Review by JD Piche, RCRs Producer and Pop Culture expert, follow him on Twitter at @misadventurer
With the Academy Awards now over, and as Hollywood hits the reset button so they can do it all again next year, everyone was a winner at the gifting suites which dotted the City of Angels.
With some old mainstays and an impressive showing from a suite we had never covered before here’s what products, vendors and booths that stood out and you should follow up with!
The current reigning champion of gifting suites in Hollywood is Celebrity Connected
) with the most stars per capita of any suite we’ve ever seen, every time. With Billy Porter from Pose, Donal Logue from Gotham palling around with Giles Marini, Mark-Paul Gosselaar and his wife to more famous Instagram dogs than you can shake a Milkbone at, there were glamorous people everywhere you looked. With about 30 vendors set up, with everything from hair and skincare, to artisan jewelry, pet products, all-natural snack bars, and plant-based protein shakes, to two different First Aid kits (One MyMedic.com
was donating kits to classrooms, the other TriKits.com
supporting orphanages overseas). There were Comfitude weighted blankets, and J-Scent a fragrance collection from Japan, and as always, Cyndie Wade’s Custom Creations, with hand painted wine glasses featuring all the Oscar-nominated films. The biggest standouts from Celebrity Connected, were AR Tutor, flashcards and a tablet app designed to help teach concepts such as how light switches and other skills or common knowledge approaches for children on the Autism spectrum, and finally taking up a full corner was Sportamix, a social media platform designed to be the LinkedIn for athletes, a centralized hub for coaches, athletes and other related professions of all stripes, are you a Roller Skater in Raleigh, and looking to join a Derby team? Check out Sportamix! Move to a new town and want to start a Curling team? You can find a coach, place to train and equipment all through Sportamix.
Upon entering the Rafi gifting suite
, I was reminded of how some suites had a better ambiance than others, in the game of one-ups-man-ship, between who can throw the best party, the Rafi suite recaptured a feeling that had been missing from the industry for years. It was immediately welcoming with a single, well-lit step and repeat with several recognizable professional photogs getting celebrity arrivals, followed up with a tray of mimosas being handed out with the gift bag for guests to take and fill up, for the Celebs, was a BIG A$$ Back Pack from FydelityBags.com
, a cartoonishly oversized bag which looked as if half the people toting it around, could easily fit inside (and it would certainly *not* fit into an overhead compartment on an airplane) which came in all matter of fun prints like with pineapples, donuts, pizza, or gold lame and more. Their booth also had cassette shaped expanding coin purses, USB drives, and Poopy Cute designer poo bag dispensers, rather than just the hard plastic bone dog poo bag holders you find everywhere, as well as a variety of fanny or hip packs, including a design with some great wings which will go great with your Jeremy Scott winged Adidas. Also being gifted were ties, Suitkits by Sierra E had a classy pre-tied bow, and a new take on the clip-on from Moderntie, the cleanly designed base rests on your top button, like an impossibly smooth Windsor knot or a geographic shape, and you can customize what tie from their line, you’d want attached, via rare earth magnets, and a ring to complete the look. This is what wearing a necktie in 2019 should be like. The Rafi Suite also had Parasuco gifting some unique looking jeans, you could set an appointment for a Stem Cell Lift with Nathan Newman M.D., and by far the biggest stand out from any suite was Gran Cava de Oro Tequila’s Extra Añjeo. Finished by aging for three years in small batch oak casks, presenting a delicious vanilla nose and incredibly smooth finish, this 100% agave libation was the perfect union of a whiskey and the smoothest Añejo tequila around, You’re not making margaritas out of this, this is a pure sipping drink. I wish i could have walked away with a case because this is now my favorite liquor. They had an elegant table set up, laser etched stemware (which everyone seemed to just drink and return the glass, i believe that it was to be gifted) Comparably priced to a similar sized bottle of Patron Anejo, I’ll take Cava de Oro any day. There were colorful bouquets of long stem roses by the company that makes the Rose Wall for the Tonys and is also a supplier for the Rose Parade, Passion Roses. The Rafi Suite also featured founder, Rafi Anteby’s jewelry line, Bullets4Peace, discharged brass casings blinged out and worn by celebrities, a former mainstay of GBK suites, struck out on his own with one of the most impressive and bright suites of Awards Season, taking up about as much floor space as Celebrity Connected with half the vendors.
We can’t forget about Debbie Durkin’s ExoLuxe suite, in the penthouse of the Beverly Hilton, with a gorgeous ivy step and repeat, and a brunch buffet, Durkin’s suite also featured pampering on site, with hair stylists, manicures, and vitamin b12 shots from DripHydration, a to-you service, that will set up IV therapy for your home or office. Natalie Nunn also brought her line of Natalie Lashes out and guests got a free set of luxurious lashes put on while they enjoyed some pink champagne and pink cupcakes. Kimberly Friedmutter also had a warm and fussy set up where she would have guests sit down and discuss the power of the subconscious mind, and a few people got hypnotized.
If you have a product or service you’d like to get in the hands of a celebrity, these are the places to start.
Debbie Durkin Ecoluxe Lounge
Select Vendor Links
Rafi Gift Suite