Hustling as an independent creative was hard before the pandemic hit – thriving in the wake of it is nothing short of miraculous.
But that’s just what Florencia Franceschetti has managed to do. Since moving to Miami, she’s made a name for herself a creative force on several fronts, from spearheading an independent magazine and radio show to founding a mobile coffee shop. Whether it’s documenting the local music scene, crafting PR releases for local entities, or brewing a mean batch, there’s little she can’t do.
Florencia shared some insight on her latest projects, pivoting during an unprecedented time, and the changes she’s seen in the Magic City firsthand.
The New Tropic: What neighborhood do you live in?
Florencia Franceschetti: Edgewater.
Tell us about your work and personal history with Miami — your day job, side-hustles, and any volunteer work all count!
I’m originally from Argentina and have been living in Miami for 12 years. I moved here as part of a work and travel program, and my first job was as a server at the Marriott Hotel that used to be on Ocean Drive and 2nd Street. After a few internships and working for some record labels I started Raygun Agency, a PR agency that evolved into a 360 marketing and production venture. We mostly work with arts, culture, hospitality, and entertainment entities here in Miami. Last year Stephany Torres joined Raygun as head of production, and the company’s capabilities have grown exponentially since.
I also founded Too Much Love, an online publication and radio show that airs every first and third Thursday of the month on Jolt Radio. Too Much Love delves into new music, local culture, art events, and other happenings. We are also getting ready to launch Too Much Love Gallery, an online art gallery where art enthusiasts will be able to purchase prints and originals by independent artists at affordable prices.
What changes have you witnessed in Miami over the course of living and working within the city?
I think analyzing the architectural and social changes along Biscayne Boulevard will give you a pretty accurate portrait of the changes that Miami has experienced over the past decade. I use Biscayne as a reference because my life here has always revolved around it in one way or another — in many ways it’s the heart of the city.
When I just moved to Miami I would take the bus from South Beach to Omni Station to go see live music, DJ sets, or just to hang out at Vagabond and at The Bar. I would cross the street walking at night and think it was a pretty scary place to be at that moment. But there was something poetic and beautiful about that grittiness. The music and culture scenes were pretty strong back then, with amazing places for live music such as Vagabond and later Grand Central. The music scene in Miami was one of the main reasons why I decided to call this city home and settle down here.
Now the landscape has changed, and with it, many places that were once cultural landmarks are gone. It leaves a sad aftertaste in my mouth, but I also like seeing how the city has become strong in other ways. Miami has become a very hot technology hub, with many entrepreneurs, investors, and both national and international companies relocating here. I think that if done right, the influx of new arrivals mixing with Miami’s cultural tradition and diversity could become a really good recipe for innovation.
What’s your favorite Miami moment, whether for the city as a whole or you personally?
One of my personal favorite moments in Miami was seeing Massive Attack and Thievery Corporation live at Bayfront Park in 2010. I remember that night being very magical; the weather was perfect for an October night, Massive Attack is a band I’ve admired since I can remember, and the show juxtaposed against the smell of the ocean and the planes passing above the stage was truly surreal.
What challenges have you faced as an independent creative navigating the pandemic?
There were many changes that I had to make. The main one was learning how to drastically adapt and pivot, particularly in the businesses I work in. With Raygun the main challenge was to start working with industries beyond just music and the arts. Before the pandemic, most of my business was dedicated to music PR, event production, and marketing for restaurants. All those were industries heavily impacted by COVID, so to be able to continue working I had to pivot and collaborate with other industries like real estate and finance. That helped me to acquire new tools, new knowledge, and actually grow my team.
With Le Jardin, I had to reinvent my entire business model, and go from a brick-and-mortar location to a mobile one with a solar-powered coffee bike.
What I found truly fascinating was that the pandemic also forced so many people that I look up to in my industry come together to help one another.
Le Jardin went through a variety of iterations before reaching its current form as a mobile, solar-powered coffee shop — can you tell readers a little bit about the journey?
Le Jardin Coffee started almost two years ago with my business partner Phil Cardona. We opened our Allapattah brick-and-mortar location in February 2020. We were forced to close our doors because of the pandemic, and our business eventually transformed into a mobile coffee shop on wheels. We have a solar-powered bike and we do pop-ups around town. We are currently stationed at Casa Florida on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. We source our coffee beans from family-owned farms in Colombia and Brazil bur roast locally in Miami. People can also buy our coffee bags online at our website. We also just launched our line of bottled cold brew. Our slogan is What’s in Your Cup?, and I think that pretty much sums up the mission of our company. I want to be able to tell our customers what they are actually drinking, where the beans we use are grown, and that the people who harvest them are treated fairly and respected.
If you could have a billboard in the middle of Downtown, what would you say on it?
Spread Love, not hate. I think it’s important to use every chance we are given to bring a little bit of positivity to people’s lives, especially with the dark moments we’ve all been going through collectively. Ideally, I’d love to feature that phrase with the artwork of a local artist and include a QR code for people to donate to different causes or non-profits that help to spread love.
What Miami organization do people need to be paying more attention to?
What local business do you think deserves a shoutout (and why)?
There are countless and it’s hard to pick just one, but I really like what the Nite Owl Drive-In cinema is doing. It makes a fun and safe way to watch great movies collectively. I really liked my experience there as well as their movie selection and curation.
Do you have any pointers on how Miamians can best support and uplift local, independent projects?
I think it would be a great idea to expand the concept of Give Miami Day and to maybe have a day of the week where Miamians would support a local independent business or artist — #MiamiMondays has a nice ring to it. People could support businesses by buying something, or even something as simple as sharing a post about them on socials.
What’s a project you’re working on (big or small) and how can New Tropic readers help you with it?
Le Jardin! It would be amazing for any coffee lovers out there to purchase a bag of our coffee online — it’s roasted in Miami with love <3