All Articles Tagged "luxury"
Producer and “rapper” Timbaland has had enough and he’s not taking it anymore.
According to TMZ, Tim filed a lawsuit last month against American Home Assurance Company for $1.8 million dollars because they have refused to cover the claim of a watch that went missing in 2010.
Timbaland says he paid more than $50,000 in May 2010 to take out an insurance policy that would cover quite a bit of expensive items, including a watch from Jacob the Jeweler. The watch was 18k white gold and draped in over 30 carats of diamonds.
Some kind of way, the watch went missing in August 2010. At that time, Tim was allegedly so upset about it being gone he got his family worked up and they called the police saying they thought he might commit suicide. While Tim told police once they arrived that he was never going to do that, he did tell them that he thought someone he knew stole the watch.
The police started an investigation but it never went anywhere.
But now in the lawsuit against AHA, Timbaland says he thinks his young daughter picked it up and “played with it until she got bored and discarded it somewhere.”
While the value of the watch has not been revealed, the $1.8 million covers the cost of the watch, interest and Tim’s lawyer fees.
There’s been no word from the insurance company as to why they won’t cover the claim.
Oh, the problems of the one percent nation. All I have is a little Michael Kors watch and I guard it as though the plans to change the world are sitting under the face.
Hopefully, all of this will be settled soon.
Sheila C. Johnson has built an empire and living legacy that is more than worthy of the accolades and positive adjectives that are so often used in her presence. That legacy includes co-founding BET, running Salamander Hospitality’s bevy of hotels and resorts, producing prominent documentary and feature-length films (she’s currently an executive producer for Lee Daniel’s feature film The Butler), becoming America’s first African-American female billionaire, and becoming the first African-American woman to own a sports team (Washington’s Mystics, Wizards and Capitals).
And now, this serial entrepreneur and philanthropist is getting into the fashion game with the Sheila Johnson Collection, a line of luxury scarves that feature one-of-a-kind photographs from her travels.
I recently caught up with Mrs. Johnson to learn more about the Sheila Johnson Collection and its philanthropic mission, the story behind the recurring salamander theme in her businesses, and what her advice would be for young women who are interested in starting their own businesses.
Madame Noire (MN): How would you describe the Sheila Johnson Collection to someone that was hearing/reading about it for the first time?
Sheila Johnson (SJ): It reflects my passion for beauty, women’s empowerment, and artistic expression as captured through the lens of the camera.
Everywhere I go, I take my camera. It forces me to slow down, and really look, and really see. And what I’ve seen is so inspiring, from the raw beauty of the natural landscape in my hometown of Middleburg, VA, to the courage of Haitian communities as they rebuild from disaster, to the resilience and strength of women in Africa. I’ve tried to capture those moments in time through my photography, and to share those stories with other women and men through wearable art.
MN: You’ve experienced considerable success with both BET and Salamander Hospitality. Why launch a new business at this stage in your life?
SJ: I am a woman who does not like to sit still. When I see opportunities where I can continue to express myself and continue to challenge the boundaries of sharing my life with others — that’s what gets me out of bed every morning.
MN: In a recent interview you shared that photography has been one of your passions for a long time. What made you choose scarves as the medium for you to share your photos?
SJ: A scarf creates a lasting emotion of feeling nurtured and embraced. Scarves give warmth and tenderness, plus they are accessories that women can use anytime and anywhere. I wanted to draw on that feeling of closeness to give meaning to the stories represented in each scarf.
MN: You also revealed that you recently formed a street soccer team called the Lady Salamanders and that proceeds from the Sheila Johnson Collection will benefit the team. How did you get involved with the team and how have these women impacted your life?
SJ: I first became aware of the street soccer movement when I served as executive producer of the documentary film Kicking It, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. I was inspired by the story of the players in that film, and realized there wasn’t the same focus on the women as on the men, even though they were struggling with the same problems of homelessness and addiction. Through the eyes of these women, you understand how vulnerable life is—and, also, how resilient the human spirit can be. I wanted to help support and empower them as they worked to overcome their challenges, find employment, and build stable, hopeful lives. So I sponsored and helped start the women’s national team, which is called the Lady Salamanders. I’m proud to say, they recently returned from Mexico City, where they competed in the Homeless World Cup!
For 20-somethings, being broke is nearly a fad. We trade war stories about our under-or-unemployed status, dream up creative ways to evade our astronomical student loan payments, and show little shame about moving back in with our parents after college graduation. But once that Twitter hashtag #TeamiPhone or #TeamDroid pops up on our respective timelines, we’re all taking sides and writing dissertations in 140 characters or less about why one is better than the other.
Because despite having one of the highest unemployment rates in the country right now, studies have shown that millennials are the fastest-growing segment of luxury goods and services purchasers.
MSN.com recently reported that “although some millennials – people between the ages of 18 and 34 — are launching promising careers, most are burdened with large student loans, and thousands are unemployed. Despite all this, they are making luxury purchases a priority.”
Jason Dorsey, a millennials expert and the chief strategy officer for The Center for Generational Kinetics told MSN that he believes social media is a driving force in getting young people to prioritize spending money on high-end items. In his opinion, we are buying things so that we can say we did on Twitter, Facebook, or some other social media site. That in turn makes others want to say they did as well. The constant stream of conversation works as a way to sort-of peer pressure virtual strangers into owning non-essentials like flat screens, iPads, luxury cars (along with luxury car notes) and Android cell phones.
There is nothing wrong with wanting nice things, but can we afford those things on top of necessities and debilitating debt from a degree that has yet to result in a real salary? For many, the answer is a resounding no. A survey by WSL/Strategic Retail found that nearly a quarter of millennials are unable to make ends meet. We’re creating lives for ourselves that we cannot afford.
The good news is, studies show that we are less likely to use a credit card to bridge the gap between the money we have and the money we need to buy something. We are charging less and therefore paying off our credit card debt at a faster rate than other age groups. Low bank balances have also morphed us into super frugal shoppers, always finding the lowest price.
The bad news is that even a $250 iPhone from Craigslist is still $250 for a phone.
Of course, a phone isn’t standing in the way of anyone wanting to reach total financial independence, but the mindset that goes into making these costly purchases can be problematic — especially if you’re making these purchases in lieu of saving and investing your money.
Many phone companies are touting $100 a month for a cell phone plan. That seems reasonable for “unlimited everything,” but still that’s $1200 dollars a year. I looked up some numbers on personal finance website, The Motley Fool and it turns out – If you invested that $1200 yearly at a 9 percent interest rate instead of handing it over to Verizon for the next decade, you’d have 22-thousand dollars in 10 years and a whopping 480-thousand dollars in 40 years. $208 a month is $2,500 a year and investing that at the same rate will net you a million dollars in 40 years.
Here’s the thing, in our 20’s, being broke is still something to joke about with friends; but there isn’t anything funny about working our entire lives and then joining the legions of senior citizens who can’t write a five thousand dollar check because we squandered what little disposable income we had while we were young.
Luxury items are great and quality of life is important, but I hope we are more #TeamInvestingInOurselves instead of just #TeamPaddingThePocketsOfThoseWhoAreInTheBusinessOfKeepingUsBroke.
Which side are you on?Alissa Henry is a freelance writer living in Columbus, Ohio. Follow her on Twitter: @AlissaInPink or check out her blog This Cannot Be My Life
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By Andrea Williams
When you ask people about their drink of choice when they’re out and about, hot tea is rarely at the top of the list. It’s a hoity-toity drink that brings to mind aging women with pinkies raised, casually noshing on cucumber sandwiches. But sisters Sonnia Shields and Rena Williams are working to change preconceived notions with their new tea company, SorenTea.
Shields admits that, years ago, the only kind of tea she was used to drinking was the iced variety – with lots of sugar, of course. But everything changed when the Wall Street investment firm she worked for transferred her position to London. Once in the UK, Shields fell in love with the drink, attending afternoon teas and becoming a self-professed “tea snob.” She even took a tea master class, learning everything from how to read tea leaves to the art of cupping.
“I had had hot tea occasionally,” Shields says of her pre-snob days, “but I had never had the bold, rich loose leaf tea that I had in London. It was just a different experience for me.”
So enamored was Shields, that she began thinking about launching a company to share her tea bliss with the world. She had always planned to start a business with her sister and tea seemed the perfect vehicle.
“Before I visited her in London, Sonnia would tell me about her experiences going to afternoon tea, and I knew it was something I wanted to do once I got there,” says Williams. “So I fell in love with tea, but I also fell in love with the idea and the vision for our company.”
That vision is based on opulence, and the sisters have worked hard to develop a top-tier brand that positions their loose leaf blends as an affordable luxury for all occasions – not just sniffles and sore throats.
While writing and producing television programs, such as the Jamie Foxx Show, in the early 2000s, Kevin G. Boyd noticed something. Actors were very particular about their H2O. “They would request specific, premium brands of water in their riders. And they practically flaunted their water, as if it had something to do with their status,” Boyd observed.
Status symbols were certainly at the height of pop culture concern, making Jacob the Jeweler and Cristal Champagne household names. Keenly aware of this, Boyd saw an opportunity to introduce a luxury brand of water that would appeal to image-conscious tastemakers.
Presentation was key. But on a tight budget, Boyd bypassed a professional graphic artist and designed the product in his Los Angeles home office, where he selected everything from the fonts to the casing. Packaged in a frosted glass bottle, adorned with Swarovki crystals, Boyd’s Bling H2O definitely stood out. And at an average $44 a bottle, it gained quite a bit of attention when it debuted in 2006.
One article after another questioned the product’s price point or deemed it the epitome of conspicuous consumption. But all the publicity played right into Boyd’s marketing plan. “The price point is what got us on AOL’s front page, then you name it from Forbes’ outrageous list to Playboy, GQ to Maxim.”
It certainly didn’t hurt that a number of celebrities, like Paris Hilton and Gabrielle Union, were spotted donning bottles of Bling H2O. But it wasn’t just hype that distinguished the product, Boyd said. The water is sourced from a natural spring in Dandridge, TN, where it undergoes a nine-step purification process.
To play up the prestige—and minimize costs, Boyd sold the product as a limited edition. “Because I couldn’t go out and make a million bottles I had to be very strategic about where the bottles ended up,” he said. “So I made sure I got them in the right hands and at sponsored events.”
Image proved to be the driving force behind the success of Bling H20. “Kevin created a brand and elevated water to the next level,” said Michael Mascha, the Los Angeles-based author of “Fine Water: A Connoisseur’s Guide to the World’s Most Distinctive Bottled Waters.” He added, “Putting so much emphasis on the significance of the brand gives it a certain cache. That’s why he had very high visibility in the marketplace early on.”
Mascha, who met Boyd during Bling’s conception, said, “Kevin was one of the very first people who saw the potential of bottled water being an aspirational item.”