The waterside abode is where the haircare guru practices her self-care routines.
Inside Founder of Crown Affair Dianna Cohen’s Light-Filled Miami Apartment
The waterside abode is where the haircare guru practices her self-care routines.
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this installment, we tour CEO and Founder of Crown Affair Dianna Cohen's modern apartment in Miami.
"I’ve always been passionate about hair care since I was young," Dianna Cohen shares with Bed Threads Journal. And while she didn't know that later in life she would have a career in the beauty industry, the now CEO and founder of the highly successful haircare brand, Crown Affair, has well and truly embraced this life love and turned it into a full-time job. "I’m deeply curious about hair – it’s a meaningful part of all of our identities."
Dianna studied art history in college and has worked in the consumer space over the last decade. She started at Into The Gloss in 2012 which further fuelled her personal interest in all things beauty. From there she went on to work for a number of high-growth consumer startups before diving headfirst into starting her own company.
In creating Crown Affair, Dianna wanted to produce clean and effective formulas and handcrafted tools that not only transform the health of your hair but your relationship with it. The aptly named brand is deeply rooted in her personal haircare rituals. "I firmly believe that putting effort into taking care of yourself – whether through exercise, healthy eating, skincare, or haircare – your body and mind will synchronize, leading to a sense of empowerment and self-assurance."
Her bright and airy apartment in Miami is her stylish base where she practices her self-care routines. The biggest drawcard of the space is the outlook. "The view really did it for me. I love living near the water, it totally transforms my mental well-being." This uninterrupted view can be taken in from the balcony or the floor-to-ceiling windows which flood each space with natural light. Layered in calming blue, green, and neutral tones, the home draws on the surrounding landscape's tones and appears clean and chic.
Unsurprisingly, given her interest in art history, art plays a central role in the home's aesthetic. An eclectic mix of works by Sho Shibuya, Skylar Fein, and Miya Ando enliven the walls. For the primary bedroom, Sage and White linen add to the light and fresh vibe. "It feels very calming, which I love after a long work day on the other side of my place, in the office."
Below, take a tour of Dianna's waterside apartment and read about her advice for those wanting to start their own business, her top haircare tips, and her favourite pieces in her home.
Hi Dianna! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
Hi, I’m Dianna, CEO and Founder of Crown Affair. We are a haircare brand that creates clean and effective formulas and handcrafted tools that not only transform the health of your hair but your relationship with it.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
It’s my personal mission to make and put things into the world that transform the way people feel about themselves. The act of ‘making’ is deeply embedded into my personality and shows up in all of us creatively – however, each of us uniquely connects the dots to create our own magic.
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in the beauty industry?
Over the last decade I’ve worked in the consumer space, starting out first at Into The Gloss back in 2012. It opened my eyes to the power of beauty to connect us more deeply online. Afterwards, I worked for a number of high-growth consumer startups, including Away, Outdoor Voices, Harry's, Spring, and Tamara Mellon. I’ve always been passionate about hair care since I was young. I’m deeply curious about hair – it’s a meaningful part of all of our identities – so while I didn’t know I would go into the beauty industry, I’m grateful to be in a category in that industry I’ve always loved.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
I’m a highly visual person. I studied Art History in college, so I tend to start by gathering works and references that move me. Creativity is often how you put things together, and that action can inspire something else entirely new. I really enjoy physical things. I’ll thumb through vintage National Geographic or Architectural Digests. I enjoy spending Sunday sitting at my coffee table with a great art book. Gallery categories or a catalogue raisonne from Ruscha or Rothko is always reliable for creative inspiration. It may feel like everything is online these days, but it’s not – I’ve found gems in these books and publications. Ed Ruscha’s Gagosian catalogue from his 2008 show is a core inspiration for the Crown Affair visual literacy.
What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to further your career?
Be kind to everyone. Relationships are everything. Take time to connect with people and really listen. It’s truly a journey, relationships always come full circle.
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your career?
The people I’ve met along the way. I’m also really proud of our 8-week mentorship program at Crown Affair, Seedling. Maya Angelou said it best: “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” So many people focus on the what when working with consumer brands. It’s never really about the product, there’s a bigger why, and seeking that has been the best way to build my career.
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to start their own business?
Just start. Focus on sharing what you’re doing and find your people. Even if you don’t have a final product yet – form a group, it can be online, IRL, wherever. People want to support what they’re a part of building, so even though it’s hard to put things into the world that aren’t ‘done’ or ‘perfect’, you’ll get much further by sharing the process will people. And you’ll get a lot of feedback and learn more along the way.
Can you walk us through your typical self-care routine?
My rituals are a core part of my life. In the morning I make time to journal (The Five Minute Journal) and do 3 stream-of-consciousness pages called ‘Morning Pages’. I make time to stretch for 15-20 minutes while listening to a poetry podcast, and then begin my work day with a coffee. Stretching is a form of meditation and a way to slow down and connect with my body. For my evening winding-down, I’ll make some tea, brush my hair for a few minutes, and open a book until lights out.
Why do you think having a self-care routine is important?
Our bodies are reflections of our wellbeing. I firmly believe that putting effort into taking care of yourself – whether through exercise, healthy eating, skincare, or haircare – your body and mind will synchronize, leading to a sense of empowerment and self-assurance.
What are your top haircare tips?
Hair is such a cool and fascinating fibre. Taking time to learn about yours (we all have unique hair) is a beautiful journey I hope everyone gets to experience. As a fibre (like any fibre – think of bedding!) it swells when it’s wet and it’s more prone to breakage. Every touchpoint of caring for your hair counts, so use a microfiber towel to dry your hair faster and much smoother and softer. For detangling when wet, use a wide-tooth comb. Only brush dry hair— I swear by brushing for health, not just for styling! A dual bristle board and nylon brush will move the natural healthy oils from your scalp to your ends. The quality of the formulas you use is everything. Everything. Like food, use high-quality ingredients to deliver the best results. Hydrating products will help manage frizz or flyaways. When your hair is frizzy, it’s reaching to the sky for more moisture, so take the time to understand what your hair needs post-wash. Start with a Leave-In Conditioner and /or hair oil to moisturise your strands.
Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
I’ve lived in my current home in Miami for almost two years.
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
The view really did it for me. I love living near the water, it totally transforms my mental well-being.
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
We didn’t, we’ll likely invest in renovations in our longer-term home in the future.
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
This is actually all of our stuff from when we moved from New York City! My husband lived there for 15 years, I was there for 12, so we had a lot of things. We’ve made some small tweaks to make it feel more suited for Miami, but the energy of our furniture, art, everything was rooted in our time there.
What are your favorite pieces in the home?
My favourite art pieces at home include pieces from Sho Shibuya, Skylar Fein, and Miya Ando. Miya is the artist of the bodhi leaf mandala behind our couch. She made it for us for our wedding, each guest put a bodhi leaf into the mandala as a wish for the couple. It was a beautiful ritual and has a lot of meaning to us. The sunrise on the New York Times by Sho Shibuya is my other favourite piece – he did all of the art direction for my brand. He painted the sunrise on our wedding date.
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
I don’t have an indoor dining table in the current space, so I’m dreaming of finding the perfect one, one day.
Which is your favorite room in the house?
I love my bedroom. It’s really peaceful and simple. We don’t have a TV in there, I just enjoy hanging out and reading. It feels very calming, which I love after a long work day on the other side of my place, in the office.
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What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?
Take time to find pieces that feel special and unique to you. It’s easy to see things that are popular online and fantasise how it could live in your space, but gather objects and meaningful items (it can be a splurge item or something cool from your hometown thrift store!). That’s where the special comes in.
Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?
I’m really excited about the year ahead for Crown Affair. We have a styling product that launches in early 2023 I’m so thrilled with – it’s innovative for the category. I’m also excited to keep working on designing our office in the Lower East Side in New York. We’ll be celebrating our 3rd birthday as a business there in the new year, and I can’t wait to gather our full team in that space.