Our Story "A Passion for Change"
We are real people with a real history from a real place. Our story begins in the Spring of 2009 in South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida. Dawn Esposito met Mark Oliver on a sleepy Wednesday evening at a local sushi restaurant on Lincoln Road. At the time Dawn was working as Head of Sales & Marketing for Grace Bay Club in Turks & Caicos. Mark was teaching Yoga and Meditation and Dawn was searching for a deeper purpose in life.
Fast forward one year, the two were married, and had started their first joint business YOGiiZA®, Organic clothing for Organic people®. Dawn had corporate experience and great business relationships. Mark had the funding to start the project and was possessed by a spirit to bring about radical change. Over the previous few years Mark had embraced change, purifying his own mind and body through yoga, affecting Dawn and soon the greater community of South Beach. Eventually this passion would spread to the entire Planet by offering cleaner Earth friendly choices to hotels around the World, but we have not gotten that far into the story yet.
On the precipice of change…
During the time while they were dating Mark had a deep spiritual shamanic experience. While on this trip he was shown a vision. Many things were revealed that scared him. He saw the great American buffalo skinned and tangled in barbed wire. He was shown modern day cows on their knees crying in great pain and suffering. It was understood that our entire society was built on the suffering of this animal, the sacred cow. Then the entire mid-western United States turned into a barren dessert. People were aimless, fat yet hungry, and forced to eat soulless empty foods. Confused, frightened, and feeling over whelmed, Mark lay down on his back, arms to his side, palms face up in complete surrender. He later explained that when he offered himself up it felt as though he was ravenously eaten alive, but instead of feeling pain he experienced bliss. Liberated from pain and fear he stood up and saw a giant jeweled frog sitting in a chair. The frog told him that he was a warrior and that it is his purpose to fight for Mother Earth. When he lifted up his head from the vision he saw that he was surrounded by gluttony and waste in his own environment. He was made aware that his own choices are contributing to the current state of the Planet, and that if he did not do something to change, humanity would be doomed.
Upon awakening from the vision he was left with a sense of urgency to affect as much environmental change as fast as possible. The question was, how and what would be the most affective vehicle?
The choices you make manifest the Planet you choose.....
The first thing he did was to ask Dawn to spend the rest of her life with him. She said yes. The two of them got to work right away on their start-up. They hired one of Mark's yoga students, Jennifer Pansa, to be their assistant and rented a space in the heart of South Beach. A flex space with 20 ft ceilings and a raised loft. They opened up the office/warehouse to the public once a week for a free community yoga event followed by a pot luck. The event was known as "Karma Yoga at YOGiiZA". Karma Yoga quickly became one of the coolest, in the know, things to do in South Beach. Wellness professionals were booked 3 months in advance to volunteer their time to lead the event. The YOGiiZA HQ was routinely filled to capacity with 50+ people from all walks of life. There was a little store with YOGiiZA branded organic clothing, industrial shelves filled with inventory, a small kitchen, and the office took up the elevated loft. It was a magical place and a brilliant time. They took the influence they had earned and brought it further into the Miami Beach community, leading regular beach clean-ups. They partnered with local hotels for environmental awareness/ yoga events. They were spreading their message and growing the YOGiiZA® brand. Angel investors soon caught wind and funding was provided for expansion.
The couple could feel that they were nearing the tipping point where the brand could explode and fulfill Mark's vision to bring about real global impacts. He saw that all the athletes and influential people were representing brands made from petroleum products like polyester and Nylon. Materials that are responsible for massive pollution. The image of the successful person was becoming more and more removed from nature. The clothing and brands that people choose to wear embody their personal image and that image has a contagious influence on the people around them. This is why Nike, Under Armour, and the likes spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year paying influencers to wear their products. If only people could be influenced to see that it is their own individual choices that are compounding to result in the degradation of the Planet, they might come back towards nature.
Selling YOGiiZA's organic cotton underwear to hotels for mini bar offerings was the bulk sale item outlined in their business plan. Hoteliers are their strongest relationships, so it was thought to be low hanging fruit. A few properties were supportive but the concept never caught fire. The majority of YOGiiZA's sales took place online. The first year they sold approximately $250,000 of clothing, but due to the lack of large volume sales and the pressure for growth from investors the brand's expansion was short lived. After 4 years they had to give up the South Beach space, let go of employees and down size to strictly an online venue. To this day the clothing line still makes modest daily online sales, but the couple had to rethink operations and the strategy for accomplishing the mission to give people choices instrumental in the struggle to save Mother Earth.
When you are on the right path the whole World conspires to help you......
Zalmon Fellig was the landlord for the YOGiiZA HQ space in South Beach. Zalmon was always well groomed and wore the finest black pants and beautiful white shirts. Over the years Zalmon would stop by the space to say hello and chat. Mark loved talking with Zalmon and his brother Salomon. Zalmon offered up lots of free advice and he was always asking "When are you going to have a baby?" Zalmon has 10 children of his own. Dawn and Mark would always respond that YOGiiZA was their baby and that they can not afford a child until they were successful in business. Zalmon would come back with "Just have the baby and God will take care of the rest." Their son Robbie was born September 12th 2014.
A few months after Robbie was born they gave up the lease in South Beach and moved into a large single family home in Hollywood, FL. They found a mid-century modern style house with spaces for two offices and a large detached garage for inventory. This is when Dawn had the epiphany. It was more like a dah moment than an a-ha moment. They would create a line of true hospitality products made with Organic Cotton. It seemed so obvious that to this day they can not believe that this was not the original business plan. Dawn started a new business called the "Oliver Collection". The Oliver Collection is a collection of the finest hospitality products hand selected by Dawn Esposito-Oliver. All of the products curated by Dawn for the collection are designed specifically for high end luxury Hotels.
Dawn and Mark worked out a deal with their angel investors to license the YOGiiZA® brand name and logos to design, produce and deliver a line of high end hospitality products made with Organic Cotton and Planet-friendly materials. Immediately Mark got to work on designing the line and setting up global logistics to support the sales. The first successful sales came from a line of Baby Alpaca bed throws that Mark designed. Being the designer and a direct importer with the largest producer of native Peruvian Alpaca on Earth they were able to offer a higher quality product at nearly half the price of their competition. Dawn has had great traction selling bulk orders and re-stock orders. These early and consistent sales paid for Robbie's clothing, food, toys, and pre-school. Oliver Collection sales started to take off with the support of some large and well know hotels and the people behind them. The Diplomat Resort and Spa, The Betsy, Fisher Island Hotel & Club, Miami Regency Hotel, and Porto Vita were some of the first properties to buy products through the Oliver Collection. In these early years production, delivery and re-stock have gone forward without a hitch.
Trevor Horwell is one of those angels that has always shown an interest in the couple and their mission. He was one of the first supporters of the organic clothing line buying a dozen pair of men's organic boxer shorts. Trevor is the CEO and co-creator of Nobu branded hotels. He would always set up his mobile office in one of the Starbucks cafes in South Beach where Dawn, from time to time, would catch up with him while getting a coffee. When Trevor learned about the Oliver Collection and its organic cotton Terry and Linen he was interested and wanted to know more. When he learned about the staggering quantifiable environmental numbers associated with choosing organic cotton towels and sheets his interest was peeked. Trevor put Dawn in touch with the Nobu hotel team opening the door for future opportunities.
Disrupting the Status-Quo, David vs. Goliath…….
The first opportunity came with the opening of the Nobu Hotel Miami Beach. Mark leveraged his global relationships in textiles to produce the highest quality organic towels and linens at a price better than what the hotels were currently paying for old cotton. The key factor in competitive pricing was scale. The advantage they had worked both ways. They partnered with the largest producer of terry towels in the world allowing for the production of massive volumes while also tapping into established global warehousing. The YOGiiZA clothing venture taught them not to bite off more than they can chew at one time. They kept the sales team lean with just Mark and Dawn focusing on direct sales, one client at a time. This typically gave them a 30% advantage on sale price. The established old boys clubs are bloated with a large sales force of distributors and salesmen. All those middle men have to take their cut. By staying focused on one client at a time the Oliver Collection team was able to create specific custom brand standards for their clients without the pressure of trying to sell them someone else's over stock or make the mistake of shipping them the wrong product. Dawn, being a 14 year veteran working in hotels, was sensitive to new hotel opening critical path timelines, and knew just how critical towels and sheets are to hotel operations. The product would be custom designed, produced and delivered on the planned date.
When Nobu opened up the Ibiza Bay property in Ibiza, Spain Mark and Dawn created the 400 thread count organic cotton linens and delivered them right on schedule. Dawn worked in sync with the Nobu Ibiza team when it came time to restock and again delivered the custom branded products on time. The successful track record prompted Trevor to invite Dawn to the Nobu corporate family meeting in Barcelona, Spain in 2018 where the evolution of the hotel's brand standards would be discussed. Dawn returned to the offices in Florida with the exciting news that the Oliver Collection would be creating the brand standards for all Nobu hotels world wide with over 50 properties planned for opening by 2025. Now the Oliver Collection is the corporate approved supplier of terry & linen for Nobu Hotels.
To say that they were excited would be an understatement. Since 2011 they had given there all to the mission and it looked like they were finally on the verge of realizing the dream. When a typical hotel of 200 rooms chooses YOGiiZA organic cotton towels and linens they reduce their carbon footprint by approximately 66,000 lbs and eliminate 22,000 lbs of cancer causing chemicals from the soil annually. When taking into account the entire global brand over a 10 year period the environmental savings are enormous! They are currently working with the Nobu team on several new Hotel Openings, and in the process of developing a retail line to offer hotel guests the option to purchase their bed linens.
With this success the Oliver Collection team can confidently envision an industry wide adoption of organic cotton terry and linen. Hotel brands and cruise lines are operated by real people who want the best quality for their money. They understand the leverage they have in both scale and the affect their brand image has on the public. Most people get it. They want their choices to affect positive environmental impacts, but they don't want to hurt their business with higher costs. By doing business in a transparent way and eliminating the unnecessary middle people, typical of the old boys clubs who have dominated the industry, Mark and Dawn are able to offer the higher quality standard of Organic cotton at prices better than the old cotton products. This gives them the ability to realistically take on Goliath. The Planet is changing fast. Oliver Collection is present now offering products that are instrumental in the struggle to save Mother Earth. They are poised and ready to serve your hospitality needs and support your green initiatives with real quantifiable results.
Do you want your choices for Terry and Linen contributing to global warming and cancer?
Add your strength to our mission to save Mother Earth.
Reach out for change...