Marisa Hochberg

Founder of MJHamptons Health and Wellness

Marisa Hochberg was born and raised on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. During her childhood, she loved hosting dinner parties and exploring brand campaigns. In the summers, she would take trips to the town of Montauk on Long Island, New York. These trips are what she credits for the inspiration behind her career.

Marisa attended the Ramaz School, also located in New York City, where she was bullied for being overweight. After graduating from that institution, she attended the University of Michigan where she developed a case of panic disorder and continued to struggle with her weight. After two years, Marisa transferred to New York University College of Arts and Sciences and decided to change her life. She overcame her panic disorder and lost 75 pounds through a program of her own devising, primarily by switching to a healthy diet and exercising daily. Much of this weight loss was accomplished in her childhood vacation spot in Montauk, where she spent time exercising outdoors, visiting farm stands to buy fresh produce, and learning to cook healthy meals.

Once she lost a good deal of weight and learned to manage her anxiety, Marisa gained the confidence to attend social events and networking events. Eventually, she would fly throughout the country and the world to meet with CEOs and leaders from all walks of life to inspire others to make healthy changes in their own lives. Through social media, she gained many thousands of followers worldwide, some of whom would reach out to her and say that because of her story, they became committed to losing weight and adopting a healthy lifestyle. It is Marisa’s followers that inspire her daily to maintain her healthy lifestyle and work hard at maintaining her mental health.

Marisa Hochberg’s weight loss occurred as the health wellness industry began to gain popularity among the public. She began her career by taking marketing and branding positions with many wellness companies, including Equinox, WTRLMN WTR, and Lifeway Foods. Marisa’s knowledge of The Hamptons and Montauk combined with her knowledge of the burgeoning social media phenomenon of Instagram and her expertise within the wellness industry made her the perfect candidate to fuse her knowledge and create her own marketing firm representing wellness brands across The Hamptons and Montauk. However, despite Montauk’s trendy status, the town was being left out of the wellness scene. When Marisa noticed this, she approached the owner of The Surf Lodge, a local hotel and restaurant, and founded their wellness program. This enabled them to bring in celebrity trainers and renowned wellness speakers such as Esther Perel and Dave Asprey. Under Marisa’s leadership, many wellness brands and products extended their operations to that same place.

As Marisa continued to make inroads as the Wellness Director at The Surf Lodge, she was promoted to their Vice-President of Brand Partnerships. In this new role, she oversaw all brand partnerships ranging from wellness companies to concert series sponsors to lifestyle partnerships. After her promotion, Marisa was responsible for opening The Surf Lodge’s sister property, The Snow Lodge Aspen, where she oversaw all brand partnerships, decor, press, events, and marketing. Some of her work included partnerships with world famous chef Jean Georges at The Surf Lodge, as well as partnerships with Volvo, Polestar Cars, Casamigos, Bumble, Serena and Lily, Dante, Redbull, Samsung, Free People, Blade, Sakara Life, Supergoop!, Nespresso, OGX, PAX, and AMEX, among others.

In 2018, Marisa flew to LA and designed an exclusive clothing line for The Surf Lodge with the co-founder and CEO of Monrow Clothing. She was then able to get this line sold in high-end retailers, such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstroms.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Marisa Hochberg was responsible for bringing The Surf Lodge’s world-famous concert series to a digital platform through a partnership with Bumble and Governor’s Ball. The concert series was streamed and viewed worldwide. In addition, she ran The Surf Lodge Art Basel events. In 2019, Marisa was asked by the owner of The Surf Lodge to become her partner in an outpost in Montauk called The Sanctuary, a storefront and fitness studio that was home to the hottest boutique fitness workouts and also curated beauty and fitness products. As co-owner of The Sanctuary, Marisa was responsible for curating all programming, and she persuaded the clothing brand Free People Movement to fund the project.

At this point, Marisa was asked by Cristina Cuomo, the founder and editor of The Purist Magazine, to join The Purist sales team. She currently drives ad sales to their markets in New York, The Hamptons, Palm Beach, Miami, Aspen, and Los Angeles.

Simultaneously, Marisa runs her own branding and marketing firm, MJHamptons Health and Wellness, where she represents clients ranging from wellness, lifestyle, and hospitality brands to public companies, focusing on the Hamptons, Aspen, and Miami markets. While her roster of clients ranges from public companies to boutique brands, Marisa’s ability to cater partnerships and programming to each brand—regardless of their size—is where her unique talent lies.

Marisa Hochberg also strongly believes in giving back to the community. In 2020, she was asked to speak about her role as the Vice-President of Brand Partnerships for the Surf Lodge Montauk and the Snow Lodge Aspen by the UJA Young Leaders Collective. Additionally, she serves on the board of Lung Force NYC and is an advocate for lung cancer research after losing her mom to the disease in 2017. Marisa also serves on the board of the Parrish Art Museum’s Next Council Committee. Marisa has served on the board of Shalva, JNF, and Park East Synagogue’s Young Professional Committee.

Each day, Marisa takes great pride in remembering how far she has come from the girl who was bullied for being overweight and suffering from extreme anxiety to the woman who travels across the world meeting with fortune 500 CEOs of wellness and lifestyle brands. She hopes to prove that if you persevere and focus on cultivating your talents and doing what you love, anyone can overcome the obstacles in their life and accomplish anything they desire.

Where did the idea for your career come from?

I grew up going to Montauk and the Hamptons during my summers. In fact, that village served as the setting for where I lost a lot of weight and adopted a healthy lifestyle, so it holds a very special place in my heart. I bore witness as Montauk changed from a fisherman’s village to a very popular travel destination virtually overnight. I watched as tons of influencers and international travelers flocked there, and I saw that there was a lack of wellness programming. There was a lot of art and musical programming in the village, but the wellness trend seemed to stop in the towns before Montauk. I wanted to bring the weight loss tactics that I had used to the village that meant so much to me, so that’s where the idea for my company came from. After that, I started getting into more partnerships. Now I work with hospitality and lifestyle brands in addition to wellness brands.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I wake up and get my day started around 7 am. I start with coffee and water because it’s important to stay hydrated. From there, I try to work out or take a walk around the block just to clear my head. After that, I look at my email and social media accounts because that’s a big part of my business, especially with regards to seeing new brands and conducting marketing. Then I answer emails and meet with clients in person or on Zoom and form different activations and plan upcoming events for them.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I pitch things that I know will be a success. I like to do a lot of research on a brand prior to pitching an event because I think it’ll only come to life if there’s a lot of research behind it and I’m well-acquainted with the consumer demographic that I’m going after. I work a lot on getting that kind of background knowledge, then I talk to the client and try to sell them on the idea. After that, the execution of an idea is really about staying in contact with everyone who’s working on the project. It’s difficult to rely on other people, so I find I have to stay on top of something myself in order to see it come to life.

What’s one trend that excites you?

One thing I like right now is brands that are coming back post-COVID and doing these unique activations with a lot of thought and effort going into them and having real life, in-person interactions.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Time management. A lot of people think that you can take time off and take vacations whenever you want to when you’re an entrepreneur, but that’s not the case. You can be a little more flexible with your schedule because you don’t have a boss to report to, but at the end of the day, you still have clients that are paying you and you have to get the work done.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Take risks and don’t be afraid. When I was younger, I had very bad anxiety about leaving home, but it’s so important to see other parts of the country and the world as an entrepreneur because it broadens the mind and fosters creativity. Other cultures and destinations provide a lot of inspiration for event ideas and activation ideas. I would tell my younger self to take those trips alone; don’t be afraid to take the risk and take advantage of being young.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

It’s better for everyone that I don’t drive. I grew up in the city, so I never got my license even though everyone thinks I should.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

One thing you really need to do is sit down at least once a week and have a confidence pep talk with yourself. These days, with social media, you see other entrepreneurs or other people talking about how they’ve accomplished this thing or how they’re at this event and it makes you feel like you haven’t accomplished enough. But you don’t know what’s happening with them behind the scenes or beyond the confines of social media. It’s important not to compare yourself to others and to take time to look at your accomplishments for the week or month or quarter and pat yourself on the back because nobody else is going to do that for you. That’s the only way that you’re going to keep moving forward. Networking is also very important as an entrepreneur.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Networking. Even if I’m super tired and it’s been a long day, if there’s an event that I’ve been invited to, I’ll get dressed, go to the event, put a smile on, and speak to as many people as possible. I’ll put myself out there so I can meet people in my field who can be mentors or future collaborators. The more you grow your network and the more connections you have, the better. That’s how you grow a business.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I think my biggest failure as an entrepreneur is trusting people in the business world too much and mixing friendship and emotions with business. I had to learn the hard way not to do that. There was once a female CEO that I became really good friends with, but when it came time to sign a contract, I saw what type of person she was. Needless to say, the contract didn’t get signed and I learned my lesson. You have to keep your business relationships as business relationships and your friendships as friendships. You can mix them sometimes, but you have to be very careful to avoid getting hurt.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A good idea for an invention or an app would be something that reminds you to put out candles at night. I love burning candles, but I’m always afraid of falling asleep without putting them out.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I took my dad out for Father’s Day. He’s done so much for me and been such a role model throughout my life. He’s fallen on a lot of hard times, like losing his father when he was 18, then we lost my mom five years ago and she was the love of his life. He still looks on the positive side of everything even though he’s had some truly difficult losses. Taking him out and hearing him tell stories and making him happy just made me feel good inside. That was definitely the best $100 I’ve spent lately.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I would say it’s Winmo, which is a platform that gives you access to a lot of information on people at different companies. I use it to essentially collect contacts of different professionals in order to reach out for brand partnerships and marketing purposes.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg. She wrote it with a famous psychologist from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania about how she lost her husband suddenly while they were on a trip to Mexico. Option A would be having him alive still and experiencing life with him, but she had to learn to accept option B because she didn’t have a choice. The book illustrates how resilience is elastic and you have to build that proverbial muscle, so that it’s easier to accept option B when you have no other choice. It helps you to understand how to overcome the challenges that come with losing a loved one or a job or anything like that. I think that we can all use that kind of psychology in our lives.

What is your favorite quote?

It’s a quote by Steve Jobs that says, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.”

Key Learnings:

  • Networking is the best way to grow a business.
  • Be very careful about mixing business relationships and friendships. It can be done, but only with people that you truly trust.
  • Make a conscious effort to sit down and review and celebrate your own accomplishments every once in a while.
  • Comparing your life to the lives of others through social media is a fool’s errand because their profiles are often not accurate depictions of themselves.