The Fun Just Never Ends (Well, Not Yet.)

IMG_2247Well, by now you’ve heard all about the LA event the Posse had and how much fun it was and you’re chartreuse with envy if you weren’t there (so tell them you want another one in 2014.) But if you read the post that went live yesterday at PST you might be getting greener. Well prepare to go olive because today Portia and I were squired by one of the participants, the handsome and charming Daniel on a tour of LA. He is wonderful and a practitioner of Ayervedic Healing (I hope I got that right) who designed ONA spa, inside the place that took over the Spanish Kitchen I wrote about. He’s a delight.

Daniel loves Los Angeles and likes to do the same thing I do: show off the city. So He took us up to Mulholland and through Beverly Hills and to the Lake Shrine (which if you come to LA you must see) and then into Venice to visit Strange Invisible Perfumes. Portia had never been and we made a raucous little group. So much so that after about 10 minutes the other customer in the store, a lovely young lady from New York named Sarah came over to join in on the fun. We sniffed everything and Portia and Daniel made purchases. Ashleigh was helping us and was great- she even let us sniff (since obviously Portia won’t be here in two weeks to try it) the new Astrological Series scent Aquarius, which is completely divine. I scribbled some notes: frankincense, grapefruit, lavender, beeswax and neroli I can make out. It’s a winner.

Then was Lunch and a stop into Le Labo, which was conveniently next door. Now, I suppose I must have been aware that Le Labo had opened up in Venice, but I guess I filed the info under “useless” since there’s a Le Labo in Barney’s on Wilshire and one on 3rd by the Beverly Center. Or to be more precise two storefronts down from Magnolia Bakery (why yes, I do navigate the city by pastry. Doesn’t everyone everywhere?)

Well, I was wrong.

The one place in the LA event that was a bit of a let-down was Barney’s. I didn’t expect them to genuflect upon our arrival, but there was a busload of people with their credit cards practically in their teeth looking to purchase. They were sort of greeted with blank stares when frankly it should have been more like a Warner Bros. cartoon where dollar signs pop up in the eyeballs and the lower jaw pops out like a cash register, complete with sound effects. I was so appalled that this was happening in my adopted hometown that I just bailed and went to the Beverly Hills Market (where you need to go when you visit- great weekly lunch specials and the nicest people evah) for a diet coke.

Which meant I missed out that L’Artisan had a presentation for us and that Justin from Le Labo had come in especially from the Venice store to greet us. Happily, Justin was at that Venice store  when we went in.IMG_2250

Le Labo needs to clone Justin.

We all have had sales assistants who were not great: poorly informed, uninterested; whatever. I like Barney’s but except for a couple of people am kind of shocked when I have to tell an SA what the new item in the collection they’re ostensibly repping is. It’s not my job to know, but since their paycheck is from there, it is theirs. I would be shocked for instance to find a salesperson at Casa de Cadillac not to know about the 2014 CTS.

Justin knew his stuff. I’m already familiar with the line but he took Portia and Daniel through it, telling us about the oils (which I hadn’t tried and are fab) and the new solid thingy (which is fab- I think I need one for the car- his suggestion) and even telling us that new scents being introduced later in the month. He wasn’t able to show them to us sadly but he did tell us that this is the first release in a couple of years and there would be two of them. I can’t wait. He was so kind and helpful he even gave us (flawless) tips on how to navigate back to Beverly Hills from Venice in the g-dawful choking Westside traffic from Venice at Rush Hour.

Portia bought a travel-size and I think my future Le Labo purchases shall be in Venice. Even if it’s a three-bus commute. That level of customer service should be rewarded.

Images: Roses at the Lake Shrine and interior Le Labo by my iPhone

  • turquoisewater says:

    I’m so sorry I had to miss out! I haven’t yet been to Le Labo or Strange Invisible Perfumes; must fix that. I feel the need to add a comment about Barneys because well, I just felt so icky after I left there last time and wondered if they just didn’t like me! Now I know it wasn’t me! 🙂 I was completely ignored by every SA at the fragrance counter when I last visited – not even a ‘hello’ – they all stood there leaning against the back of the counter with their arms crossed. The only attention was from them looking me up and down from head to toe, and that always makes me feel like I’m being sized up, hence the icky feeling. I don’t want to go back there. I have had very positive experiences at the SF Barneys, however.

    • Tom says:

      Interesting! And really really stupid considering that LuckyScent and Le Labo are are right in the neighborhood (or a short drive) and have almost everything Barney’s carries..

  • Dina C. says:

    Dear Tom,

    Thanks for sharing your perspective on the LA Scentsation event and the post-event happenings. It sounds like you were a big part of the success of the trip — directing the bus through the traffic, etc. That’s no small thing. As a person who lives in a congested major city, I know how crucial it can be to get in the correct lane in just a matter of seconds so as not to miss a turn. 🙂 Glad to hear about the lovely sightseeing and especially the even lovelier scent sniffing at Le Labo. I have Iris 39, and I’d love to sniff their new releases. I haven’t ever been to one of their boutiques, but it’s on my bucket list. 🙂

  • Jan Last says:

    OK, next year I’m going. No excuses. I want the trip, the bus, the whole nine yards! The pastry, too.

  • Mary says:

    I am SO crying right now reading about your adventures! I lived in LA for 10 years, but didn’t give a rat’s a** about perfume. Now, I live in a fragrance wasteland and am a complete perfume slut.

  • Tatiana says:

    Still envious I couldn’t make it to this event. Wondering if the Barney’s experience you had is just local. I’ve had the most wonderful experiences w the gracious and well informed SAs at my local SF Barney’s. it remains one of my favorite places to sniff and shop for perfume. It’s good to know about the Venice LeLabo store.

    • Tom says:

      I usually have great experiences there. This was a glitch.

    • Tara says:

      I have had great experiences at the NYC and SF Barneys but every time I have to interact with the Beverly Hills store it does not give me the warm fuzzies. They just do not seem interested or motivated to give great customer service.

      • Tom says:

        Interesting- I have to admit I don’t really shop there much. But they’ve always been nice to me.

  • Joni Dischner says:

    I am definitely olive, and not even a delicious bleu-cheese-filled kind of olive. I’m the red-stuffed-jealous-pimento-brain inside olive. You’re making me want to take a perfume vacation to LA.

    Geapefruit, neroli, and grapefruit? Aquarius sounds like my kind of scent, and I can’t wait to try it. I can’t speak for everyone, but I also navigate by pastry or sweet treat. 😉

  • malsnano86 says:

    Yes, I am indeed well past chartreuse with envy! Someday, SOMEDAY, I’m going to make it to one of these things. But kudos to Justin and three cheers for well-informed, friendly SAs everywhere.

  • Ann says:

    Tom and Portia, so glad you’re having a ball sniffing your way around L.A. Sorry about the attitude problem at Barney’s; that’s a shame. But happy that other places were so welcoming and helpful. Can’t wait to smell the new Le Labos, too.

  • FearsMice says:

    Being Irish meself, I’m Kelly green with envy! Glad to hear that you got to hang with Portia and were treated well throughout the day. (And yes, I navigate terrain by food, too!)

  • Tiara says:

    So jealous of all of the perfume availability in your neck of the woods. I really need to get myself up to Liz Zorn’s new studio which isn’t too far from me. She’s the lone perfume store outside of the department stores. We don’t have a Barney’s or a Neiman’s, Saks is downtown and our local Nordstrom has a very small perfume department. However, we do have a Graeter’s ice cream store 2 blocks away–with pastries!

  • poodle says:

    I’m still stunned at how Barney’s treated you. I’ve never been in one but I would think that when a bus load of people come in to sniff and shop that they would bend over backwards to sell you stuff.
    It must be a hoot hanging with the lovely Portia. I’m glad you managed to find some helpful sales people as well.

  • Portia says:

    What a super day! I have never had such good fragrant service as I have been priveliged to enjoy in your company Tom. They can’t wait to give you info and a tour.
    Portia xxx