Jamilyn Fournier’s The Collector’s House (The Shops Gainey Village, in Scottsdale, Arizona) is a lifestyle and interiors destination that is truly a feast for the eyes and the heart. Tall, aged wooden doors from a French castle mix elegantly with African tribal sculptures and a one-of-a-kind prototype 1950s chandelier in the high-ceilinged space. In the showroom, exquisite handcrafted furniture has its own spotlight. The boutique shelves are lined with stories, and curator and founding principal Fournier can recount the origin of each piece, which expresses a connection to the community of artists and designers here and around the world. thecollectorshouse.biz
Describe your vision for the expansion to include a showroom.
We are pure artistry, and the lines we carry are inspirational to me. Verellen is Belgian-inspired and perfected in America, and Alfonso Marina is the original ebanista, made in Mexico City. Both companies are family businesses with the creators actively involved in every step, every day. This exquisite, handcrafted furniture is holding court in its own spotlight.
How do you choose what to feature?
I seek out the organic. Everything we carry is handmade or bench-made. I’m drawn to items that make the everyday extraordinary. I still love to set a beautiful table, even if we’re barefoot on the patio. I feel honored to partner with so many artisans and I want to be a resource for the many talented designers in our area.
Following a $30 million renovation, the former Courtyard San Francisco Downtown received a redesign and new name: The Clancy. The 410-room boutique hotel, part of Marriott’s luxury Autograph Collection series, was reimagined by EDG Interior Architecture + Design.
“The Clancy is a celebration of the best of SoMa, where tech converges with a bohemian energy. A bold personality, high-concept creativity and ultra-modernism show guests and locals we’re not afraid to be daring,” says EDG president and CEO Jennifer Johanson.
EDG partnered with local creatives on spaces throughout, such as the central courtyard which features a street art-inspired mural by artist Ian Ross.
We want you to go wild–within reason,” Allison Lind’s clients told her. Such a directive would be music to any designer’s ears, and it certainly was to Lind’s. After deciding to build their dream home on a Lake Tapps, Washington, property they owned, the clients were ready to take chances–and forsake the 1990s vibes, complete with medium-pile carpet and orange-toned wood, in the house. “There was a back and forth with ideas and getting creative but knowing the reality of children,” says Lind. “So we found a happy medium.” Under the designer’s care, the new structure’s stone, velvet and glam accents make it edgy enough for the adults to entertain, yet cozy enough for three young kids to tool around the wood floors on hoverboards.
Architect Steve Dona guided the residents through several iterations of the project, from a renovation to a complete rebuild. In turn, the clients’ familiarity with the property allowed them to give Dona thoughtful feedback. “They noted where the sun rose and set, the views and their privacy concerns,” reports the architect. While he changed the driveway location to create both a better entry sequence and more isolation, the home remained in the same spot. “It was situated to take the best possible advantage of the wonderful lake views,” Dona reports. Those sights are framed by floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors that open to terraces. Case in point, he oriented the master bedroom to enjoy vistas of the lake and a beautiful tree in the yard–while still providing for privacy from the street and water.
The homeowners brought Lind on at the beginning of the project, so she was able to implement her vision for the interiors all the way through–“from decor to the placement of outlet switches,” she says. Her work encompassed the finishes, and she collaborated closely with general contractor Erik Schelbert. Recalling their creative partnership, she muses, “I’d come up with crazy ideas and say, ‘Can we do this? How?’ ” The home is replete with carefully considered moments. The fireplace in the great room is a statement piece. Black-stained fir paneling surrounds the firebox and bisects a slab of granite, which extends on each side to become a bench. Echoing the bold gesture in the nearby kitchen are dramatic black cabinets. “When the light hits them the right way, it creates a chevron pattern. It’s a beautiful detail,” says Lind. Getting them just right, though, required a heroic effort from the whole team. “We spent countless hours with different options,” says Schelbert. “Everyone had input into the final product.”
A high-contrast palette continues throughout the interior, a critical choice to maintain visual consistency since all the rooms occupy a single floor. Lind anchored the great room with two tufted chesterfield sofas in gray velvet and offset them with a sleek glass and metal coffee table–a chic pairing for entertaining yet durable enough for the children. In the dining area, a table made of reclaimed elm “can take a beating, but that will make it more charming over time,” says the designer. “You don’t want to get too delicate because of the kids, but you want it to feel elegant.” Teak caned-back chairs with black seat cushions are another solution that melds style with practicality. She also carried the bold strokes into the master bathroom where she covered the shower in stripes of black and white tiles. “I loved the drama and the interest,” the designer says of the light and dark interplay. (She even placed the tiles into the floor in front of the vanities for a sort of trompe l’oeil bath mat effect.) Ensuring things aren’t totally austere, though, colorful carpets weave through the house. While an antique rug enlivens the master bedroom, a reproduction made more sense in the high-traffic zone of the great room.
The spaces the team conjured fulfilled the clients wishes. “They wanted something special and unique,” Lind says, adding, “They didn’t want to recreate a Pinterest board.” By allowing Lind substantial latitude, they ensured their house would be a personal, thoughtful statement. “They were both involved in decision-making but gave me so much independence and leeway. I really came up with the full concepts and they approved almost everything. I think they wanted to be surprised.”
In the shadow of Sedona’s red rock formations, The Retreat at Miraval Arizona is a new way to experience a luxurious getaway to refresh both the body and soul.
The resort’s 22 modular, elegant villas and suites with up to three bedrooms combine privacy and community with separate entrances, private pools or spas, indoor-to-outdoor showers and spectacular views. The barrier to nature dissolves via the custom designed, fully retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors, making the splendor of the Sonoran Desert part of your own personal living space.
Exclusive experiences at The Retreat include Life in Balance Spa wellness services, community art projects and private, in-suite culinary experiences. Continue the serenity you find at The Retreat and bring home items from the exclusive Miraval collection, including bedding, robes, candles and crystals.
Betsy Nathan has always been a collector. The daughter of a renowned Chicago gallerist, she grew up surrounded by an eclectic mix of fine and folk art and objects curated from around the world. After a stint in Beijing in the 1990s, where she studied Chinese craftsmanship, she returned to Chicago to open her first showroom, Pagoda Red, in 1997. Last year she moved into a vastly larger warehouse space in Bucktown, where her entire 4,000-piece collection of global fine arts and antiques is now available for designers and the public alike to browse. While there are many treasures to be discovered at Pagoda Red, we called on Nathan to share a few of her other favorite spots for sourcing goods around the city.
ROBIN RICHMAN BUCKTOWN
“Robin is amazing at creating interesting juxtapositions between clothes, jewelry and accessories. I go here to buy Mad et Len Lava Rocks, which are infused with perfume. They release an earthy spirit when you burn them, and I like to use them in the powder room.”
LE LABO WICKER PARK
“In China, I had an otherworldly experience when a friend introduced me to traditional incense–the kind that oozes from trees. It’s impossible to find locally, but it turned me on to rich, gentle, moody fragrances and beautiful incense burners to disperse them. I recently purchased Le Labo‘s amulet (a portable diffuser) as a gift for a friend. It becomes very personal when you infuse the stone within with a hand-blended fragrance specially made for the person you are giving it to.”
ASRAI GARDEN WICKER PARK
“Pagoda Red and Asrai Gardenopened around the same time. We grew up together, so the designers understand our objects and containers. They know how to marry nature’s shapes and colors in fresh, modern ways. They use flowers and greens to frame, rather than overpower, a select object.”
INTERIOR DEFINE LINCOLN PARK
“If you don’t want to wait months for a sofa, Interior Define is a great choice. They feel custom, the process is easy and the price can’t be beat. I’m working with a client now who wants her place finished fast, so we just ordered the Sloan Sectional in a plush onyx fabric.”
PHOTOS: ROBIN RICHMAN, ROBIN RICHMAN; LE LABO, COURTESY LE LABO; ASRAI GARDEN, LUCY HEWETT; INTERIOR DEFINE, CAROLINA MARIANA RODRIGUEZ.
Austin-based designer and retailer Julie Smith understands how well drinks pair with design. So in late 2018, she officially opened Jules Design Bar under the same roof as her studio, Julie Smith Design and Retail, serving up cocktails in a European-inspired atmosphere featuring crisp black and white details, crystal chandeliers, a long bar topped by a steel counter and sofa-style seating.
Now customers can browse a variety of edgy yet timeless offerings–including lighting, furniture, art and accessories–all while enjoying a signature “Jules” Old Fashioned, craft cocktail, whiskey or wine.
“I love our culture, the Jules Design Bar team and the crowd we have attracted, and I never take it for granted,” says Smith, who also offers design services. “My goal for the bar is to cultivate a culture of kindness and friendliness, with interesting people, events and retail–all paired with yummy and interesting libations.”
From Portland to Vancouver, a trio of eclectic interiors invites elevated drinking and dining experiences.
Little Neon Taco
While many Pacific Northwest restaurants play to their surroundings with moodier earth tones and rustic furnishings, the design of Little Neon Taco in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood (1011 Boren Ave.) transports patrons to a warmer climate with bright white walls and bold color complementing its Mexican-inflected menu. Chef/owner Monica Dimas purchased the space to give her former pop-up a permanent home. Photos of old plaster grottos in Mexico inspired Tamara Codor and Sterling Voss of Codor Design to craft the eatery’s focal point, a brightly lit corner bar, in white plaster with built-in block shelves for a lively mix of traditional decor and useful storage. The lighting overhead—large globes suspended from sound-dampening rosettes—offers a beautiful solution to a common problem. littleneontaco.com
Downtown Portland’s 20th-century Woodlark Building and the Cornelius Hotel have been combined to create The Woodlark Hotel. In addition to 150 guest rooms, the hotel boasts an elegant cocktail bar, Abigail Hall (813 SW Alder St.). In line with owner Jennifer Quist of Holler Hospitality’s vision for a comfortable hangout with a nod to women’s history, Smith Hanes Studio modeled its design after the Cornelius Hotel’s original lounge: a ladies’ reception hall with a pink and green palette. The original penny tile floors and coffered ceiling were replicated in the space, where hand-painted wallpaper by Michael Paulus begins at the bar and borders velvet barstools, an emerald tiled fireplace, curved booths and marble tables. Quist named the bar after women’s suffrage activist Abigail Scott Duniway. abigailhallpdx.com
Blossom Dim Sum & Grill
Eric Yang, former general manager of acclaimed contemporary Chinese restaurant Mott 32, pays homage to Vancouver’s cultural diversity with his new 6,000-square-foot East-meets-West eatery Blossom Dim Sum & Grill (808 Bute St.). The stylish spot’s design certainly looks the part: a vibrant mix of Asian-influenced decor such as tufted velvet banquettes, a Chinese parasol-themed installation and an eye-catching mural of oversize cherry blossoms by local artist Tyler Toews. “Vancouver is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, and we wanted to bring this to life under one roof,” says Yang. blossomdimsum.com
Luxury brands often miss the opportunities to reach the highest echelon of travelers by serving down-market experiences. It’s the result of a troubling trend of mass market luxury, standardized luxury travel marketing appeals to both HNW and UHNW individuals, and the homogenization of luxury goods and services across these tiers of wealth.
The roots of these issues lie in a slew of societal, cultural and technological trends unfolding in recent years. The ubiquitous exposure of digital platforms like Instagram and the rise of the sharing economy are some of the most prominent contributors. However, collectively, these factors are manifold.
To efficiently target new customers, and to successfully retain them, the distinct expectations and needs of HNW and UHNW consumers ($1M-$29M v. $30M) must be considered both when creating the luxury travel experience itself, as well as the luxury travel marketing campaign. A luxury brand must understand a client’s level of wealth prior to designing travel experiences.
THE DEMOCRATIZATION OF LUXURY
Jaclyn Sienna India is owner and founder of the luxury travel agency Sienna Charles. She works with UHNW clients, designing unique travel experiences. She notes that luxury travel marketing has become the great equalizer. “Everyone is trying to make hotels and everything ‘luxury’ accessible… hotels are trying to appeal to everyone based on what is happening on Instagram. Now people who are not wealthy can afford ‘luxury’ vacations,” she observes.
Looking the part of luxury is notably easier than delivering such experiences in live settings. India travels 200 days per year, noting properties touting the term “luxury” often lack the service component. “So many people are opening hotels. They can always have the great architecture, the furniture… There are more [properties] that have them than don’t. However, you need to understand and get to know UHNW guests and service them accordingly. It’s the least amount of focus these days, yet experience takes precedence.”
SERVICE: THE MISSING LINK
Jaclyn Sienna India says “everyone is selling and not servicing”. She refers to the disconnect between improvements in hotel marketing imagery and luxury travel marketing, and actual service. “Luxury experiences need to be tailored and custom, [and on most occasions], nothing has been custom about their stay,” she goes on to explain.
Meanwhile, the sharing economy brings its own unique set of challenges. Companies among the likes of JetSmarter attempt to appeal to both the UHNW consumer and any traveler with $2-$3,000 worth of disposable income. India says, “Private memberships are mixing different demographics. A billionaire could sit next to someone who put [the charge] on his Amex. There’s a new resurgence of non-luxury companies trying to get into the luxury game. Airbnb is selling stays at $10,000-a-night villas and yet they don’t even check out their properties. Everyone is trying to get into experiences… [with many companies] at the end of the day, you call and speak to a robot and no service is attached to the experience. No one cares and no one thinks about what they want to achieve with their travel.”
UHNW luxury travel marketing and offerings must excel in service, personalized attention and exclusivity.
MASS MARKET LUXURY (HNW) VS. TOP TIER TRAVEL (UHNW)
Thus the question remains, what distinguishes UHNW travelers’ needs from those of their HNW counterparts? Service. Here are five ways to excel in serving individuals of wealth:
1. Remain Small.
Service is often sacrificed on the path for growth. Luxury hotel brand conglomerates exemplify these challenges. “Smaller lines like The Dorchester, with 8 properties, are getting it right. You lose a sense of who you are and why you started this when you grow and grow,” advises Jaclyn Sienna India. “Clients spend $100k to $1M for travel experiences so we meet them to find out who they are and what they love. You’re always face-to-face working with a professional for other industries, but travel is so anonymous and done online.”
2. Attend to Every Detail.
Sienna Charles has produced bespoke and truly luxurious experiences for adventurous UHNW travelers over the last decade, including building tents in Africa and Israel. In contrast, India underscores the luxury travel marketing strategies of hotels to construct glamping tents for imagery’s sake without the crucial attention to detail. She has personally witnessed a stateside West Coast example lacking indoor restrooms and featuring shared shower facilities.
Other examples, India shares, include “marketing ploys like spa and wellness”. “At the end of the day, they’re still using chemical products in their spas. They’re not really offering a wellness perspective.”
3. Deliver Bespoke Offerings and Experiences.
Carefully assess every partner, collaborator, product and service to guarantee truly luxurious offerings and experiences. This extends to the numerous luxury travel agencies delivering mass-marketed luxury travel. These companies provide automatic free amenities and upgrades on behalf of luxury brands, an expedient route to brand dilution and the loss of true luxury.
4. Make Privacy a Priority.
UHNW clientele expect and require privacy. The wealthiest consumers do not take pictures at resorts due to privacy concerns, and yet many properties pose the risk of other travelers’ documentation habits. These images and videos, in addition to location geotags, are risks that must be eliminated.
5. Market to a Single Tier (HNW or UHNW).
A blanket strategy to please HNW and UHNW clients will almost certainly undermine your goals to attract and retain new customers. Note key differences among the various tiers of wealth. For instance, most UHNW clients require the reassurance that they are the only individuals who can afford their special luxury travel experiences. As India describes, it has become increasingly difficult for the UHNW client to uncover these experiences at restaurants, in hotels and in the sky. Understand clients’ wealth levels and expectations; aim to exceed.
Businesses catering to high net worth (HNW) and ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals offer increasingly exclusive products, services and experiences in light of the widespread and global democratization of luxury. Private aviation is one of several impacted industries, as private air travel becomes more accessible on a mass scale with the introduction of the sharing economy. Nevertheless, the finest luxury aviation firms tailor communications for clients at the highest tiers of wealth, combating mass market luxury.
ESCHEWING MASS MARKET LUXURY
Whereas some brands revitalize the meaning of luxury by way of exclusive stays at magnificent chateaus, in-person meetings with couture designers and similar gestures, a more discreet approach is required within private aviation.
The market segmentation process begins with a wealth screening and determining net worth, followed by the development of research-based marketing strategies intended to target the wealthiest clientele. When marketing to the HNW or UHNW individual, private aviation companies must first and foremost cater to this individual’s ever-increasing desire for privacy and exclusivity.
Take into consideration Global Jet Capital, a private aircraft leasing and lending solutions firm, which extends personalized financial solutions, business aviation expertise and more to a global client base of HNW and UHNW clientele. Chief Marketing Officer Andrew Farrant attributes flexibility, privacy, security, improved productivity and bespoke random access to aircraft as the foremost needs and desires of the HNW and UHNW individual.
“While this audience may share a certain level of wealth, assuming they share the same hopes, desires, wants and drivers, can lead marketers down the wrong path,” says Farrant. “The key to tapping into the mindset of any audience, including this one, is effective segmentation built on solid voice-of-customer research.”
KNOWING YOUR AUDIENCE
Foregoing flight-share services, true luxury private aviation businesses market private “lift as a service” flights and the ability to own. Security, convenience and time-efficiency are among the greatest motivators for purchasing aircraft, whether outright or via finance or lease. Meanwhile, time-efficiency remains the most desirable draw for “lift as a service.”
The bespoke flexibility of business aviation can compress into days a multi-city trip that would otherwise take weeks with commercial lift. “It’s the difference between spending time in airports and security lines and replacing it with time with loved ones – the things that are really important,” says Farrant.
In a market saturated with products and experiences for mass market consumption, only the most steadfast luxury firms will thrive, deploying highly-targeted communications, product differentiation and exceptional service.
ADDRESSING CONSUMER BEHAVIOR AND MARKET TRENDS
Catering to HNW and UHNW clients also requires a well-versed understanding of how they prefer to shop. Companies like Global Jet Capital offer a number of aircraft financing and leasing services, from progress payment financing and operating leases to equipment upgrade financing. Of note is that while cash dominates the private aircraft purchasing space, operating leases are the second highest in demand and a growing trend within private aviation.
The desire for operating leases emerged in response to the 2008 financial crisis. According to Farrant, operating leases allow clients to retain capital, protecting against swings in residual value and providing flexibility if the client wants a smaller or larger aircraft.
“We often find ourselves partnering with clients to ensure they have [a] full appreciation of their ability to protect capital, reduce residual value risk, manage tax liabilities, and gain aircraft disposition flexibility,” says Farrant. “Establishing a full appreciation of these issues can be the difference between a good and bad experience.”
The global yachting industry is in a state of transformation, influenced by five major trends: eco-consciousness, interiors inspired by the outdoors, the Internet of Things (IoT), yacht management and adventure travel. Wealth-X looked to the expertise of Raphael Sauleau, CEO of Fraser Yachts (chartering, crew recruitment, sales and management of yachts, superyachts and megayachts) and Michele Gavino, CEO of Baglietto (the historic Italian yacht builder) to dissect these key industry movements.
The luxury yacht market has entered the era of eco-consciousness. According to Gavino, the International Maritime Organization has directed the maritime industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050 from 2008’s levels. As a result, builders and suppliers are working together to find sustainable solutions to reduce consumption at reasonable costs. The cooperation with suppliers is essential, says Gavino. “They have the expertise and the possibility to develop new systems and technology that we can offer to our clients.”
Many HNW and UHNW yacht owners are putting environmental impact first, spurring significant change in yacht building and innovation. New propulsion systems burn less fuel, hybrid yacht batteries motorize yachts for hours of fuelless transportation – even paint is assisting the cause, as new environmentally sustainable epoxies are safe for marine life and help vessels reach the same speeds at lower levels of fuel consumption.
Yacht charterers are also showing concern over environmental impact. Many charterers inquire about crew members’ impact on the sea, recycling initiatives, the use of plastics aboard ships and more.
“All sectors of yachting are involved [in sustainability initiatives], from the paint manufacturer to the engine supplier. Innovative projects are multiplying and are not only capturing the attention of owners but also of equipment manufacturers, and projects with smaller environmental footprints are going one step further. There is still a lot of room for innovation in the luxury yacht market and it is enough to visit dedicated trade shows to find the technologies of tomorrow for hybrid propulsion or energy storage systems. [There is] no doubt that our industry will be one of the leaders soon,” Sauleau explained.
Interiors Inspired by the Outdoors
Open spaces, pool decks and 360° views of the sea are popular design items that reflect a rising trend of taking inspiration from the outdoors. According to Sauleau, consumers from the highest tiers of wealth are beginning to look for yachts that offer the feeling of being outdoors while indoors, requiring yachts to have more light, vertical bows that allow for larger interiors and modern exterior lines, and beach clubs.
“One of the new features that all the builders are developing is a new concept of the beach area, not any more closed in a space that was used once as a garage, but definitely open in sort of a sundeck on the water with an enjoyable pool. This solution has been introduced [beginning with] small vessels, but recently I have seen concepts up to 70m or 80m with [this] nice feature,” shared Gavino.
The Internet of Things
Advancements in technology enable yacht owners to adopt the same preferences for “smart home” gadgets on their yachts, creating a seamless transition from home to yacht and vice versa. By transferring technological at-home comforts and habits to their yachts, owners can turn their yachts into homes or offices away from home. These advancements create the infrastructure that supports ease of communication and new ways of securing crew and vessel. Sauleau credits the industry’s ample resources for making it possible to “cultivate and sustain innovations that would remain mostly accessible only to firm sectors such as aviation or even defense”, explaining that the most significant areas of growth typically occur within the realms of security and communication.
Yacht management improves efficiency and decreases operational costs through efforts spanning everything from HR management to the implementation of new technology to burn less fuel. Yacht owners are seeking management in greater numbers than ever before due to increased regulations and the rise of ever-larger yachts.
For instance, Fraser Yachts increased its yacht management fleet by nearly fifty percent over the past two years. “[Taking management] concerns off of [the hands of captains, crew members, owners and charterers] allows you to save money for provisioning, for technical supplies and to make sure the crew rotation is optimized,” says Sauleau. “The winning formula is not just to be more efficient financially but to keep your yacht in its best state. Because one day when you’re ready to sell it, [you] need to make sure it’s still in great condition to be sold,” Sauleau shared.
Changing demographics among HNW and UHNW individuals have ushered in a new and exciting demand for explorer yachts and adventure travel excursions. The next generation of wealthy individuals are requesting exploration yachting to destinations other than the Mediterranean or the Caribbean. “They don’t necessarily want to be in a place where you have a restaurant and a beach in every port,” says Sauleau. “[Instead, they want to] explore new environments [such as] Antarctica, Scandinavia, Australia or Southeast Asia.”
This trend is impacting yacht building with the rise of explorer yachts and crossover yachts (a cross between traditional and explorer), vessels that did not exist five years ago in the luxury yacht market. Explorer yachts have all the fine amenities of traditional models in addition to stronger hulls, less outdoor space, greater storage space (larger garages, more refrigerators, and so on) and other considerations for voyages in remote areas and extreme conditions. Baglietto, for instance, recently presented an impressive Explorer-type project of 43-meter yacht designed by Santa Maria Magnolfi able to host a sportfisherman vessel.
“Exploring the beauty of the world and [the] ocean is the reason for building a boat for many owners and this is why one of the trends in yachting is the Explorer-type yacht. These are yachts that are built to travel around the world with any kind of weather and sea. These yachts are conceived to have [large interiors with room for] many toys,” says Gavino.
From the desire to “engage with the natural world”, be it through bringing the outdoors inside or exploring the planet’s seldom-charted territories, to innovative technology, the dreams and values of HNW and UHNW individuals are spurring rapid change in luxury the luxury yacht market.