Ali Buchalter

Brands are both extensions and reflections of ourselves.

From a childhood of athletics and extracurriculars to a higher education in decision theory, Ali knows a thing or two about keeping it moving.

On the ball

I have always been pretty much incapable of sitting still. Growing up, I went from the tennis courts to basketball tournaments to little league to school plays…

Pedal power

My first job was at a bike store. This is where I was first exposed to truly passionate people and saw what they were willing to do (and spend!) to feed a hobby.

A buyer’s mind

I’m fascinated by the consumers' subconscious and its role in purchase decisions -- whether it’s for smaller, consumable items such as food and beverage or for big-ticket items such as a car. Seemingly small details in the product and marketing can make big differences in our choices.

At their best, brands enable a stronger sense of personal self. You can tell a lot about a person by the brands they’re attracted to.

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Describe yourself as a young child.

I was (and still am) pretty much incapable of sitting still. I went from the tennis courts to basketball tournaments to little league to school plays… I sold my own magazine at recess, took Spanish and Italian and –

Stop. That sounds exhausting.

Right?

What was your very first paying job?

I worked at a bike store, where I was first exposed to truly passionate people and saw what they were willing to do (and spend!) to feed a hobby.

Assuming you actually sleep, what books are on your bedside nightstand right now?

Just about anything that Reese Witherspoon recommends. They always feature dominant female leads and showcase the power of women today. For non-fiction, I am in the middle of Shoe Dog. It's hard to think of another brand I connect with as much as Nike.

That makes sense given your interest in passionate engagement and brands.

Nike has always resonated with me personally. I had a serious tomboy phase as a kid and would basically only wear athletic clothes, preferably Nike. It also didn't hurt that the soccer team I got cut from was outfitted by Adidas.

They didn’t know who they were messing with. Is that how you found your way to working with brands?

I love how brands can become extensions and reflections of ourselves. At their best, brands enable a stronger sense of personal self. You can tell a lot about a person by the brands they’re attracted to.

What attracted you to consumer products?

I studied decision theory in college and am fascinated by consumers' subconscious decision-making as they shop for consumable items such as food, beverage and personal care. I love how simple, smart marketing and branding tactics can make huge impacts and determine the success of a brand. Interacting at the early stages of brand development feels really vital to me.

You don’t just work with brands. You work with entrepreneurs who create them. What traits do these people have in common?

They’re fearless, resilient and disciplined.

Sounds like a description of you age 10.

Yup. They never sit still either.

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