Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Could Thom Vest's elite shopping club signal the start of a retail revolution?

This coming September will mark the official launch of the most recent in a long line of innovative projects from one of L.A.'s leading creative firms- 0Three Media. The concept is said to have been inspired by a combination of the countless "flash sale" websites taking over the internet, and yet another crazy idea that Thom Vest (a fairly well-known Beverly Hills socialite and 0Three's twenty-something year old founder) had for a pop-up store during a trip to Europe sometime last year. The aptly named 'Urban Sanctuary' event series will span three days and feature a multitude of interactive demos, displays, activities and entertainment for VIP guests and members of Vest's elite shopping club, who's tagline urges it's members to join the 'Retail Revolution'. What makes the idea truly unique is that each day will be split in two main parts, with the first half reserved for vendors to showcase and gift their latest and greatest products to an exclusive list of celebrities, editors, and retail buyers with the second half open to consumers (or at least the ones lucky enough to make Vest's final guest list; who has been known to deny entry to certain 'celebutantes' who somehow got on his bad side... meow!)

Once guests are able to get through the doors, they will receive exclusive deals and discounts on the very same products that were just gifted to A-list celebrities and retail buyers hours before, but with a portion of all proceeds going back to help various charitable organizations that fit with each one of the event's creative themes.Vest's upcoming "Jetsetter" themed event is said to be a three day soiree slated for early September, and has created quite a buzz in the fashion and retail world due to both the social media and interactive elements said to be involved. The event portion of his new venture offers a look behind the 'curtain' of social media's 'flashsale' obsession - which has been made popular by popular sites like Gilt and Hautelook. Membership to the club and it's newsletter is completely free, but before subscribers begin receiving the hefty discounts and upscale invites that come as a result they must be 'accepted', and that's only after receiving a recommendation or endorsement from an existing member in order to gain access and get the "keys to the city" as Vest has called it. The Urban Sanctuary Newsletter alone is said to have already received over 200 thousand subscribers submissions before the site has even launched by word of mouth and the buzz surrounding it, which is quite impressive to say the least. It seems that Social Media's 'golden boy' has quite a lot riding on this, especially given the brand names that have reportedly signed on board to participate which seems like a who's-who of household names and big time brands.

When asked how his concept for Urban Sanctuary was different, Thom Vest remarked "I really wanted to create an interactive environment where guests are able to dream and get lost in, even if only for a few hours. The whole 'Retail Therapy' thing has been done to death, so this is more like an ‘Alice in Wonderland' experience for consumers." Having already received several approving nods from some of the worlds leading consumer brands and retail experts, Urban Sanctuary could truly mark the beginning of a much larger theme in the world of creative retail... but only if he pulls it off.  After a fellow reporter asked how the internet and 'flashsales' came into play, Vest went on to say: "Social Media has become a very big part of all of our lives, so we are also in the process of finalizing details on also featuring the worlds first social media photo booth inside the event which would act as a live feed that automatically updates every social media and news outlet at once! We have all been working around the clock, but needless to say I couldn't be happier or more excited about the positive feedback and support we have received to help this idea come to life" 

Fueling rumors about the ‘secret' location of their first Jet set themed being none other than the the infamous Sunset Tower Hotel, comes the news that Vest and his team will be taking over all 6200 sq feet of the world famous Argyle Spa & Salon (which is located inside the hotel), in order to create what Vest has called ‘The Apothicarium', an all-out luxe laboratory where guests can view the various beauty, spa and wellness products featured within the Sanctuary while a panel of ‘experts & alchemists' clad in era-appropriate attire set the stage for a new era of retail. I like thousands of others am eagerly awaiting for acceptance into the club, and look forward to reporting on the final product come September!