Elisa Marshall is the co-founder and creative director of the Maman restaurants, cafes, and catering spreads beloved by everyone from Oprah to Gwyneth. You’ve probably seen her coffee cups on IG, but we talked to her IRL about how she curated her perfect job.

What inspired you to start Maman?
I was doing a little bit of everything… But I felt like I couldn’t find a job that let me do everything that I love. You can only give so much time to small elements and Maman let me really open up to everything that I love. I could have fun with the branding and marketing and create this dream job for myself.

Where do you find inspiration for design?
It’s definitely something that is very eclectic. I think a lot of the inspiration came from my home growing up. My father was an antique collector. I hated it back then… But looking back at it now, it was such an inspiration. And now I have such an appreciation for it. I love hunting for antiques and having items that tell a story.

And now your design is something Maman is known for… 
I have an obsession with detail. I think all the little things make such a difference. Our cups are a perfect example… We created a brand people love to take pictures of and share them [on social media]. If we just had wonderful coffee in a plain cup, no one would share it online. It creates a lot of organic marketing.

You’ve probably seen her coffee cups on IG, but we talked to her IRL.
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Do you think Maman falls under the “experience marketing” umbrella? Similar to the Museum of Ice Cream…
That’s such a nice compliment. I like to think of it as a multi-experience. I wanted to create something that was more than the sum of its parts. Not only is the food great (and the food is great), but the surroundings are great, in addition to enjoying a nice cup of coffee.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I have a three-month-old baby. So I wake when he does, and we do our morning routine. These days, I’m working on my cookbook, so I’m recipe testing. Just yesterday, I tested Nutella brownies. It’s a fun and difficult process, and I spend a lot of time baking and typing.

When does a work day end for you?
It doesn’t really wind down… When you’re working on large projects, sometimes we’re working until 10:30 or 11. But typically around 9 I will watch a movie and shut down.

What’s one piece of advice you have for someone who wants to do what you do?
I find so many people struggle to find the perfect job or passion. My biggest advice is if you can’t find your perfect job: create it. Create a world you want to live in.

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