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Connecticut Hudson Valley

Expanding Luxury Brands Across Cultures

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Moderated by Geoffrey Morris Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, TownVibe



Cynthia Chovet
Director of Sales & Retail - North America, Filicori Zecchini

Ellen Christian-Reid
CEO, Montepicaza USA

Lara Joubert
Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator for North America, Marc Cain

Tatiana Pinhasi
Manager of US Operations, Togas Group of Companies


Cynthia Childers Chovet is on a mission to help European food and beverage companies launch, build and grow profitable businesses in the United States. Trained as a culinary chef at the International Culinary Center in New York City under such renown chefs as Jacques Pepin, Andre Soltner and Alain Sailhac, she has a unique 20 - year background in food and beverage sales, marketing, brand management, and operations as well as in-depth knowledge of business-to- business/ business-to-consumer environments, which provides her organizations with distinct advantages.

As Director of Sales & Retail for Filicori Zecchini USA, she launched the first US retail locations and e - commerce site while assisting in the evolution of the company’s café concept to reflect an authentic Italian bottega, containing ready - to - consume food and beverages as well as giftable Italian coffees, teas and chocolates.

Prior to joining Filicori Zecchini USA, Cynthia spearheaded sales, training, brand marketing and retail operations for Les Palais des Thès, a French luxury tea brand headquartered in Paris. She was also the Director, Sales & Logistics for Transatlantic Foods, Inc., where she headed national whole- sale and distributor operations for two brands of French artisanal charcuterie. Before joining the culinary world, Cynthia developed electronic research products for lawyers and accountants for spe- cialty divisions of Thomson Reuters and LEXIS/NEXIS.

Ms. Chovet holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, with an emphasis in 17th century British Literature from the University of Kansas.

Having grown-up in Rhode Island speaking Spanish, Ellen Christian-Reid attended University in Valencia Spain, where she met her future business partner. After graduating from Connecticut College, Ellen became a high school Spanish teacher for native speakers. During her tenure as a teacher, she worked part-time raising money for local non-profit organizations that provided services to “high risk” inner-city children. Eventually she parlayed her grant writing experience into a 20-plus-year career in fundraising and marketing in the New York City area, which included managing fundraising and communication operations at many well known independent schools in the Fairchester region: Convent of the Sacred Heart, Wooster School, and Hopkins to name a few. ”Retiring”after the birth of her daughter, Ellen continued to provide fundraising consultation to local schools as she began to actively investigate the possibility of owning a retail store in Greenwich. In the Spring of 2016 the unique opportunity to launch Montepicaza for the first time in the US landed in her lap.

Montepicaza is a well-known brand based in Toledo, Spain. Oscar Bermedez founded the brand in 1999 with the idea to design a business model that would revitalize the artistic process of textile manufacturing in Spain, now long forgotten by the majority of chains that have based their production in Asia. The challenge has been and continues to be to succeed in manufacturing elegant eye-catching garments of the highest quality, and offer them at reasonable prices. The brand offers a wide range of products for men, women, and children.

Lara Joubert is based out of Marc Cain Canada’s head office and has been with the company since 2016. Due to this premium European brand expanding its success throughout the USA, Lara was put in charge of planning the marketing and PR activities in the USA. She has extensive experience in both PR and marketing fields and holds a degree in Digital Content & Community Management, as well as Public Relations & Communications Management from McGill University.

Lara is very philanthropic and has been very active in Marc Cain’s local charity initiatives and communities, including galas and other charity fundraisers. She is excited to reveal Marc Cain first international charity collaboration upcoming for Mother’s Day, as she currently works alongside Marc Cain GmbH (Germany).

Marc Cain is a globally known operating premium brand for women’s fashion. Known for their prints, materials and quality, Marc Cain has developed their own manufacturing system allowing the brand to produce through the most advanced and innovative technology creating exclusivity and quality pieces.

Since the founding of Marc Cain in 1973 by Helmut Schlotterer, Chairman of the Management Board, research and development have always been top priority. Constant innovation is the prerequisite for running the brand’s own production facility in Germany. With 221 Marc Cain Stores worldwide, 311 Shop-In-Stores, 438 Custody customers and over 870 upmarket specialist retail stores in 59 countries, the company continues to expand rapidly due to its high demand.