On Thursday November 9th, I was given the honor of attending Bradford Randâ€™s (President/ CEO of Job Expo International and RAND Luxury Inc.) Luxury Product Showcase: The Luxury Review.
This was an exclusive press showcase and intimate shopping experience which, for the first time, allowed consumers to purchase the latest in luxury products. The myriad of brands stretched across multiple industries including: automotive, jewelry, cosmetics, private aviation, resorts, spirits, electronics, home design and more. Even better, a portion of all sales from the night went to benefit The American Red Cross.
I arrived at The Peterson Auto Museum at 6060 Wilshire Blvd with my good friend and photographer Jade Blairs. We were fashionable early and many of the booths were still being set up. I wasnâ€™t exactly sure what to expect since this was my first â€œLuxury Review.â€ We didnâ€™t really know where to start so we decided to walk around and see what there was to see.
I turned the corner and I was stopped by a woman with a big smile and some very special soap. Ayana Cahrr introduced herself to us and told me all about Ya Yaâ€™s African Black Soap. There was a bowl of samples that I thought somewhat resembled bits of tree bark. Then she told me that tree bark was actually one of the all natural ingredients along with, plantain extract, cocoa and palm leaf oil.Â She then gave me a piece and I proceeded to wash my hands with this mysterious soap that she said also, â€œkills bacteria under the skin.â€ Then her handsome assistant Antone gave me a gentle hand massage with a delicious V-shea (Vanilla) scented Genuine Hobo Shea Bodi-Butter.Â Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ve heard of Shea Butter before, but what you may not know is that the nut that is used to make shea butter comes from trees found solely in the West African savanna. I also learned that the making of shea butter is exclusively a female activity. Shea butter is sometimes called “women’s gold,” because extracting the butter from the nuts gives employment and income to hundreds of thousands of rural African village women.
In fact the entire company was created by Raymond D. Williams who Cahrr respectfully referred to as Mr. Williams seven years ago with â€œa mission to support women.â€ Williams spent his childhood in Texas in 20 different foster homes and he developed a special bond to one woman, Elana May Robinson, who he referred to as his Grandmother. He had such strong appreciation and respect for her that to show his thanks, he would wash her feet. She told him, â€œWith those magic hands, you are going to work wonders.â€ I guess she was right, because now genuine Hobo soaps and shea butters are available at participating Whole Foods Markets and every Sunday 9am to 5pm you can find Ayana and her team at The Melrose Trading Post where they give hand and foot washes and massages with these wonderful products.
With my newly soft and massaged hands we made our way to the next booth of luxury, Haas Entertainment, â€œSouthern Californiaâ€™s leading audio and video solutions provider for your home vehicles and business.â€ This display showed a large flat screen TV showing clips from various action films and then switched to a Dave Matthewâ€™s Band concert. The main showcase was a beautiful black Porsche.
I introduced myself to the president of the company Jeff Haas. He gave me a huge grin and repeated my name back and spelled it, to my astonishment, correctly. There are members of my family who still donâ€™t spell it right. He then added to my shock by saying that his motherâ€™s name is also Liesl. Well that was all it took, Jeff and I became instant friends. He invited me to sit in the drivers seat of the Porsche and his assistant George showed me the amazing sound system.
Now, I havenâ€™t had the pleasure of sitting in many Porsches, but I did notice that there was nothing that stood out to me that indicated the sound system had been changed or altered. George explained that they take special care to keep the car as original as possible and most of the audio equipment is installed through the inside of the car so that it maintains its look and perfection. The sound was crisp and clear and the song list came directly from his iPod onto the navigation touch screen so there would be no need to fiddle with the iPod while trying to change songs. He turned up the volume of the Frank Sinatra song we were hearing to an alarmingly loud volume.
I looked at Jade, who was standing just outside the window, expecting her to notice the change in volume and to see other people noticing it as well, but no one had even turned a head. I called to Jade to get her opinion of the sound and she told me that she couldnâ€™t even hear it. I looked at George with my confused face and he just smiled at me. I guess thatâ€™s all part of the magic of Haas Entertainment. I thanked George and Jeff for my tour and we moved on.
â€œWhat should we do next?â€ I asked Jade, and she responded â€œitâ€™s time for a drink,â€ and I followed her desperate gaze to a large setup where a woman was preparing some very tasty looking pink beverages. The tasty beverage was called a Porton Sparkler. Rachel Bennet was the woman pouring this tasty concoction of champagne, grapefruit juice, club soda and an interesting new liquor called Pisco Porton. This spirit is in a category of itâ€™s own and is described as â€œmore flavorful than vodka and more subtle than tequila.â€
She offered me a shot. I took it hesitatingly, especially when she told me it was 86 proof. This gave a whole new meaning to drinking on the job, but I am a serious journalist and I have to get the full experience in order to share with all of you. So, I shot it back and was surprised that it actually did taste like a combination of vodka and tequila. It went down smooth, but I still made my usual shot face. (Sorry, there will be no picture posted of that!) Rachel then told us that Pisco Porton is made completely of distilled grapes and although I had never heard of this spirit, it has been made in the same distillery, Hacienda La Carevedo in Ica, Peru since 1684.
As we walked away and drank our Porton Sparklers and munched on some of the tasty appetizers going by, we overheard a voice say, â€œThe Ferrari will be unveiled in five minutes.â€ We found a spot right in front so we wouldnâ€™t miss a moment. Bradford Rand stepped up and began to introduce the Ferrari 458. Apparently there are only three of them in the entire world and this was the first public showing so we were definitely in for a treat.
The countdown began and the car was revealed. It was sleek, sexy and beautiful and everything a Ferrari should be. They started it up so we could hear it purr. It truly is a stunning automobile. It only takes 4 to 6 weeks to make this particular model so if you have quarter of a million dollars to spare, you could have one by Christmas.
After a the crowd died down, I stepped up to pose for Jade to snap a picture next to the Ferrari 458. I was momentarily caught off guard as other photographers also began snapping pictures. I guess it was the red dress next to the red Ferrari that made for a shot they just couldnâ€™t pass up. I will admit, I thoroughly enjoyed my paparazzi moment and smiled for the cameras shamelessly.
We moved on to the a very enticing exhibit for Le Spa at Sofitel Luxury Hotel in Beverly Hills that showcased four massage chairs and four massage therapists. I figured Jade and I both needed to see what this spa had to offer. I took a seat in the chair and my massage expert, Claire went to work on my back. Aaaahâ€¦it was just what I needed. After about 10 minutes I stood up in a relaxed daze and learned a few facts about the spa.
Le Spa offers facials, massages, scrubs, hand and nail treatments, a series of luxurious baths with milk, essential oils, salts and even one called â€œLiquid Edenâ€ which features a tub of flower petals that will â€œtake you back to a relaxed beautiful you.â€ They also offer NanoSpa Immersion Therapy which uses nanotechnology to lavish your body with millions of oxygen-rich nano bubbles that penetrate deep beneath the skins surface to help to reverse aging, soften and hydrate skin and even speed up your metabolism. It is a spa experience that â€œrenews and awakens your body, mind and spirit,â€ indeed.
Jade was thirsty once again and I was having a terrible chocolate craving so we drifted over to see what the gentlemen at 360 Vodka were putting together. PR rep Simon Hancock and Brendan, a local bartender, were making a 360 Double Chocolate Mint Fizz. The ingredients were simply, 360 Double Chocolate vodka, agave nectar, club soda and mint leaves. It was pretty tasty and satisfied my chocolate craving.
Aside from being a tasty drink, 360 vodka is probably the most eco-friendly vodka distributor around. Their bottles are 85% recycled material and each bottle comes with postage paid envelope so you can remove the bottleâ€™s swing top and send it back for 360 to reuse. Every time they receive a top back, they donate $1 to the environmental organization Global Green USA. Everything is eco-friendly, from their labels, to their posters and they even give preferred parking at their distillery in Missouri to employees who drive hybrid cars! All of their original recipes even have green names like â€œThe Ecopolitanâ€ and â€œThe Clean Bay Breeze.â€
At this point, my feet were killing me. I had been walking around for over three hours and there was not a chair to be seen, however I turned the corner and saw an oasis of beds. Two mattress sat before us crafted by R.E.M. Sleep Solutions. I did not hesitate to climb on board and was instantly consumed in comfort. There was even a slight vibration below me to lull me into bliss. Iâ€™m not exaggerating when I say it was the most comfortable mattress I have ever laid on.
Eric Landon, a rep for R.E.M. Sleep Solutions told me reason this mattress felt like it was sent from heaven, was from the material visco elastic an open cell material (5.3 lb density), Â that helps alleviate pressure points while you sleep. Visco elastic material was originally developed by NASA in the 1970â€™s to relieve pressure for the astronauts in the space shuttle program during lift off and flight.
They also offer a lifetime warranty on their products. He said a mattress like this would set me back about $5,000. I considered making an investment in my very own sleep solution, but I was afraid that if I did, I would never leave my bed.
We continued on our journey stopping to view stunning Andreoli jewelry from Italy that ranged from $2,000 to $350,000 .Â Yes, thatâ€™s more than the Ferrari.
We learned how to make the most of our travels with private jet service from Jet AviationÂ , saw some cool Italian made WeWOOD wooden watches, had to test PILLO1, a very special pillow designed by spine specialist Dr. Raymond Hall, and registered to win $1,500 worth of services from American Laser Skin Care.
There was still more to see, but it was approaching the 10pm hour closing time. I said good-bye to some of my new friends and we left with a new knowledge of many exacting new products of luxury. We had a wonderful time and hope to return for Bradford Randâ€™s next â€œLuxury Review.â€
(All photos: Jade Blairs)
**Liesl Jackson is a writer/actress/comedian/pet sitterÂ living in the heart of Hollywood. She loves the arts, animals, volunteering, traveling, and attempting to learn the acoustic guitar. Email her at email@example.com. Follow The Pacific Punch on Twitter @ThePacificPunch.***
Lindsay Taub is an LA-based writer/producer/media strategist with a passion for travel, photography, nature, adventure, and wine. She resides in LA with her pups and heads up the soon-to-be-launched Pacific Punch. Follow her on twitter @lindsaytaub58 and @ThePacificPunch. Learn more at www.lindsaytaub.com. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.