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A Rose By Any Other Name… Might Be Called Scentūr

52756089 - colorful shoes and bags with woman sitting on the sofa.Coach, the holding company that ownsCoach leather and several other brands, is changing its name to Tapestry to better represent that they are a multi-faceted fashion house “… not limited to any category, channel or geography,” which was, of course, my exact thought when I heard the new name.

Actually, I thought of the 1971 Carole King album. Apparently, I’m not the only one. When asked for “the first association you have of a company named Tapestry,” the morning crowd at my local Coffee Bean was evenly split between the Carole King album and, as one person put it, “moldy moth-ridden faded banners hanging in dank castles.” To be fair, one person did say, “A classic luxury fashion house incorporating a swath of different brands,” but to be even fairer he copped to reading an article about the change earlier that morning… and then said, “Carole King.”

Name changes can can communicate important messages: Cassius Clay’s transformation to Muhammad Ali signaled his conversion to Islam while making a resonating statement on race relations in the Civil Rights era; Apple Computer’s change to Apple Inc. relayed they were no longer simply a computer company, but were now purveyors of lifestyle technology; and Bruce Jenner’s emergence from her chrysalis as Caitlin signified trading the gold medal platform for a pair of Jimmy Choo slingback platform sandals (available at Bergdorf’s for just $695 —free shipping, free returns).

Corporate name changes, on the other hand, often make me shrug. In 2013 the French luxury brand group PPR changed its name to Kering to, as the New York Times reported, complete “its transformation into a pure apparel and accessories group, shedding some of the broader collection of businesses on which it once depended.”

Ummm, good job guys, mission accomplished!

In 2000 Andersen Consulting (which used to go by the name Arthur Andersen) changed its name to “Accenture” to communicate:

a) Accounting and Nature
b) The Future of Accounting
c) An Accent on the Future
d) An attempt to distance itself from its complicity with Enron in one of the largest corporate scandals in history.

If you guessed “d” you are probably right, though the corporation insists it’s “c.”

My question is to whom are they trying to communicate these renaming messages? I doubt the person buying a Kate Spade handbag cares if the brand is owned by Tapestry, Kering, or even Kerig… They just want the bag.  Does the corporate or investing world take any notice? My guess is it gives CEOs something to talk about when there’s an awkward lull in the conversation at Davos.

If a rose changed its name to Scentūr to communicate “the smell of the future” I’d smile politely and enjoy my bouquet. As for Coach, they have one of the best shades of tan leather, no matter who owns them. As for Tapestry… It’s a really great album.

Photo Copyright: Copyright: mustachegirl / 123RF Stock Photo

Some More Things That Made 2016 Weird

Flight 2016 is beginning its final descent and as the flight attendants ready the cabin and do their “cross check” I figured it was a good time not inly to stow my bag under the seat in front of me, but to review this trip.

And truthfully, though I had every intention of writing how different segments of the market reacted throughout the year to the “in-flight entertainment” I found one article that made me laugh, smile, and shake my head in bewilderment — so I’ve decided to share that here. I hope you enjoy this article from Realtor.com:

Ho, Ho, Huh?! The 7 Most Bizarre Real Estate Stories of 2016

(Makes a holiday fruit cake not seem so bad, right?)

A Saferoom By Any Other Name

Kim Kardashian’s recent robbery in Paris at gunpoint (in which she was relieved of $9 million of jewelry) brought to mind an article in The Hollywood Reporter about safe rooms being the newest trend in luxury real estate. Knowing that no harm came to Ms. Kardashian, I found this a bit amusing as: a) I personally never travel with more than $5 million in jewelry ($9 million is just ostentatious), and b) the “Safe” or “Panic” room is the latest name for a feature that’s been around for at least one century (if not many more).

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The Mystery of the Vanishing (Good) Restaurants

38034776 - elegant restaurant interiorI’m not 100% behind the plastic bag ban (see why in this Wired.com article), but I do have to admit not having to choose between “paper or plastic” has freed up enough brain cells so I can tackle the important question of “Where should I eat?”

This is a question (more of a conundrum) that I deal with a few times a week as I try to schedule meals with friends, clients and colleagues. On the days I work out of my Brentwood office, dinner I prefer to stay west of the 405 (this is a function of traffic and not an indictment of areas further east), but this has become a harder and harder task as many of my usual haunts have gone out of business. Continue reading

And Yet Another $200 Million Listing…

As you’ve probably heard, Petra Stunt has put her mansion on the market for $195 million.
There are a few things that caught my attention about this listing, and not one of them was the price ― and this lack of surprise is the main thing that caught my attention.
First off, this is just one of the several mega-million dollar listings that have come on the market of late. And where a few years ago a price tag like this would have made heads spin like Linda Blair’s in the “The Exorcist,” among my clients and colleagues this listing is eliciting yawns. Sure, we’ve spoken about it, but usually just in passing:

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Rolling Along In My Own Lane

19611292_sWhat’s all this stuff I keep reading about bowling alleys?

I’m talking about all the bowling alleys I see included as amenities in a bunch of high-end listings of late. For example, Petra Stunt’s $195 million dollar estate has a bowling alley. (It also has a beauty salon, a gym, a wine tasting room, and massage and tanning rooms. My question is: are all of these rooms  within walking distance to each other, or does one  drive to them in the Formula One cars I like to imagine the racing heiress keeps on hand?)

Many other high-end listings, as well as historic buildings, list bowling alleys as amenities. This begs the question: Who the heck is doing all of this bowling? Continue reading

A Santa Monica Hotel And How LA Handles (Or Doesn’t Handle) Change

museum-of-historyAn article in the NY Times about the vociferous opposition to Disney’s rejiggering of a theme park ride got me thinking about mental health — mainly, my own.

Los Angeles is a town of contradictions: The same people who insist on eating only natural organic foods also happily inject non-organic silicone into their laughs lines (to the point that they look quite unnatural). This behavior largely goes without comment, which is really not surprising when you consider that as “the city of dreams,” people come to LA to become someone else: Cary Grant arrived in town as Archibald Leach; Michale Caine was Maurice Micklewhite; and Angelyne was… Well, let’s just move on. Continue reading