177: Nathalie Cadet-James (Luxe Fête Social)

“If we could just see each other as equals, regardless of what country you live, what your job is, what kind of house you have. At the end of the day, we love the same things: Our family, and our hope for the future for ourselves or our children. That’s what I see when I travel.” – Nathalie Cadet-James

Welcome to Season 4 of Innovation City (The Miami Edition), a podcast featuring innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency and Aīre Ventures, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community.

Today’s guest is Nathalie Cadet-James, founder and CEO at Luxe Fête Social, a luxury dinner-party-in-a-box curation and delivery service. Nathalie is a designer and international event planner. In this episode, Nathalie sits down with the team to discuss her journey to entrepreneurship, how problems are solved over dinner parties, the secret to the lost art of truly connecting, and much more! 

They discuss:

  • Nathalie’s super power is just being herself
    • It’s her life story, and who she is
  • Her interesting and windy journey
    • Nathalie is Haitan American – they moved here when she was about 2 years old
    • Her parents wanted her to be either a doctor or a lawyer
    • She did work in law, but her heart was always somewhere else
    • Then she asked what she wanted for herself, and she wanted to see the world, and realized her love of event planning could translate into a career
    • Dinner party-in-a-box concept
    • Curating experiences, cultivating connection
  • The magic ingredients for connecting
    • To be present, to know why you’re gathering
    • Talk to each other
  • Her business just makes it easy to plan a dinner party – it’s not just about the food
  • Her favorite topics for conversation starters
    • What would you have told your 18-year-old self?
    • Who would you invite to a dinner party, dead or alive?
  • Event planning
    • Nathalie’s most notable events
      • One of Hillary Clinton’s dinner parties
      • A wedding in Rwanda 
  • What Nathalie has learned about herself through her journey
    • She has a purpose
    • She’s strong
    • She sees the world so much differently
  • Lessons the universe keeps trying to teach her
    • It’s showing her that she is resilient
    • To let go of things, especially “control”
  • Some of the greatest challenges of being an entrepreneur
    • Raising capital
    • Starting up any business
    • The challenge of going beyond herself to improve
  • What she’s learned about operating a business from a point of interdependence
    • Every great thing she’s done has been bigger than just herself
  • Rebuilding the world after the pandemic
    • It can’t happen individually
    • We have to work together
    • ‘As one’
  • On being an entrepreneur and a mom
    • Her husband recently said, “thanks for putting us first on your plate”
    • She has 11- and 13-year-old daughters
    • Everything she does, she does through the lens of her daughters
  • The holiday card
    • She does a styled photo shoot
    • It’s to keep in touch with people, in a time when it’s so easy to lose touch
    • People really look forward to it
  • Nathalie likes a clean workspace to start, but once she gets in the zone, neatness goes right out the window
  •  How she navigated the transition from her legal career to starting her own business
    • It was a shock to everyone
    • It was difficult
    • She has no regrets
    • Whenever she falls, she tries to fall forward
    • Law school gave her the confidence to know she could swim in any water
  • The grand vision for Luxe Fête Social
    • To change the way we dine, entertain and connect
    • To make people feel celebrated
    • So much happens in the world over dinner parties
    • She hopes to inspire people, take away the fear over having a dinner party
  • Get in touch

Lightning Round:

What makes you feel loved?

  • My family’s laughter

What have you witnessed that has strengthened your faith in humanity?

  • A mother’s love. Sacrifices my parents and grandparents made for us

What would you do if you were not afraid?

  • Jump out of an airplane

What can you do now that you could not do a year ago?

  • Dance hip hop

What gives you goosebumps?

  • Great storytelling and movies

What is your perfect day?

  • Waking up to the sun, not an alarm clock. Eating well. Not having to be anywhere. Knowing my family and friends are healthy and happy.