Precious Cargo: Episode 2

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Wow, D.C. can be so beautiful sometimes; especially after taking the super-smooth shuttle service from LGA to Reagan. Why on earth did I fly into Dulles that one time and why did I take Amtrak for all those years, thinking I was saving time and money? The cat is out of the bag: the LGA-DCA shuttle is cheaper and faster. The shuttle has free wine (WOO) and the plane is mostly empty except for the grownup Ferris Bueller-looking politicos. I see a fierce Boss Lady rocking the Carelle Whirl collar and Whirl ring. She’s wearing a killer Armani suit, 105mm Manolos and she carries a simple, black Prada work bag. She can walk in heels and text at the same time without falling, unlike me. She’s youthful, but looks experienced and powerful; I’m getting a Cate Blanchett vibe from her. I’m trying not to stare but she’s so striking and the Carelle jewelry looks so chic on her. This reminds me that I need to step up my airport style game; especially since I suspect that I will one day meet my future husband in an airport. It makes sense because (duh) I live part-time with my seat returned to its upright position.

I love the architecture in D.C.; they do a really great job preserving and protecting the historic buildings. I mean, it’s not as ancient as Rome, but it’s still impressive. Does Rome have squirrels and Canada geese? I think not. Rome does one-up D.C. in the “Gatti di Roma” cat calendars, in which our Roman feline friends are featured reclining like Cleocatra in historic tourist spots. In America, the only place you are going to find a modern, city-dwelling, non-house cat is in a bodega working a job like the rest of us.

Where was I? Oh, the beauty of D.C.! I visited all my buddies in the D.C. area and you know what? The traffic sucks. My driver tells me they have the second worst in America after LA—I fact-check this claim and New York has earned a distinctive 2nd place (Silver!) and D.C. is 6th. Sixth is 3 spots lower than Bronze on the Olympic scale. That has to be an incorrect figure—I’m thinking D.C. totally deserves Bronze. I spend the majority of my visit looking out the passenger seat at other cars that aren’t moving. On one memorably regrettable ride I had to endure an hour of listening to “NOT Sheryl Crow” singing “Greatest Mistake” and “NOT James Blunt” singing “You’re Beautiful”. I don’t think he noticed that the “singers” were more off- key than Fergie at the All Star Game. To make it stop, I started quizzing my driver on his shopping behavior.

Did you know that the average luxury consumer has up to 15 touch points before purchasing? Or that now 80% of sales are digitally influenced? I learned these fun facts from McKinsey’s “Luxury in the Age of Digital Darwinism” report—a great conversation starter! I started thinking about my purchasing behavior and IT’S TRUE! I consult the internet before I even go grocery shopping to see what cool recipes from 101 Cookbooks I need to try. We don’t shop like we used to—you no longer see malls packed to the brim with browsers. We do our due diligence on the interwebs and then commit to purchase once the price, trust and sense of urgency are just right. My driver told me that he generally will see a pair of sneakers on Instagram, then do his price research online, go to a physical store to try on the correct size and then purchase only once he really feels compelled.

I recently took note of my purchase behavior for skincare products. I’ve been obsessed with niche skin care since my sister took a shopping trip to Seoul, Korea for the sole purpose of loading up on sheet masks and beauty products. She brought straight up #bruja potions full of weird ingredients like “deer antler”, “bee venom” and “snail mucin” that actually did what they purported. My obsession with skin care got into the crazy zone when I discovered the blogs (OMAGERD), videos (YASS), and reviews (SO INFORMATIVE). I recently watched no less than 10 hours of YouTube reviews for Deciem’s The Ordinary products, read every review online, researched all of their points of sale in the New York area, visited several locations, created a shopping cart on their dot com site, and finally pulled the trigger and purchased 7 items at their Nolita store. Gone are the days of frivolous spending. So whether you are buying Matrixyl 10% with Hyaluronic Acid or the newest Off White x Nike Hyperdunks, we are all shopping with our detective hats on thanks to technology.

I think shopping has always had a research aspect, but nowadays, people are seriously informed. Sometimes I feel like our clients know more about Carelle than I do. One thing I hear consistently from our clients and partners is that they love that Carelle is made in New York City on 46th Street. Wait--WHAT—how do you know where I work? Dear reader, you already knew because you did your research online, you savvy little devil!

Another fun fact is that we were the very first jewelry house to receive a certified letter of distinction from the “Made in NYC” initiative (the shopping know-it-alls seem to know this too). We have a full service state-of-the-art factory helmed by expert artisans. Have you seen the documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor? It takes you into Valentino’s atelier where swarms of lab coat-clad master seamstresses are feverishly sewing the dresses by hand. That is what the Carelle factory is like, but with master jewelers and a touch of Hogwarts wizardry. Walking into our factory, which could be more accurately described as an artisanal workshop, is one of the most magical sights to behold: there are models being cast into 18 karat gold, precious stones and diamonds being set and a whole lot of flames. Maybe we need a new tagline? Carelle: It’s like Haute Couture Hogwarts School of Wizardry in New York City for the Artisanal Crafting of Luxury Jewels.

Please leave a comment below if you agree.

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