spot
Banter – Aussie café in the Village.

Favorite NYC cocktail spot & cocktail of choice
One Hotel Brooklyn Bridge Rooftop – absolutely phenomenal view of the Manhattan skyline, Brooklyn Bridge, Hudson River, historic Dumbo, and with beautifully styled décor. All cocktails.

What are your favorite ways to connect with Aussie culture in NYC?
Through the AWNY events and working on the committee – its full of Aussie slang to keep me grounded. And of course, every Aussie brunch spot.

Anything you miss about Australia?
BBQ Shapes, BBQ Shapes, BBQ Shapes

What do you like about being part of AWNY?
Feeling like I have a ‘home away from home’ Aussie family. We share the same relaxed, open values – it’s so easy to relate.

 

Faces of AWNY: Angela Tohl

Angela Tohl, originally from Adelaide, calls Brisbane home. She now resides in NYC with her beautiful family. Read on to find out her tips for thriving in NYC with kids!


Please start with some background about yourself
I came here 10 years ago in search of an adventure. Along the way, I unexpectedly met the love of my life, to whom I’m now married with two beautiful kids. So…mission well and truly accomplished.

Why did you move to NYC?
I was born in Adelaide, worked in Central Queensland and in Tokyo, Japan, prior to settling in Brisbane, which I consider to be my home in Australia.

A friend and I visited NYC for a holiday in 2005 and it felt as familiar as putting on an old pair of jeans. When I returned to Brisbane, I kept thinking “I wonder what it would be like to live and work in NYC?”. The E3 visa had recently been introduced in the US and I created a plan to secure a career opportunity over here.

Professionally, I’m a Project Manager specializing in business improvement, which I applied to Recruiting and Healthcare in NYC. My current role is as a mummy to two young sons, and my experience of managing relationships and being organized help me navigate our day-to-day adventures.

What’s your ‘only in New York’ moment?
In a Manhattan diner, I got chatting to a political scientist who serves at the United Nations. A few days later, I was sitting in on the UN General Assembly, courtesy of a visitor pass from my new acquaintance.

Where do you live, and why did you choose that area?
We moved from Murray Hill to Staten Island when my eldest son was an infant. He was already crawling by 4 months and we suspected he would benefit from more space. Our backyard is now the perfect sanctuary for two busy little boys, and I get to indulge my joy of gardening.

What do you like/dislike about your area?
I love the wide open spaces of Staten Island. We’re in walking distance to many parks and a short drive to the Greenbelt, where we often go hiking. The relaxed feel counters the frenetic pace of Manhattan. The downside is having to drive. I miss being able to walk everywhere.

What do you like/dislike about your neighbourhood (in general and for kids)?
There’s an abundance of activities for kids such as Wagner College STEM programs, the Staten Island Children’s Museum and Snug Harbour Botanical Gardens.

What’s a typical weekend for your family in NY?
Our weekends are a shambolic juggle of birthday parties and soccer for the kids, gym and going for a run for the parents. We regularly get a sitter for “date night” at local restaurants including Adobe Blues, Beans and Leaves Cafe, SIPS + MAKER.

What do you like most/least about having kids in NY?
I love the phenomenon of four seasons and the associated rituals. New Yorkers enthusiastically decorate their homes from Halloween to New Year. And snow… you really can’t beat snow as the ultimate fun activity for kids.

The City offers many free social services to kids, such as The New York Public Library story time and craft activities, NYC Early Intervention and NYC Parks Foundation Learn-to-Play programs.

I dislike the lack of mandated paid maternity leave, the mere 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA (for which only 50% of workplaces qualify), and the lack of work/life balance. I worked up until the two public holidays before giving birth, and developed pregnancy-related hypertension as a result. The US economy functions under a strong capitalist paradigm, but being a primary caregiver for the vulnerable (infant, seniors, sick and special needs individuals) is a relationship that most of us experience. To deny this aspect is to deny the human aspect of communities. Business success and recognizing the whole person are not mutually exclusive.

Funniest NY moment?
When I was 9 months’ pregnant with my second son, my husband badly injured his leg. At Trader Joe’s, I suggested he use the courtesy ride-on scooter. My then 4 year old eagerly jumped on Daddy’s lap to “help” drive. Despite a few near misses with other shoppers, I found the whole thing hilarious and thought I would spontaneously go into labor in the pasta aisle.

If any of your children were born in NY do you have any advice for going through pregnancy/birth over here?
Both my kids were born in NY. Australian women in NY often lack personal support, so I recommend seeking out practical support to suit your circumstances and preferences.

Birth can be very medicalized in the US. However, NYC also offers more natural options for pregnancy and birth. I found a birth doula invaluable for constant support throughout labor and delivery.

La Leche League meetings were fantastic for breastfeeding support. Baby-wearing saved my sanity and was the easiest way to get around Manhattan.

If you also have a job, how do you and your partner juggle work and kids?
I’m currently on career pause. When I resume paid work, I plan to target specific projects, incorporating a reduced schedule, so that I can excel in both employer and family commitments.

Any words of wisdom for people moving to NY with kids?
Be sure to attend to your own self-care as a parent. You are moving to (arguably) the most sophisticated city in the world with the inevitable scarcity mindset thrust upon you. However, your kids will still be happiest in the playground or with a cardboard box and with parents who are healthy and happy. Less is more. Keep it simple.

What do you like about being part of AWNY?
It’s so inspiring to contribute my skills within such a motivated and intelligent group of women.  The diversity of individual talent is phenomenal, and the power of collaboration is evident in the high calibre of support that AWNY provides to the Australian community within NYC.

 

What’s On in New York, July 2017

We do hope your July 4th weekend is packing a punch so far. With some luck you’ve got today off work to make it an extra long weekend, and you’ve packed up the framily (friends+family=framily) and headed beach-side, lake-side, mountain-side or city-side with a drink in one hand and a sarnie in the other.

There is something unique about long weekends in New York, probably because we get relatively few of them. And when you’ve got a quiet moment, have a squizz at AWNY’s pick of events for July in New York, this weekend and beyond.

Enjoy! – The AWNY Communications Team

Strong stomach? Then Nathan’s 2017 Hotdog Eating Contest is on July 4th at Coney Island (at Nathan’s flagship store). It runs from 10am-2pm. Last year’s winner gulped 70 hotdogs in 10 minutes. Gross, but quite something to see. Plus, one of our own AWNY Committee Members, Tanya McCaw is on the judging panel!

If you’re anywhere near the east river on the night of the 4th, then don’t miss the Macy’s Day fireworks, scheduled to kick off about 9.20PM. They will be set off along the East River, with the best viewing points between Midtown and the South Street Seaport district. As always, get there early to grab a good spot.

The annual AAA Westpac Summer Cruise is on July 20th and tickets are on sale now for this fun event. Cruise the East and Hudson Rivers, sip cocktails, nibble fare from The Australian Hotel. Purchase your tickets and get all event info here.

AWNY’s July event is ‘Greekalicious,’ an intimate book talk with award winning chef and author Maria Bernardis. Ticket price of $35 includes light refreshments and a copy of Maria’s book, ‘My Greek Family Table.’ Visit the event page on the AAA website to secure your ticket.

The New York Musical Festival runs throughout July and there’s an incredible line up of performances to see at various locations around the city. This link has a calendar of all events, dates, and locations – hopefully there’s a show near you!

Get out and see a movie during the Summer Movie Series that runs throughout July on the flight deck at the Intrepid Museum. Tickets are free (first in best dressed set up) and if you’re a member of museum you get priority admission but as you’ll be sitting atop the aircraft-carrier-turned-museum there’s good visibility from all spots.

Governors Island! Get there in July. You can visit on your own schedule for a leisurely picnic and bike ride or for one of the fun events throughout July, including City of Water Day on July 15,  Come Out & Play on July 21 and 22 or the Poetry Festival on July 29 and 30.

Tame Impala, Vance Joy, Solange, and Nine Inch Nails are just some of the highlights at the Panorama Music Festival, Randall’s Island, on July 28-30. See the line up here and view ticket package options here.

Warm Up 2017 is MoMA PS1’s outdoor music festival and runs throughout July and August, and showcases the best in live and electronic music. Melbournians Superconscious Records perform on July 29. Note MoMA PS1 is in Long Island City, directions, info, line up all here.

Pic credit: Joanna Hishon

My Neighborhood – Hoboken, New Jersey

Written by Peta Arthurson

See why moving to Hoboken was a winner with former AWNY Vice President Peta Arthurson.

 

My husband and I stumbled upon the neighborhood of Hoboken and at first we completely freaked out. We had never planned on moving to NEW JERSEY!!! That’s a whole different state, and train system! But, if you read along with me you will see why I think its been our best neighborhood so far!

Upon recently expanding my family to include our new baby girl Matilda, my husband and I knew we wanted a little more space at but with affordable rent, and non- negotiable outdoor space for our dog (there was no way could I walk him at night in the dead of winter with a newborn if my hubby was away for work!) And of course we wanted all of this without moving to Westchester or some other upstate NY or Long Island location. I’m pleased to report we found it in Hoboken, New Jersey, just a short distance from Manhattan.

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Peta, husband Shane and baby Matilda on Matilda’s first Snow Day – Dec 2016

 

Where is Hoboken?

Hoboken, New Jersey is right across the Hudson river and is bordered by Weehawken to the North and Jersey City to the South & West. The streets are on a grid similar to Manhattan with the cross streets being numbered from 1st (downtown) to 14th (uptown) and some president’s names like Washington, Adams, Madison, Monroe.

Transport in Hoboken

Hoboken is essentially in line with Houston and 23rd streets of Manhattan and getting into the city is quick and easy. The PATH train runs regularly from 33rd street to Hoboken and the ferry runs to 42nd and World Trade Center. In fact, if you work downtown, the ferry takes only 5 minutes. There are also buses, with NJ Transit operating between the Hoboken Bus Terminal and Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. We also have a light rail system connecting Jersey City to Weehawken and beyond.

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AWNY Startup Stories: Lipstick Queen

Poppy King is a name many Australian women associate with lipstick. Her successful brand Poppy was a 90s icon that gave us bold lipsticks named after the seven deadly sins. Fast forward 20 years and Poppy King has created Lipstick Queen. Poppy spoke with AWNY about her experiences of reinventing her brand in the USA.

Tell us about yourself and your business – how was Lipstick Queen born?

I grew fascinated with lipstick when I was 7 years old and played dress up with one of my mum’s lipsticks. What amazed me was how different I felt on the inside when I put on lipstick, and that is what led to my lifetime obsession with creating lipstick that makes you feel like a superhero.

What have been your greatest challenges in starting up a new business in the New York area?

Holding people’s attention. There is so much going on here so its hard to compete with that – it’s something I work at every day.

What are your three greatest learnings in starting up a business?

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition…..you have to repeat what you stand for so that people understand what your business does, and what it offers them that no other business can.

What steps did you go through to launch your business? (logistics, marketing etc)

I developed the right lipstick formula that gave the brand a point of difference.  and then figured out how best to get that message across in the marketing.

Starting up can be notoriously difficult – what’s motivates you to keep going?

Someone once said to me, “Don’t give up five minutes before the miracle” – meaning work hard and be patient!

What has been your ‘Ah Ha’ / ‘I’ve made it in the USA moment’ 

I feel that way every time I look at the Chrysler Building. I am just so happy to have that beautiful art deco skyscraper in my sights.

Where have you been most successful in marketing your business?

By treating lipstick the way Willy Wonka treated chocolate. Making it magical, surprising, and imaginative, versus a trend or fad.

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Do you have any mentors that have been instrumental in their support? How have people been with sharing information and their networks?

My customers are my mentors and working at my in-store counters is where I get the most inspiring and useful information.

What advice would you give someone thinking about starting a business?

Think about why you are doing what you are doing as that will help you figure out what you need to do to achieve success.

Other than yourself, what piece of Australia have you put into your business, and why – or if not, also, why?

Australians are great at multi-tasking, which is great for efficiency, and I credit my Australian-ness with being able to see things from a wide perspective.

What is next for Lipstick Queen?

More magical and enchanting lipsticks and global expansion on the back of that!

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