- Emily Goldfischer
Inspiring Pair: Roseline & Roselaine Bien-Aime
No, you're not seeing double. Roseline and Roslaine are twin sisters who began their hospitality careers over twenty years ago as pool attendants at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel while still in high school as part of an innovative tourism study program that is now the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism. Though they live on opposite sides of the country today, they have recently embarked on an entrepreneurial project together, The Bien-Aime Collection of luxury, hand-made candles. We chat with this dynamic duo to learn more about their career paths in the hotel business and how the side-hustle is going.
You both started as pool attendants at Loews Miami Beach Hotel while in high school?
Both: Yes, we both attended Miami Beach Senior High School and joined the "Academy of Travel and Tourism" our sophomore year. The program is now is called the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism. This is when we first fell in love with the industry. The Academy operates as a small learning community. Now established in more than 110 high schools nationwide, The Academy provides public high school students with the knowledge and skills for a successful career in travel. During our junior year, we were required to do an internship in the field and we were lucky to be hired by Loews Miami Beach as pool attendants.
How did each of you move up the ladder?
Roseline: I never left Loews because I love it and have worked here since 2000! Between 2000-2007 – I held various positions at the property (pool, fitness, kids camp, reservations agent, group reservations coordinator, hostess, and gained banquet experience). Debbie Castillo, who is very well respected in our industry became my mentor during my time in Group Reservations. There is a funny story behind how she and I connected. As a child I would speak fast especially when I was excited – no one had ever pointed it out. I left Debbie a voice message and later that day she called me into her office. She played the voice message and I was mortified!! I spoke so quickly, I did not even understand what I had said to her. Debbie became my mentor on that day – and still is. She took me under her wing and helped me improve my presentation skills and taught me how to slow down my speech. We laugh about this every time we see each other. A sales admin position became available and I transferred over to the sales department. After just 6 months in the role, Debbie believed in me so much, that she promoted me to Sales Coordinator. I have held various positions in the department. Today, I manage the West Coast Market and small groups.
Roselaine: From 2000-2010, I worked at the Loews as a pool attendant, kids camp coordinator, room service amenity supervisor, part-time hostess at Preston's Restaurant, part-time retail associate, group reservation coordinator, and executive assistant to the Vice President of Sales & Marketing (Debbie Castillo). I left Loews in 2008 and it was so hard to find a job because of the recession that took place right after. I bounced around when I left the hotel from a part-time sales associate at BeBe, spa attendant at The Mondrian, makeup artist at Mac cosmetics, to name a few. After two years, I managed to get a full-time job at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel as a public relations assistant. I loved working at the Fontainebleau. I was promoted several times and worked as a PR coordinator and finally marketing manager before moving to California. I worked at Fontainebleau for 7 years. Currently, I’m working at CBRE as a marketing coordinator.
During the decade you both worked at Loews Miami Beach, did you ever pretend to be one another to avoid an annoying guest or colleague?
Roselaine: That may have been a fun experiment to try but we never did go through with it at the hotel. It was very confusing for people when we both started working at Loews Miami Beach Hotel. There were many moments of awkward silence and stares. Our co-workers eventually figured it out after speaking to us. Our common response to people was “you probably know or spoke to my twin.” Their looks were priceless.
How would you describe each other?
Roseline: I would say, my twin (Roselaine), is way more creative than I am. She’s a lefty and I am a righty. I work better with numbers (love math) and her creative side is truly amazing. I think she tends to be the more serious twin and I am a bit more outgoing.
At what point did your careers diverge?
Roseline: When Debbie became my mentor. Before that, I was unsure which area I wanted to focus on within the industry. I am glad I ended up in Sales
Roselaine: I would say after I left the Loews and was hired at Fontainebleau. I didn’t realize how much I loved marketing and design until I worked there.
Roseline, you’ve worked your way up in sales. What do you love about it?
I LOVE meeting different people from all over the world and creating relationships. Selling our beautiful property, telling clients how amazing our team members are, achieving my goal, entertaining clients, and so much more. My next step is to become a Director of Group Sales, which I am currently pursuing by managing larger groups.
Roselaine, what do you love about your job at CBRE in LA? What's next?
The freedom my boss gives me. At CBRE, we’re all working from home now. This is a tremendous benefit having kids and working full-time is not easy. She trusts me to get my job done and I always do. As for the next steps in my career, I’m really invested in becoming a Graphic Designer/Marketing Specialist, and on the side, I have been learning coding.
Speaking of "on the side," you created a candle company during the pandemic?
Roseline: Yes, while I was on furlough in 2020 I decided to take a candle-making course online. I love candles (the romantic side of me LOL) and always wanted to learn how to make my own. It was a difficult time for me personally, besides all the uncertainty around the pandemic, our father was very sick with cancer.
Between taking care of my dad and being off work, candle-making was my refuge. Throughout the course, I was fascinated by the art of candle making. From the types of waxes that are used, wicks, packaging, safety, equipment used, and even how it impacts our environment. When friends and family liked my candles, I thought it might lead to another form of income.
So I turned to my sister for her great creativity and marketing savvy to help me create a brand that was beautiful, sophisticated, and chic. We worked on the company together and she became my business partner, we launched the Bien-Aime Collection in January 2021. All the candles are hand-poured and made from 100% soy, free from toxins, paraben, and phthalate, made from renewable sources in Miami. As for the packaging and marketing, I’ve learned so much about branding from Roselaine, I don’t know what I would have done without her. Sadly, our dad passed away on August 16, 2021, so he only saw the beginning of our business.
What a beautiful tribute to your father, tell me more about the Bien-Aime Collection.
Roseline: The name Bien-Aime means beloved, darling, well-loved, and more in French. The collection was inspired by destinations around the world that have special places in our hearts or we look forward to traveling to one day.
Roselaine: Our signature candle is in a ceramic pineapple, the L'ananas Collection, this is our nod to our background, the fragrance symbolizes intangible assets we appreciate in a home: warmth, comfort, and hospitality.
For Black History Month, we’ve been celebrating Black women making history in hospitality. Do you feel hospitality is getting better at inclusion?
Roseline: I think it is getting better and I hope it continues to do so. It is always a positive sign when you can see yourself represented by leadership, role models, and game-changers in the field. I am a go-getter, so my tenure with Loews Hotels has been a wonderful experience.
Roselaine: I 100% agree with my sister.
What do you feel needs to change for Black women in hospitality?
Roseline: The hotel industry should continue to focus on growing the number of Black-owned hotels, management companies, and supplier businesses. The number of Black women in leadership positions will grow, and the industry will become more inclusive when the ownership and investment side of the hospitality business is more diverse.