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Table Talk: Esti Berkowitz

Malky Lowinger

Meet Esti Berkowitz aka The Prime Time Parent: “I traded in my corporate credit card and invested in spirituality”

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

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MODEL MOMMY Esti’s regularly invited to special events and behind-the-scenes tours hosted by big businesses across the country. She’s been down this route before, as a young marketing executive, but this time it’s different. “I’m a sheitel-wearing, modestly dressed mom, and people realize that I’m unique. But they respect that. I try to be a role model wherever I go”

I t’s a blustery day in Brooklyn, but despite the weather I make my way over to Boro Park to meet Esti Berkowitz at Urbana for lunch. Esti is a self-described “lifestyle blogger” as well as a marketing expert who discovered her Jewish heritage in adulthood. As she puts it, “I traded in my corporate credit card and invested in spirituality.”

Parking on 13th Avenue is surprisingly easy, no doubt because most people have decided not to venture out in this weather. Thus do I feed the meter and enter Urbana, Boro Park’s swanky new eatery, located on 53rd Street, off 13th Avenue.

Once inside, I feel like I’ve entered another dimension. With Urbana’s dim lighting, low-hanging fixtures, gold accents, and creative design elements, you quickly forget about the nasty weather and the honking outside.

I am greeted by Andree, who ushers me over to a quiet table in an alcove cleverly set apart from the rest of eatery. This little niche perfectly suits our purposes. Not large enough for a sheva brachos, but certainly appropriate for a business meeting or perhaps a birthday celebration; it’s one of the nice little surprises I discover here at Urbana.

Sara Grossman and her husband, Ben, are the brains behind Urbana. They wanted to create a distinctive dining experience that was creative and refreshing, upscale but not intimidating. They call it “inspired dining.”

Esti and I settle in, and she begins to tell me about her background. She grew up in a secular home in Chicago and as an adult became actively involved in the world of corporate marketing. “The world of advertising always interested me,” she says.

It’s easy to see how she became successful in her chosen field. She’s bright, engaging, and insightful, passionate about what she cares about, and pursues her interests relentlessly.

Esti clarifies the difference between marketing and advertising. Marketing, she says, is the process of strategically bringing your brand to the market. “It breaks down to the who, what, when, where, and why of a product or business,” she explains.

Once all that is established, “advertising can be successfully promoted.” Advertising is thus a key component of marketing, says Esti. “You can’t have one without the other. It just won’t work.”

“I got interested in Shabbat,” she says. “It was so beautiful, like a dinner party but where everyone talks about meaningful things. I thought to myself, I want to have this in my life”

Big corporations spend vast amounts of money on their marketing campaigns, way more than most small businesses or entrepreneurs can fathom. Still, says Esti, we can all learn a lot from their strategies. “These days, there are fact-finding and research opportunities easily available to all. Just follow these big companies on their sites, read customer feedback, check out the reviews, and see what people are saying about their services. You can really learn a lot this way.”

Esti inherited her passion for this career from her father. “He was executive creative director at a major advertising agency. He came up with the best taglines. He would often personally go down to the supermarkets and ask customers why they liked shopping in these stores.”

But times have changed and technology, says Esti, has transformed the world of marketing. “Brands and consumers can now talk to each other without even leaving their homes. This is a huge game changer.”

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