Accompanied by Lloyd Mandell I set out to discover the Wynwood Walls district in Miami. Lloyd has been the owner of two Historic landmark hotels in South beach for over twenty years. He is one of the last of the Mohicans who runs his hotels with a generous amount of love and personal attention. This is a glaring contradiction with many other hotels, which sometimes appear to be puppets in a world of real estate speculation. This is why we at Jan Doets have been doing business with Lloyd for over thirty years. The ability to look each other in the eye as business partners and point out strengths and weaknesses is a part of this business relation.
Americans have the remarkable, and in my opinion exceptional, characteristic of self-improvement; which clearly manifests itself in the Wynwood Walls district in Miami. In the last century Mr. Goldman arranged, among others, the transformation of the SoHo district in New York, and a few years ago he also saw a ‘sparkle’ in this run-down district in Miami, with her empty warehouses. He arranged for artists to set up ateliers in the warehouses for free, and gave them the opportunity to cover the outer walls in tremendous, modern art pieces. This became a hit in Wynwood Walls, hence the addition of ‘Walls’ to the name. Nowadays artists are being paid by real estate owners to portray art on their walls. The walls are colorful and do something to you. For instance, we observed a modern parody on the American painting ‘Farmer Couple’.
Besides all that Wynwood Walls additionally offers all kinds of funky restaurants, shops, coffee-houses, art galleries and bars. We visited two shops here; one regarding a Canadian designer and one considering an Australian natural cosmetic brand. Both shops came across as simplistic, authentic and focused on experience, however, in a pure manner! Lloyd and me acquired inspiration and witnessed how the retailers went out of their way to create an experience from their shop and products. We were touched by the natural elements, such as stones combined with glass hulls, which were covered in a translucent and oil-like colored foil. Or by a pouf/beanbag, which was comfortable and tightly shaped.
Lastly we went to a pop up terrain with an open podium for live entertainment, surrounded by shipping containers housing trendy bars, restaurants and galleries. Herbs were growing in old, tin bathtubs and in between stood picnic benches, great!
Lloyd an I enjoyed this inspiring environment and we let our senses be stimulated. Us in ‘hospitality’ sell or accommodate experiences; that is our job or mission! Little things can make the difference, for instance a welcome drink in a cup, with a message from ‘Kafka’ on the inside. This makes you, as a guest, feel special, and that is something we all want; to feel welcome and special!
With a vast amount of acquired inspiration Lloyd and I did business in two hours; we felt special and became closer as business partners. Wonderful, our business being ‘people business’ for a reason, despite the indispensable technology nowadays!
a.k.a. Spirit Bear
Owner and President of Jan Doets America Tours