Defining Hospitality Podcast

Today’s guest loves helping create spaces and experiences where people will make lasting memories. With hospitality being engrained in her soul, she is ready to see it make a comeback. Stephanie Hopkins is the Senior Interior Design Manager at Marriott International. Stephanie joins the host Dan Ryan to talk about her journey in this beautiful industry and how she sees hospitality through her eyes. 
  • Hospitality is more about the overall experience that you get and experiencing everything there is to offer. 
  • Growing up in Texas, Stephanie’s mom was the example she had for what hospitality really is because she was always entertaining and providing a welcoming environment for friends and family. 
  • Stephanie spent time working in London and New York doing interior design, and that is where she discovered her passion for hospitality and design. 
  • Working with an independent hotel and boutique hotels will help you to learn how to think on your feet and find solutions to unique problems.
  • Every piece of detail matters to a guest and it impacts their experience at a hotel. You want to make sure that you are planning out every detail as much as you can and using the detail to make the guest have a wonderful experience.
  • Not every brand or hotel is for every person. You want to build a hotel and think about the customers that you are trying to attract without also confusing the design of the brand for other hotel designs. 
  • Through the pandemic, a lot of people developed a longing for travel as that was taken away from them. People are now wanting to go out and experience new places and see beautiful hotels. 
Quote of the Show:
3:56 ​​ “What hospitality means to me it's more of that kind of that overall experience, kind of that 360 degree view.”

Shout Outs:
1:10 Kristen Conry
1:16 Marriott
2:04 BDYN
7:20 Tony Chi
7:58 Chip Conley
9:19 Bridgeton
10:58 Journey East Hampton
11:14 Atit Jariwala
18:25 Johnny Marsh
24:38 Oswaldo Barrios
25:00 Arnie Sorenson
25:17 Hilton
25:18 Accor
27:55 Edition
31:36 Kelsey Linz
31:51 Reggio Emilia
40:06 Mindclick
41:30 JoAnna Abrams
46:36 Airstream
47:40 Mattel Rancho
48:33 Bunkhouse
48:37 Liz Lambert
48:53 McGuire Lambert Hospitality
Ways to Tune In: 

Creators & Guests

Dan Ryan
Host of Defining Hospitality

What is Defining Hospitality Podcast?

How do you define hospitality?

Dan Ryan has been working in the hospitality industry for nearly 30 years, and he‘s just as fascinated by it as he was on day one. Join him in this weekly podcast as he invites industry thought leaders to discuss what hospitality means to them - in the built environment, in business, and in our daily lives.

Dan Ryan: Today's
guest is ready to
hospitality make a.
She loves helping create spaces and experiences where people will make lasting memories. She has hospitality design ingrained in her soul. She's a senior interior design manager at Merick International with a focus on the Moxie brand. and gentlemen, Welcome
Stephanie Hopkins: Hey, Dan.
It's so good to be in person. It's great to be in person.
Dan Ryan: I'm loving this
the, in the experimentation, so
Stephanie Hopkins: thank for letting. Try something you. Yeah, it's been awesome. I mean, I, I think anytime we get a chance [00:01:00] together finally, um, is really good. And you know, it's exciting to be at
Dan Ryan: and Oh
Stephanie Hopkins: Oh yeah, that's another thing.
We're in the mothership right now. We're in the mothership. We are in the mothership with, um, yeah. Bethesda behind. It's pretty cool to be here and exploring around the building. This is your what, second time here?
Dan Ryan: Third, I
Stephanie Hopkins: Think. Yeah. Yeah. It's more than I've been here. .
Dan Ryan: Oh, . That's funny.
Yeah. Cause you live in Austin. Yeah. So I want, I just wanted to let everyone know, like to kind of loop them into how we came to be right here. Yeah. So about a a half ago, we were at a trade show and I saw Kristen Connery, who was a previous guest, and I said, Kristen, how are you? I'm so happy you, uh, transitioned over to Marriott.
Like, it's kind of exciting, a new journey. I've been doing a heard it? And she.
no. What are you talking about? . And then, and you were standing with her and said, oh wait, you're Dan Ryan. love your podcast. And to me that was like the first [00:02:00] real affirmation that like, oh my God, people are actually listening to this.
And it's kind of cool. So, oh,
Stephanie Hopkins: I love that. I'm so, uh, I'm a podcast junkie as I like to call myself. And so yeah, I was, um, I'm on. Team kind of. And so we were kind of looking to kind of get some of our, um, beyond some podcasts to look and see what's out there in the design industry. So I was like researching and I found yours and was listening to it and I was like, I love this.
So then when I saw you, it was b and y I think in 21, I guess right. Was 2120. We didn't do it. And it was b d y and um, yeah. And that's how this, you know, whole, you know, thing. Big friendship got started and how we got started. But yeah, it was. It was really fun. I just, um, big podcast fan and love listening to hearing different people's stories and, you know, tell, you know, different little design snippets here and there.
It's pretty fun.
Dan Ryan: I love it. Um, it's so, I mean, it's incredible and, [00:03:00] you know, and so, and in a way you're very much a part of the success of this because of that affirmation and then the other conversations we've had at Marriot, Thank you. So thank you.
Stephanie Hopkins: Well, thank you. It's, it's. I also, also too, like I've heard you kind of start and then develop as a podcast host as you've gone into it.
So I have to say that, um, I'm been happy to be part of the journey,
Dan Ryan: an important part of the journey. So thank you. Oh, thanks for saying it's good to be here. Um, so I'm gonna start off by, you know, big question, which is always like, first of all, everyone should know there's so many guests on this, on this show that, um, I call them accident.
Hospitality people. Yeah, I don't, they're accidental ho, I dunno what I call them. They're accidental hospitality, indu, industry fans or people who kind of happen into this world. And you are one of them. Yeah. One of the many. Yes. And um, [00:04:00] I guess like the big question is from your journey to where you are now, like how do you define
Stephanie Hopkins: Yeah, that's good.
And obviously I've been thinking about it a lot Yeah. Lately. But I think, um, I mean, you know, I think for me and what really, um, and as being in hospitality, what hospitality kind of means to me is
more of that kind of, um, that overall experience, kind of that 360 degree view.
I'm from Texas and from the south. And you know, I think thinking back to historically kind of how it was growing up, My mom constantly was entertaining. Like our house was the house where everybody came over and all my friends were there and, it was kind of in itself this hospitality experience. she always kind of had the great food and snacks and the house was always looked a certain way and it had a certain smell associated with it, the
lawn was [00:05:00] done well when you pulled up.
So kind of all of that I think has then translated to me into what hospitality. is kind of now. So I think it, it is, you know, and what was has been ingrained in me kind of a lot from my early training is it's from the minute you pull into kind of that portico share and what that's ex like coming up to the hotel and how you guide that experience and then coming in scent that you smell and then how greeted and, you know, um, from moxie you check in at the bar.
So you kind of have that whole experience and then you, um, you have your room, you have the sound, hotel. It's its own sound. And then ultimately for me, um, like many hospitality people, I think is really kind of that vibe that you get when you sit down at the bar and you kind of have that, that final drink.
So it's just that overall experience of, and then of course the site of, you know, the beautiful, um, hotel itself. And then just getting that signature cocktail for kind of that hotel is also a really great experience. So all of that I think defines a [00:06:00] hospitality experience to me. And I think that comes.
really ultimately, kind of thinking back is how it was in my childhood.
Dan Ryan: And then from your childhood to, you know, you go to, you go to school and then you, you were an entrepreneur Yeah. In a family business with your sister, correct?
Stephanie Hopkins: Yeah, my sister and my sister-in-law, um, started up this window covering company in Austin and they still have it.
Um, still going strong and, and doing great and so,
I graduated with a business degree. Mm-hmm. . And so kind of when we started the company that had more of like a into, you know, kind of around operations and financials and things like that. And then we kind of started to product line
and then I expanded into sales.
I mean, as you, anybody who has their own business, you do everything right? Yeah. You do business development, you do this, you do that. So kind of expanding into sales and then being like one-on-one with customers and helping them. and then [00:07:00] expanding the product line into draperies and things like that. I was like, oh,
is really, cool.
Like, I think, and I was kind of sketching out draperies and doing stuff that I was completely foreign to me that I'd never done. And so I really started to start to research, like in tear design and maybe getting a second degree. And that was, you know, this transformation process. Um, and then I found a program in London and went to London to kind of do, um, a diploma there.
And. Is a really awesome experience. And and then from there interned at like a, a really great, um, British furniture company that had a bunch of hospitality clients in New York. And then, um, got
first gig with Jean
Associates and that's
Dan Ryan: great
Stephanie Hopkins: and jumped into hospitality and kind of just was like, oh wow, this is pretty awesome. a pretty amazing. field you [00:08:00] kind of, um, from all of those experiences. And then that's kind of just, that was like my toe in. But I think a lot of times during, when I was in London, in New York, I was like, I cannot believe this is my life. . Yeah. Like, this is, well that's what's, so this is pretty amazing.
Dan Ryan: You know, there, there's a, um, kind of a hospitality hero of mine who I hope to have on one day. Chip Conley. He wrote an article a couple years ago, just kind of. our lives into quarters. Right. I think it, he wrote it because his dad had just turned 80 or something and he's like, he's just entering the fourth quarter.
And if you think about it I'm 47, I'm probably just entered the second half. Yeah. And it's crazy to think of life that way, but so many people who have come into this, into the industry, hospitality and, and a lot of the design architect a.
careers where they're like, they're in the second quarter.
Yeah. And it's like, hey, there's a new, [00:09:00] a new horizon
out there that,
that excites and engages what we're passionate about. Cause oftentimes, I'm not saying you weren't passionate about the, the window treatment company, um, with, with your family, but oftentimes, you know, we have this calling and it's, I'm just always amazed and awestruck by those.
In one channel, but then they're like, you know what? Something's calling me in a different way. It's like, kind of like that field dreams. Yeah. Kind of feeling. If you build it, they will come. And I'm just, I think it's so cool that you went on that journey and to Europe and the experience you had and then to New York and Tony Chi.
I also think what's really interesting with your journey in particular relates to going from, I think you at. . Yeah. Which is like a small, it's a, they have a, a bunch of hotels, but it's mostly independent boutique Yes. Hotels. Correct. Yeah. So like an independent developer. Yes. And really great properties.
Um, I'm a fan of many of them. Um, but to go from that kind of smaller, [00:10:00] independent over to here to Marriott, which is like, you know, 30 something brands, it's, it's enormous. finding your place in here with Moxie, that kind of, in a way bridges the gap. the really big, like big box hotel brand to the smaller one and kind of creating these really intimate in really great Yeah,
Stephanie Hopkins: I think, you know, working and when I was working at Bridgeton, I think that was, um, a really ama like a really great experience and a lot of good learnings like learning about, you know, kind of from the independent perspective and. . I think the lens that I didn't have then was how it was done the brand.
So, you know, coming from an interior design firm, an interior design background, you don't necessarily know the inner workings of kind of everything brand Um, and especially, you know, in working at Tony Chi [00:11:00] working on luxury products, that's a little bit different than kind of working on some of the, like the Moxies and, and the more select Bridgeton was. Uh, it was a great experience. I love, I love the people there. Um, they're doing really great things and it was, I designed my first hotel by myself there oh, which one was that? It's in East Hampton and it's Journey. East Hampton. Journey. East is, this is another one over there called Merri.
There is another one, Miam. And that one we ended up kind of, I was on that project too, more project managing it. Um, and that was really interesting. Just, you know, we kind of had, um, and I think AIT who owns the company, has these really big dreams and it's really fun to be a part of and, and try to help achieve what those are and be and kind of be on that rollercoaster of that.
So that I, I had a lot of, um, know, these really great moments and wins that kind of, I, I can see now in the project and running, and then there's a whole operational as well. Um, but [00:12:00] when I did Journey at Hampton, that one, um, it was just a. I remember like the first time I was there, I stayed the night everything that I had seen in my head was kind of there in person.
And I, I don't think I'll ever forget that experience or what that's like or how to even really put that into words. I was just like, I thought of all of this in my head and this exists now and this space that people come to. And I think I was saying this to you, like people will, you know, they will get engaged and stay there or they'll bring their kids first time or their parents.
All of these like really, really awesome, you know, experiences that people have in their lives are all kind of based around total hotels a lot. And I think, um, I was just like, oh man, I love this . And I think that's, and so Bridge and I learned a lot there. And I think the carrot that brought me to Marrit for me was really the Moxie brand.
I think that independence of the Moxie brand, I really love the Moxie, even ownership with. they have a lot of independent [00:13:00] So, , I really relate to them. I relate to them from an entrepreneurial background, from kind of having the independence, you know, working with for an
developer and then,
you know, now being on the brand side.
And it's been really interesting to just see where all of it comes from and, and kind of system. The system of the brand, right? And like the, and, and how things work why they work that way. That was a really part of,
education that I, that I was kind of missing that I really wanted to know and Moxie, um, brought me over, you know, kind of, and I was like, oh wow.
They're really flipping the checking in at the bar. They're really changing that whole experience, you know? And at the time they're war weren't that many hotels open in, in the US and Canada. And um, so it's been a really. to be on the, on the brand and kind of seeing it grow.
Dan Ryan: And many there?
there, there? 25 now. [00:14:00] So
Stephanie Hopkins: so there's 27 open in the US and Canada right now. There's 120 open internationally. Mm-hmm. and then this year and you know, but slated to open this year in US and Canada, we have 13. So half of that. And I think that's, it's gonna be a really exciting year. I mean, obviously things drug out because of, you know, 2020 and it drug out kind of some timelines and stuff.
Um, so we'll see. I'm really excited about it. I think I, you know, we were talking about that and I was looking back through the gosh, there's some really exciting ones opening, um, that it'll be fun to, you know, have been a part of and kind of really, um, it's just been an interesting, because it's still in kind of the select service.
It's not would call full service. Yeah. Um,
learning what that's about and learning. , those traits of myself that are more, you know, like I, I wanna go downstairs and pour my own coffee and hit the road and go and things like that. And I really relate to kind of a lot of that type of guest that we cater to.
Dan Ryan: So a ago, I love [00:15:00] what you said, also, just having interviewed someone who was a playwright that became a hospitality industry professor. Right. Oh, that's awesome. And you used the word flipping the script right? . I'm curious, you know, on your journey from Texas to England to New York, working at Tony Chi under Bridgeton, and then you're probably doing some projects and then you get that journey Hotel.
Yeah. Right. Your first one, it's kind of like, here you go. that script flipping like impact you when you were like, well, you got a clean slate and you could go do it? did you feel at that moment? Like, you overwhelmed, excited, all the above. What was like the first big step you bringing that
project to
Stephanie Hopkins: Yeah, that's a good question. I think a lot of it was, um, you know, the Bridgeton team was really lean, especially like kind of around design, but in, in general, at the time that it [00:16:00] just, a lean team in, in general. So there was a lot of other things going on, I think. And I think if I just had to focus on that one project, I probably would've been overwhelmed, but I was more like,
Um, and I think too, I think working for the independence and, and then know and being more involved with the developer and knowing where the capital comes from and kind of the money behind it, it felt like a personal, like I was,
you know, working with them personally. Like I just knew kind of all of the players and it had a more of an impact about it for me.
So there was a pressure to it, but I think also, um, there was so much going on that it was kind of just. , you know, kind of reacting to like each step of doing it. And you know, I, I, I think I for sure had those moments of like, can I do this? Am I gonna pull this off? Are there a hundred thousand things I would've done differently?
Yeah. . Yeah, absolutely. You know, I think there always is, right? Um, but I think overall, like, um, and, and you know, we kind of were [00:17:00] doing it as like a design build and learning that process and being on site more and kind of working with you. A, you know, a different type of contractor than a kind of a big box contractor that, maybe doesn't read the drawings all the time, but you have to sketch stuff on the napkin floor and stuff.
So it was really, um, I learned a lot. I learned how to think on my feet, I think mostly, and to problem solve and to realize that nothing is kind of precious and perfect. I mean, I think if I learn that as an entrepreneur, which happened all the time, you know, I think that really was just like how to think on my feet, how to think and solve that problem.
If we delayed like one more day, that was one more day of delaying opening one more day of heads and beds, one more day of return on investment. You know, you kind of have that more, that lens I think is working on the developer side of it.
Dan Ryan: Um, it's also, you know, hearing you say, would you do a thousand things differently?
Yes. And it's, I just have to kind of breathe and relax and get to the point. It's not gonna be perfect. [00:18:00] Right? But it, you know, it's good. really interesting because, you know, having come from Tony Cheese's office where you know the detail that they do, and I would call that like just everything has to be so perfect and
detailed out And
fitting and like the detail that they have on projects is amazing.
And then to go from that to, okay, we're gonna just figure it out. Like, how did you reconcile that or, Did that serve you on that journey at the journey?
Stephanie Hopkins: Yeah, I mean, you know, I think, think back to like sitting in some meetings with Tony and I think a lot of stuff, that I think I took forward with me everywhere was around that foundation of the And at the time I would have a lot of meet Tony, but like my Johnny Marsh. And I think a lot of just like, I remember just talking through kind of some of these meetings and just. , you know, really about, so much gutting that guest [00:19:00] experience and how every detail does matter to a level, right?
Every de or does matter when you're in that experience very detailed, um, so I think as working with, with the developer, working with , sorry. And then, um, moving forward, I had to learn what to let a little bit, and I think.
I don't think, and I think what I appreciate and, you know, celebrate Tony, uh, for, is that he doesn't let go of anything.
Like he, everything is the most important. But when I was in that other situation and we had this deadline that we had to get to, and I, it couldn't, I couldn't hold the process. It couldn't be perfect because we had all of these, you know, the pressure of the financial side of it that you really feel from that perspective of not just being in an I. world. Um, I was like, okay, we're gonna have to give on this or I'm [00:20:00] gonna have to give on that and sh you know, should I have in, in kind of making those compromises and trying to make the best decision that I could in that amount of timeframe for all of 'em. So I had to learn that a lot pretty quick on my beat.
Dan Ryan: You know, I think it's really interesting cuz when I think of those, so many of the chief projects that I've seen, it's like the vision is it to be. Compromising. Mm-hmm. , when you look, when you go into those places and then like this is amazing. And then to learn how to compromise and get it done, because have all these other pressures still maintaining your vision, but maybe, I think, what did you say?
You said let go. You had to learn how to let go a little bit. Yeah. Right. Yeah. So it's like you're, you're still driving, you're driving the bus, but then you think about, I think you, earlier you were talking about really learning that brand systems here. , if you look at the value that all the big brands have created, it's in that brand.
Yes. Right? Yes. And a [00:21:00] way, you have to be uncompromising about with focus groups and what is the customer, and who
is the So
like how did, like if you were to talk about your journey from, you know, being uncompromising to letting go a little bit to coming back or coming to Marriott and really being a champion for moxie.
and working in brand environment that this like, I don't like 36 different brands. Like Yeah. How do you reconcile all that or where like where did you want, where do you think you wind up on that spectrum now of uncompromising to letting go a little bit to now? Like so much is riding on all these brands that Marriott has and is created.
Stephanie Hopkins: Yeah, and you know, I think That's a good question cuz I still feel like I compromise a lot, but I think more so, um, yeah, I think I'm more, I consider myself kind of like a brand steward now a little bit, right? Mm-hmm. , so I have that brand, but I work on other [00:22:00] brands too, but we'll just use Moxie as a good example cause I work on a lot of the Maxie projects.
Um, and so just really trying to make sure that that Moxie brand and that Moxie brand DNA really comes through in those projects. because that is a really specific, because we have so many brands, not every brand is for every person, right? So you really wanna make sure you're kind of in that brand genre, right?
And you're delivering kind of on that brand product to, to get, to keep in kind of, we don't, you know, muddy the we always call 'em, a lot of people say Swim lane, so we don't get over into somebody else's swim lane. And we kind of keep in that one, because otherwise I think all the product would be the same and all the
would Um,
so I feel like I had to get that strong and I mean, I think probably in, in the beginning too, of really just really understanding where that Moxie brand DNA was really understanding how, what this job and this [00:23:00] role was how I was gonna step into it and do it Stephanie's way kind of every other way.
And that's really where I've seen it. So I still.
it. still am
compromising and working with ownership groups all the time on how they can get their needs and wants in this way of doing it, kind of that like skillset is still really there. It's still what I do all the time. Um, but you know, it's just really making sure they kind of do it in that same way so that DNA comes through on all the boxing projects.
Dan Ryan: Yeah, and it's, it's also, and I guess in a way you can say compromising, but it's also trying to. You know, there's so many stakeholders in a project, from brand to mm-hmm. , um, to the design firms city, to the firms. To the design firms, right. Yeah. But to the lo to the municipality where it's going to the people who are working there.
And it's, it's, instead of compromising, maybe it's trying to find the path where you have as many wins as possible. Everyone is winning as much as possible.
Stephanie Hopkins: Yeah. I think that's a [00:24:00] great way of saying it. And I think it's, um, and it's just, you know, negotiating. It's just a dance kind of, of. and every project is really different and every, you know, ownership group has a
unique set of wants and
that they're kind of bringing to the table.
And it's, you know, understanding what of getting that out front. And then, you know, working also with the design firms that also have those same desires, wants, and needs. They all have the, we all have the same things that we're bringing to the table. So yeah, it's how many wins can you get across the board kind for everybody and really aligning as a partnership to move.
To getting that project open. I think that's really, I look at myself so much more as a partner now, than, you know, even I kind of, you know, as I've kind of evolved through. And I think that's really where I think a good resource and partner of how to get this project from even to feasibility, you know, to where it passes off and gets open
Dan Ryan: And then [00:25:00] as you were talking, I was thinking about my conversation with O Osvaldo. Mm-hmm. . and he was sharing and oswaldo, for those of you who didn't hear that one, it's uh, he's the, the champion for the addition brand. Yeah. For Marriott. Um, but what I was struck by when I was speaking with him was how the addition, that collaboration was seen as so important by our Arne Sorenson.
Like he, he was like, no, this has to happen. Because I think somehow I remember Craig, he saw the power of these independent brands, right? Yeah.
it could really take Marriott forward. And if you look at all the other brands, the Hilton, Hilton and aor, like they're also championing championing a lot of these life, like but like branded hotels.
Is there a way to tie the genesis of Moxie, which was probably before you joined Yeah. Or it was before you joined? , [00:26:00] what role did that addition and seeing the importance of these independent lifestyle hotels, boutique hotels, um, how did that have an influence of moxie?
Stephanie Hopkins: Hmm. You know, I know a lot more about the story for Moxi and how it came to the US and kind of, but it was started in Europe and I think a lot of the product that you see, in Europe was kind of, had a little bit of a different direction and then, you know, we had a really great developer in, New York that saw it and really wanted to, to make a, you know, um, make a deal kind of, and bring moxie to the US And that's where we got the Moxies that were opening in New York with Lightstone.
And um, you know, we have Times Square. We just opened one in Bow. They're opening one in Williamsburg. Um, Chelsea East Village. Chelsea East Village.
They opened Miami South Beach. [00:27:00] So that kind is, you know, bringing it over. I think. I think Moxi satisfied kind of this, you know, in, in Europe it was kind of more like hostile.
It definitely, and it definitely has the hostilely vibe. It's basically, you know, a lot of times we talk about it as being a bar with rooms on top. Yeah. . And that is the kind of vibe that it is. It's a very, so it sounds like this really.
customer base, I think, and this really unique concept to bring into Marriott, right? It's, it's not, um, you know, it's not something that you, every bonvoy guest or every bonvoy platinum guest is gonna be happy with the moxie. There's no, you know, there's, there's pegs on the wall. It's flexible, f, f and E inside there.
So you, you just hang your, your, you know, coat. You hang this on all the pegs. You don't necessarily have a into. , you know, it's, and it's a really kind of, I like to say rough and tumble kind of brand. Like, you know, it has a lot of grittiness to it. [00:28:00] It's, it's really for somebody who's like, Hey, I'm gonna go, I'm gonna be there for a couple days.
And it's that kind of person that's gonna go upstairs and throw their bag upstairs and come down and work on their laptop at the bar, you know, and have a cocktail while they're finishing their emails at the day or, and then go out and meet friends for dinner. It's just, you know, and so I think it really similar did lead to how the addition, I think was really unique and captured that.
unique and almost made, I feel like luxury. Approachable too. Yeah. I think Moxie kind of came into this like generation and brought this new brand to, to Marritt that is kind of more of an independent, you know, lifestyle brand that kind of appeals to a backpacker or somebody coming and, you know, it's, it's a, it's um, you know, evolved and kind of, the guest is a little bit, I think a little bit more sophisticated.
And what originally we thought it's now kind of like we're thinking about business travelers and it being, you know, really good for a lot of people. I've stayed in a lot of Moxies and I think [00:29:00] my favorite time was this like couple, they were probably maybe mid sixties. And I was like, oh my gosh, do you guys, uh, how do you feel?
How do you like staying here? And they, they're like, we
We love it. We just love how it's always in this urban heartbeat of downtown. We love the accessibility of everything that we wanna do. We're never in our room, so we don't need the room to be, you know, because the rooms are 185 square feet, they're tiny rooms.
And so it was just really refreshing to kind of see and think about what that guest really is compared to thinking, oh, it's just gonna be this young traveler that, you know, it's coming with like a small bag or something like that. So I really think it captures this unique guest for Marriott.
Dan Ryan: That's interesting cuz I would always think.
The guest or potential guest or customer of a hotel as a, as a demographic. Right, right. But by
hearing about,
any, you're talking about young backpackers, but then the 60 year [00:30:00] old couple. Yeah. Who it's really a, it's like, it's a mindset. It's a psycho, yeah, psycho. Psycho.
Stephanie Hopkins: A psychographic for sure. And we say like, I think part of like all of the branding around it and the, and what we say when we're, it's really, if you're kind of young at heart, you know, that's really where that person is.
And I. . Um, it's a lot of what a lot of us want, you know, it's, you know, definitely when you're, you're traveling and you're on the go and you wanna be in the heart of the city, there's, Moxie's a great brand for that, you know? Mm-hmm. , um, if you're, you know, traveling with, with kids, maybe not so much, you know, there's not a lot of space in there for the little one.
There's not a lot of space for extra I think
Dan Ryan: that's when you have to go out into the park and twist them out there. Exactly. And. Plate . Um, so I know, like we're we're talking about these journeys, um, your journey from entrepreneur to studying design to ultimately designing the journey hotel, your journey to Marriott.
[00:31:00] Yeah. Um, I love, I love the journey. We're, um, so as you look back on your life experience and up to where you are now, and you think about the journey. forward, exciting you most about what, what you're seeing out there ahead
Stephanie Hopkins: Oh my gosh, that's a great question. Um, I think a little bit, you know, um, I think personally, I think everybody is almost like this new person's developed for a lot of people, kind of through the pandemic and stuff.
And I had a baby during that timeframe, so it's like a whole new awakening almost of me as kind of this person.
I get really excited about kind of what I don't know, learning more things, you know, kind of new frontiers I'm really excited about, like female entrepreneurs lately. And meeting with them, um, you know, there's this really cool concept in DC um, [00:32:00] by this woman named Kelsey Linz, and she did this Two Birds, um, which is this co-working Oh, wow. Yeah.
And it's
Like she, she did a presentation us. Um, and so basically it's like a Regio Emilio, the it's, and, and so the kids, a form of like education. Yeah, education for kids. And, but then there's like this need and this coworking need of parents. And I think about you and me and people who, we were talking the other day and you like, I need to get this extra space for me so I can be away from where the kids are at, or whatever.
And I was like, oh my gosh. Exactly what I need in my life right now. Yeah. Um, there's not one in Austin, so, but there, there's two, I think there's two in, one more. Oh wow. Um, so I guess, I think, like, I think that's really exciting about new concepts like that, but there's still new concepts that we haven't all thought of, that we haven't all seen, you know, and new, um, know, new projects open, new design firms to come in, new [00:33:00] ideas coming out there.
So I think the unknown of like what's ahead and where to go is really exciting to me. . Um, I think we talked about like, I think that's one thing that I'm really passionate about is you know, I work with a lot different developers and there are not a ton of women in development and I think really getting excited about how to become more involved in that and how to help, you know, get more women involved in more women kind of owning hotels and being in it.
There are definitely some out there, but there are not as many as I would like to see, so I think that's a really passionate part. Agree.
Dan Ryan: When I go to some of these more. and the ownership investment side conferences. And you look, go into this room and it's, it's mostly all men in suits. And then usually there's a couple of women in suits and they tend to be working the law firms, right?
Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . And, but I am seeing more women entrepreneurs do this and to hear about this Kelsey [00:34:00] Linz person and her co-working childcare. That is amazing.
Stephanie Hopkins: That's such a, concept that I'm like, yeah, why hasn't anybody thought of this before? Or why maybe there are people doing it. But I, I just was, it was, it kind of really blew me away.
And just thinking about what in my current stage of life, like that ticks all the boxes of what I kind of need. Mm-hmm. . Right. You know, um,
Dan Ryan: what's interesting is here in Marin hq, the spaces up are very flexible. kind of like a co-working space. Yes. In a way with lots of collaboration. And then there's childcare.
There's childcare in the building on the second or third floor. Yeah. Which amazing.
Stephanie Hopkins: Yes. That's amazing. And I think this was kind of, I think thinking about it through the pandemic and like when we weren't all in office and this was, our building wasn't even open then. Right? They were still, it was still under construction.
It does, it wasn't even open. But I think just, you know, being remote and working remote and of, you know where that is and just, I this sounds dreamy.
[00:35:00] excited. So I just, I think there's a lot. I feel like New Horizons. Mm-hmm. coming up. I just feel like there's a little bit of, you know, I still think everybody's still dealing, obviously with effects of the pandemic still, you know, dealing with, you know, covid and Covid restrictions within, you know, um, and all of the implications around that, the supply chain delays and every, that's still such a reality of everything that we deal with on a daily basis.
But I just feel like there's this whole. I don't know, new horizon coming that we can't really see what it is. You know? I think everybody reacted instantly after the pandemic and became one way, and now I think it's gonna correct maybe the way that it's gonna be moving forward. Yeah.
Dan Ryan: Almost like down a different path.
Stephanie Hopkins: It's like, oh wait, we did do that. And I think it being okay that we did it one way. Mm-hmm. right after the pandemic, but it wasn't necessarily, or we should be, let's self-correct and get into this path. So I just feel like that happening kind of a lot in a lot of different conversations lately.
So for me, [00:36:00] just to get back to the point, I think it's just unknown of what's ahead, I think is really exciting for me. Mm-hmm. , um, and I love the quarter life chapters. I always think of like, okay, well this is like, um,
you know,
you know, how many more careers and jobs am I gonna have? Like I, you know, I did the entrepreneur, I'm in the hospitality design, you know, mom, I've added that onto my resume, you know, and so what are the.
Things that are coming forward for me.
Dan Ryan: I love that you just said, mom. I added that to my resume a hundred percent. Because it is more than a job. Oh my gosh. It's, it's a journey. It's a journey. It's, it is.
Stephanie Hopkins: I've said this the other day, is my most favorite role I have had in my life Yeah. I'm loving it.
So it's, um, it's, it's, it's really fun and great.
Dan Ryan: um,
So as far as, you know, we talked about what's exciting you and about the future, [00:37:00] which I find like it's this new path that's opened up and we kind of, it's a little unknown. It's exciting, and also it could be a little unnerving, right? Yeah. So if you think about what's keeping you up at night on unnerving what's that?
Stephanie Hopkins: Oh, I guess, I think more so of, um, what does that all mean, I guess? . You know, I think, I think also like all we're talking so much about sustainability and with kind of all of the news, um, you know, sustainability coming up and I think thinking about the big of it all of sometimes gets a little bit overwhelming. are we all gonna make this impact? How are we going, how's this gonna affect all of us in the future? What is it gonna be like, you know, for our kids down the road? Like we're having all of these, you know, seeming. Crazy weather events even happening now and, you know, and, and what does all of that look like for the future?
So that part I think kind of is a [00:38:00] little bit like, it feels really big. Yeah. And really insurmountable. And, but I think thinking about the little pieces of what I do personally, professionally, um, you know, what those little things I can be a part of, help me kind of get through that, you know, and, but I think the unknown. me, but I'm also like, I wish I knew what was for me, kind of, you know, or, or in this or that, but you never know.
Dan Ryan: So it re, it resonates with me when you said it was like, it's like really big, right? Mm-hmm. , it's, it's kind of this nebulous cloud. And then whenever I, whenever I think that I think about someone, I don't where I read this or heard this, but it's, someone said, you know, you know the best way to eat an element.
It's one bite at a time. Yeah. Right. So I feel like personally and professionally, we can all do things to that bite. Um, because I don't know [00:39:00] that whole, the bigness of, of those issues, it's, they're so massive. They're massive. And I just feel good knowing that I myself take little bites and the companies I work with take little bites and, which I.
and I hope, and I actually, I truly believe will turn into bigger change in the future. And you guys have been a big champion of, uh, sustainability for I think maybe big brands under. It's, yeah, and
Stephanie Hopkins: I mean, I think at this point a topic of every single conversation that we're having and how we're gonna get to the zero emissions and how we.
Start planning towards that. I don't think necessarily in, in the beginnings that. And I think seeing that evolve and how that's gonna implement and effect, um, overall is gonna be really exciting to see. It's just, and there's a lot, there's a, there's a lot of [00:40:00] people working on it. Um, and I just am taking like kind of what I can, like you know, small portion of what I can do just for me and my projects I work on and.
can this one project make a couple more until we get to kind of what those regulations are? Not regulations, but what would we kind of wanna like implement across the board? Yeah. So, um, and you know, that's also how I do it like personally is what can I kind of do personally around to, be more sustainable?
Dan Ryan: And I think a another big step is you can't change anything until you start measuring it. Yes. And I. I was at a, a meeting down here between Mind Click
and Marriot the, the measuring is happening. And you know what, sometimes we might not like what we're seeing, but once we know what a baseline is, we can improve from there.
And I don't know. It's, we gotta, we gotta, we, we can't bury our heads in the sand. [00:41:00] We gotta look, measure, see what impacts are across everything, and then we can all make changes. , I think having those goals front and center, and I'm so excited to hear that they're happening in every conversation. Because I remember in like 2008, they
were happening in every conversation
and they kind of went away.
Yeah. And now it's making a big, and maybe that's one of the things that have come out of the pandemic, like you said. Right. Maybe that's that alternate that that different path, like how can we think about things differently?
Stephanie Hopkins: Yeah. Seeing how good it was for the. Globe and Climate to not have everybody outside.
Yeah. to have everybody inside. And, um, what that kind of did for us all personally too, like that whole rebirthing kind of for everything. Yeah. I, it's, I think, you know, we are working, um, like I work, working with, you know, mind click on a project kind of, and, and how to get it
and it's,
you know, Joanna and her team are really amazing.
I think I applaud them for. [00:42:00] going down this road. It's really important. It's a big job, but it's a lot of information. Yeah. There's a lot of information out there and I think they help start to make it digestible and help designers, you know, see this approach of like how we can start to make, you know, it's the one designer at the one firm that one more sustainable product or you know, from whatever, and they look at the product from, you know, multitude of varying degrees of how it can sustainable.
Uh, like I said, I think it's all those little steps. So if the one designer at the one firm can do that, and then the one project at Marriott can do that, and then the one project here and so forth, I think those are some big, um, you know, getting to the steps until we kind of have Okay, all Marriott projects will meet and all project.
We'll start to see that around all brands. Right? Yeah. And they're getting there, there's, there's sustainability committees and, you know, there's sustainability conferences. They're we're, it's coming, you know, Yeah.
Dan Ryan: Um, [00:43:00] zooming back into where we're sitting right now and in the new headquarters, it's such a cool building and there's so many amazing features.
What's your, feature of what, what's going here?
Stephanie Hopkins: Yeah. Um, love the la Oh, the . It is good. It has always been my favorite. I, it, it's one of the things I miss a ton from when I was in New York was going to get Lalo coffee. , I'll shout out to all my Tony Chi
colleagues who we'd go for an
Um, so yeah, so I love that. I love, I think just the building in general is you had been to the Fernwood building, and I, it was really coming from New York and moving to DC and then going into the Fernwood building, it didn't really capture. , the energy and vibe that I get from a lot of the people, I'm always like amazed and surprised with the new Marriott [00:44:00] person that I meet of, this is a powerhouse team.
Mm-hmm. , you know, I wouldn't, of course not everybody always, but like there's so many smart, intelligent, this varying degrees of people here, and I think this building represents that now. Right. You get kind of that really cool design feature of it. I think overall, my favorite part of it is just being able, With the colleagues So I don't think I have like one specific spot that I'm like, oh, this is my most favorite spot. I haven't found that yet, but it's just so refreshing to be around all the and to be in person and to kind of just take a minute, say hi. to see you in Oh yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, totally.
So it's just, you know, I think all of those things of just, um, being here in person. Seeing that, that, that's probably my favorite part of it. But I think the entrance when you walk in is pretty, and the double height space is pretty show stopping.
Dan Ryan: Yeah. It [00:45:00] seems in alignment with what Marriott is all about than the fernwood building.
Like that was just like an office building. Yeah. Right. But then, but you did some cool, you, you know, you, you blew out some things and, and made it work for you guys. But I feel like this is, this is where it's always wanted to be. Yeah.
Stephanie Hopkins: And I think. And also, you know, even, you know, um, suites that were there next to the Brentwood building, I mean, this Marriott Hotel next door is Wow.
It just blows it outta the water. And then I, you know, then there's an AC at the street, um, that's kind of associated with HQ as well. That's also, you know, there, it's just, I think really everybody kind of brought their A game. So it's awesome to be here and kind of, you feel that energy and vibe I think about being.
Dan Ryan: Yeah, I'm a huge fan of the ME HQ also because we did all the furniture there, Fox. That was, that was, it's a, it's a, it's a real trophy property for us to be right across the street.
Stephanie Hopkins: Yeah. So I think that's, you [00:46:00] know, and that's a good, of the New Horizons for, and
Dan Ryan: I'm really excited for all the mama rooms to open up over there.
Yes. just talking to Bob over there and it sounds. It's all happening I, can't wait to be able to walk through the, yeah. So, yeah.
Stephanie Hopkins: So for those people who don't know Marriott, in the hotel next door is building a model room. Not for every brand, but for most brands we have, we're gonna have a model room that represents each brand.
So that's really exciting. Yeah. Um, so
Dan Ryan: especially for a lot of developers, they, they have an idea of what they want, but it's, it's so hard for people who are not you and people like you to really visual. What the 3D space is like. Yeah. How it feels. What like the touch, the feel, the whole experience. So it's, I think it'll be an amazing tool just like it was in the last place down in the basement.
But you know, you're in the basement there with back lit kind of photos of, landscape. Now you and
Stephanie Hopkins: Moxie was in a trailer. I don't know if you, did you
Monie was
in a trailer. You want?
Dan Ryan: Oh, didn't know that.
Stephanie Hopkins: Yeah, it [00:47:00] was pretty funny.
Dan Ryan: Was it an Airstream at least?
Stephanie Hopkins: No, no. It was like a container which kind of fits brand.
Right. Okay. So Boxy is gritty and has this gritty DNA to it. But, um, yeah, it's exciting and it's, I think gonna be, um, you know, I think what has been fun for me is I've done a lot more like, um, hotel tours kind of with developers Like, you know, they, they wanna do a mox. let's go here cuz what's a better experience than going and acting like, you know, like you're gonna check in on a MOI and check in at the bar and have a Moxi cocktail and kind of get the whole vibe of this space.
So I think that's been really fun to do and it'll be better now that like more are gonna open, there's gonna be more, it's gonna be easier to meet somebody somewhere and, you know, go tour the hotel. So that's really fun.
Dan Ryan: Totally. Um, well I'm excited for you. Um, I know I asked you about your favorite feature.
And being from Austin, I'm always curious, where's the best queso in Austin? Oh, that's a good question. It's a very dangerous food [00:48:00] because I can't it when I
Stephanie Hopkins: Mm. I mean, Mattel Rancho is probably one of my, it's like a Mattel Rancho. It's like a classic spot. And they have this like Bob, they have the, the queso.
You get to
roll up
up your tortillas and dip them in there. Yeah. They have the queso with like the ground beef and. You know, the guacamole all kind of combined into one big thing.
Dan Ryan: I can
can feel
feel myself getting fatter, just hearing,
Stephanie Hopkins: oh my gosh. When I used to come back to Austin when I didn't live there and I would come back, definitely had to bring a second pair of pants because I would not fit into the same, because I would eat.
Cuz I mean, there's, it's not light food. There's, it's great, I mean now there's so many other restaurants, but also the barbecue is, you know, on point and it's just, it's, there's a lot of different hotels opening there. , you know, kind of unique and, you know, boutiquey. It's, it's an exciting place to be. Well,
Dan Ryan: speaking of women entrepreneurs too, bunkhouse is really awesome because their whole leadership [00:49:00] team, I think it might be the only leadership team of a hotel brand, that it's all women. And that's pretty awesome.
Stephanie Hopkins: Yeah. And I mean, and then, you know, um, Liz Lampert, who started Bunkhouses, who she's kind of started a, a new thing herself too, and it's McGuire. Hospitality and, um, yeah, she's amazing. She's amazing. . Yeah. Definite, um, fan girl of, of Liz's and all the, the great things that she's brought to hospitality.
She was just so far ahead of her time of like, you know, thinking about El Cosmico and kind of, you know, kind of that urban camping mm-hmm. and glamping and then it's like a huge thing. And she did that years ago, you know? Um,
Dan Ryan: how old, how old were you when you. started working the Drapery Fabrication Company
Stephanie Hopkins: We were, I was young. I was 20, maybe 23, 24. 23 or [00:50:00] 24.
Dan Ryan: Okay. So I love asking this question of everyone, but like the, the Stephanie I'm talking to now, let's just say you magically appear in front of your 24 year old Oh yeah. What. Do you have for Yeah.
Stephanie Hopkins: Not that different than probably what I would say to myself now,
Um, I think, I think take a deep breath. It's all gonna work kind of how it should and in the way it It's very hard to know that in general in life, I think. And, but when I was young, I was really feeling. ungrounded, kind of, you know, untethered, I guess. Mm-hmm. and not really sure if this was the right move or this is this in kind of.
Um, and I think really, you know, I learned so much kind of being an entrepreneur and, and working [00:51:00] there and, and, everything that we did. I mean, a really, a lot of it in the, the business development I. really taking the risk. I'd always had this in my head that I wanted to do this one thing.
I wanted to go to school abroad. I wanted to go to college in a different state. I wanted to do these things, but I was always slightly timid and scared to do it, I think, and not sure of myself. And I think that really gave me the confidence and that decision to go back to school whenever most of my friends were just starting to really hit their stride in their career. really I was like, oh, I'm gonna reinvent myself and go back to school and I'm gonna go to London and do it in a completely different place where I know nobody. And, um, that decision changed my life. So I would say bet on yourself. It's a good bet. And take those risks even if you fall in your face a ton, which literally happened and figuratively happened a lot [00:52:00] through there, right?
I mean, I won't. Um, you know, but like, take the risk, like go to that school that's outta state or go to that, that abroad program, or take that trip to Japan or, um, you know, all the things that maybe people are a little bit scared of doing because of the unknown of it. Just, I would say just take the leap.
Dan Ryan: Take the leap. Mm-hmm. , I like take the leap. I like that on That's a good one.
Stephanie Hopkins: Yeah. I just, I think I definitely didn't have the same confidence level. you get more and more confident as you kind of grow up and do more as you get into the second and third quarters Yeah, and you do, but I just, I, I often, you know, especially like getting into your routine and getting bogged down into what that routine is, I really try to think about that, about, remember what made you make the decision and move.
Remember that feeling and what that is and all of. Amazing [00:53:00] things that happened afterwards that would've been really different if I wouldn't have done that. And, um, I just Yeah. Bet on yourself. that's a big move. Yeah, it was a big move. , I still, I don't, I today I was like, I wouldn't, I, I don't think I would, but I just, I, I try to remember that I say that all the time to my husband when we're talking about stuff, cuz he's done some similar things and I just am Like we're these people, let's keep being these people.
Dan Ryan: Wow. Yeah, that's a good You gotta get back to who Yeah.
Stephanie Hopkins: And for, think it gets, you know, especially as we're working further in our careers and you get, I think it sometimes gets hard to be true to yourself, especially when you're representing, you know, bigger brands and how to do it, how to bring a uniqueness to whatever your role and job is.
So, . I really try to remember that when [00:54:00] you know, try to be mm-hmm. on the project and really bring all my assets and what I have to it, Well,
Dan Ryan: grateful for all of your assets because, you know, like I said in the beginning, you're a real part of the success of this.
And, you know, I just want to say thank you and if, if, if people wanted to learn more about what you're up to with Moxie or get in touch
with you.
What's a way for
to do that?
Stephanie Hopkins: Yeah, they can email me, um, for sure. Marriott, LinkedIn, um, Instagram, all of the above. I'm, you know, available.
Dan Ryan: Awesome. Um, but I, I really want to give you a heartfelt thank you because I'm so glad we're here. I'm so glad you were like my
Stephanie Hopkins: Oh, and did tell everybody that My dream to be on a podcast .
Yes. Well, I feel like it's like this. I was like, I have wanted to be I, and this is just like the whole full [00:55:00] circle for me to be on and be a guest.
So thank you for wanting me to be a guest. Oh, that's awesome. I'm so excited to be here.
Dan Ryan: At the very least Well, now you're dream you can check the dream box. So I mean, now there has to be other dreams, right? Yeah. So now you gotta sick.
you gotta think
your, what's your next dreams?
Where, what, you know, it's like wherever we are now, or wherever we want to get to, we get there. And
then what? Right? I, I
feel like you're never, you're never done dreaming, you're never done with your goals.
Stephanie Hopkins: Even new horizons and what's out there. Yeah. There's
bunch of
new stuff that's gonna come that we don't even know. Yeah.
Dan Ryan: Well, thank you. Thank you. And you know, I also want to thank all of you people out there, the listeners. Um, without you, I wouldn't be here right now either. So we keep growing and if this has changed your mind on a journey into hospitality or how hospitality is delivered to others, uh, please pass it on.
It's all word of mouth and thank you.