fancy.....discover the difference

Posted by Alexandria Williamson on



I know that fancy, and LUXURY are not the same.  I also know that most people don't know the difference, or even that there is a difference. Or that fancy is a real actual product and class category.

Wait. Before you click off because you don't agree, or this seems completely unimportant to you. There is one fancy thing that people do know about. Boutique Hotels.

Now do I have your attention?  Okay let's continue

There is a distinct difference, but the reason most people don't know about fancy is because fancy is hidden from the masses. You won't find it at the grocery store, you won't find it at the mall, not even in Beverly Hills.  Of course it's on Amazon, and the internet as well if it's not on Amazon, but you have to know the right key word to find it. I'm so afraid of posting this blog post because I feel like I'm going to come off as snobby, or ill informed or both. There is a real trade show called the Fancy Food Show. You have to have certain trade credentials to get in.  It's not called the gourmet food show, or the luxury food show, or the natural food show (that's a thing too). There is a reason why it's called the Fancy Food Show. The internet is forever. So if I make a fool of myself with this post that's forever. Yikes!  But I'm going to take that risk because I know even if you think I'm some silly, ill informed snob, once you discover the world of fancy (not luxury) your life will be enriched and as they say, thank me later :-).

Fancy is always luxurious, but LUXURY is almost never fancy. Why? Because fancy is not mass produced. The fact that most people don't know that fancy even exists is so unfortunate because fancy will give you exponentially more luxury than any status symbol you'd find sold at the mall. Fancy is luxury concentrate.  Which is why it's not designed to be consumed by masses of people. It could never accommodate stock holders, and guarantee a return on investment. It's only aim and guarantee is to be authentically fancy.  It's aim is not to be impressive to your friends, although it might happen by accident. You don't have to be rich to indulge and enjoy fancy. You just have to know where to look.   In order to know where all of the fancy jewels are buried you either have to be born into the fancy world, stumble across it accidentally, or if you're lucky you have a friend who you let you in on the secret.  I'm that friend so let's explore.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. That is so true, and a video is worth a million.  So I will be using pictures and videos as teaching aids for this lesson as important tools to let you know what real fancy is, and hopefully this lesson will be worth it's weight in gold to you.  I hope I do a good job. I'm not a professional teacher, and my daughter says I'm a terrible teacher so fingers crossed I will teach this lesson to you well so that your life will be enriched, and may even save you money.
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So first let's talk about what fancy is. You've heard the word many times. However, like many words that we say, we really have no idea what the word REALLY means. I've looked it up on the internet dictionary and the definition is so vague. Which is why I'm nervous because from here on I'm going to dispute the authority. The actual dictionary.  No fancy is not a synonym for luxury. It's not opposite, it's just different. It's distinctly different.  So different that people are missing out if they don't know what the difference is, where to find it, and what fancy feels like. Kind of like you don't know, what you don't know. 
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Here in this lesson I'm going talk about the characteristics of fancy things and the fancy world, and most importantly how and where to find it.  Fancy can be found mostly in these categories:
  • food
  • wine
  • tea
  • cheese
  • body care & fragrance
  • transportation
  • hospitality

There are actually more areas like musical instruments, architecture, fashion, interior design, I could go on. But I want to stick to thinks you use in you everyday life.

Now let's talk about the characteristics of fancy, and the stark difference between fancy and LUXURY. I think these two beautiful automobiles show the difference perfectly, and is a great place to start.  These bullet points might repeat from the paragraphs above, but I wanted to put the points in this format to make them stand out and also to be easily remembered.

Let's start with fancy

  • Always handmade in small batches, and can never be massed produced
  • Uses very high quality elements, ingredients, tools, and or production methods to produce a highly effective, or enjoyable and luxurious experience or product.
  • can be one of a kind, but is always limited in quantity if it's not one of a kind.
  • can be a status symbol, but that's not it's aim
  • only accessible to the rich (in person) because of the neighborhoods it's found in
  • Never, ever corporate owned and not stock market friendly
  • Doesn't have high profit margins due to the high cost of production in order to achieve the end result in quality.
  • designed to make customers happy and not stock holders happy
  • doesn't have to be new

Okay that covers the important parts.  I will talk a bit more when we get into the specific categories.  Now lets talk about LUXURY.

 

LUXURY

  • Always massed produced
  • is easy to find and very accessible to the general public
  • is advertised to the general public
  • usually corporate owned and traded on the stock market
  • designed to impress others and elevate social status
  • has to be new
  • has to always be perceived by general public as a luxury brand
  • always very expensive

 

Again there's more to it but I think we have enough to work with to make the overall distinction between fancy and LUXURY.  Here are more photos to illustrate the point.

 

Fancy is a Grade A cashmere sweater, and buttery soft Italian lambskin trousers. LUXURY is a cotton t-shirt with GUCCI printed on it and GUCCI sweatpants to match. Whether it's a belt buckle, a broach, sweat pants, or the famous bag, it's still LUXURY because it's a GUCCI belt buckle, broach, sweat pants, or handbag. Where as the cashmere sweater may be luxurious, it's not LUXURY.  It's fancy.  You're not going to get any social status from wearing a Grade A cashmere sweater, and highest quality buttery soft Italian lambskin trousers, but it will feel so amazing and luxurious. Now remember I said you don't find fancy at the mall. Where you will find it is tucked away in very rich and affluent neighborhoods and small quaint little cities like Chocolate & Cashmere, that's tucked away in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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You know what never gets old? Getting up in the morning and watching a beautiful battalion of hot air balloons glide across the sky as I watch them on my balcony. Those sunsets are pretty awesome too, but those balloons are something else.  A battalion of Lear Jets streaking across the sky um just wouldn't hit me the same way.  Every now and then a team of fighter jets tear across the sky and scare the living day lights out of me. So yeah for me I'd take drinking a nice bottle of wine in a hot air balloon any day to drinking it on a private jet.  Now taking a private jet to my favorite fancy boutique hotel in Cape Town, South Africa - 

Now that is bucket list stuff right there.  Would you be able to get social status when you tell your friends that you stayed at the La Fontaine in Africa. Well probably not. First of all because when people envision Africa luxury and social status definitely doesn't come to mind. And who has even heard of the La Fontaine. However, if you said you stayed at the Waldorf in Vegas, yup social status galore.  Totally different experience though.

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Now this is where fancy shines. Although, again the masses don't have access to fancy food.  Wait I stand corrected. They didn't, but they do now through the internet. It's accessible but still hard to obtain,  because it's always sold out.  It is accessible though. Not as accessible as gourmet food.  That's everywhere. Well not everywhere, because even Wholefoods isn't real gourmet, and Gelsons is about as close as it gets. The good news though is that you can find a few authentic fancy food brands in certain stores, at certain malls, in certain cities.  For example you can find Bella Cucina Artichoke Lemon Pesto at Sur la Tab., and it's also now at Neiman Marcus.
So see in this case with Bella Cucina it's fancy but you can make it LUXURY, because you can say you got it at Neiman Marcus.  If you just said you're serving Bella Cucina not so much. I haven't had Bella Cucina in quite a while so I don't know if it's still the same since it's now in Neiman Marcus.  It might be watered down, but let's hope not because it was AMAZEBALLS!!!!  Do you notice something? Alisa is wearing fancy clothes, not LUXURY BRAND clothes.
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However real classic pesto, the absolute best pesto on the planet, is here.  Just the other day my daughter was telling me that she tells her friends about my usual vain attempt at finding real pesto at restaurants.  I'm usually so disappointed.  With chicken piccata, my other favorite dish, I usually get pretty lucky. Pesto however, not so much because I know what REAL pesto tastes like.  It's divine!!!!  It's always sold out everywhere.  It's even sold out at Amazon!  You know what's a good spot for imitation fancy food? Trader Joes! They don't have as much of it as they used to when they first started. But yeah that's why their food tastes so good, and why they are so successful.  It's a great business model, and much needed.  Because, well let's just put it this way parmesan cheese doesn't come in a green can, and tea doesn't come in a bag. Well I guess parmesan cheese does just not Parmigiano-Reggiano. So yeah I stand corrected. I could write an entire separate blog post on just fancy food, especially because I love it so much.  So let me just do this.  I'm going to at least give you areas of things you find in the grocery store that you should please google so you can get the real version of it.  For just a little bit more money it will literally change your life
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • loose leaf tea
  • demerara sugar (not brown sugar)
  • honey
  • pesto
  • pepper jelly
  • capers
  • cheese
  • truffle salt
  • vanilla
  • vanilla extract

I know you can find those things listed above (not the demerara sugar) at the grocery store, but they won't be the fancy version. I wanted to mention them though just so you will have it.  That is what I would talk about in part 2 is how to find the fancy versions of all of them. This is actually the tip of a very large iceberg.  It's a start though.  So yeah if you want to impress your friends at a dinner party just grab some champagne and caviar.  Done and done.  However, if you want to indulge like royalty, fancy food, not gourmet food. is the only ingredient that will do that.  That is why there is a trade show called the Fancy Food show. It's very hard to get into, you need the right credentials and it's for the trade, but it is Disneyland for the palate.  If enough people actually read this blog post, I might do a part 2 just on fancy food because there is a lot to cover.  However, since I only have a little more than 300 Instagram followers...um I'm thinking maybe I might get 5 people to read the blog lol.  No worries, it's part of the nature of being fancy.  Not a lot of people know about us.

 

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I believe in everything I do, but I have to be honest this is bit uncomfortable because this feels like a shameless plug. Everything I'm about to say is true I just think when I say it it's going to come off like I'm trying to sell something.  You know salesy like a used car salesman. But you know now that I think about it, it is kind of important that I do say what I'm about to say. It will put Skin Like Butter in the proper context especially since it's not on Etsy anymore.

Actually let's start there. Skin Like Butter IS fancy, which is why it was so successful on Etsy. I'm going to sound like an old man now, but back in my day way back when Etsy first started it was a place where the fancy world, and the handmade world met.  I had never planned on being on Etsy because I was already in the fancy world. That is a long story of that decision so another blog post. The important bit was and still is that I've always wanted to masses, or at least more of the masses to have access to fancy.  The beauty industry is where fancy is REALLY hard to find. Luxury beauty is everywhere. It's in every mall and nook and cranny. Unlike fancy food which is just as hard to find, luxury beauty brands are sometimes not healthy AT ALL. Luckily that is changing, and with the internet most of the healthy beauty brands are very accessible to people. That makes me happy. 

Okay so what's fancy about Skin Like Butter. Um how can I say this without sounding salesy. Well in a word it's the best of both worlds.  It's healthy and luxurious at the same time.  I have to be careful here because Shopify will ding me if I tell you the actual benefits of the ingredients.  I will put it this way. Remember earlier when I was describing the GRADE A cashmere sweater.  Well let's take Lavender Essential Oil for example.  There are different grades, tons of grades, and I use the highest grade in our lavender argan oil for example. Take our Argan Oil. Wow there are a lot of variations in Argan everywhere. My argan oil is hand deodorized, virgin, organic argan oil. The Shea Oil is as unique as the argan oil. Why is that important? Because Skin Like Butter is fancy, not just healthy.  I can't just have Shea Oil, or Argan Oil.  There are many companies now days that do have Shea Oil, and Argan oil that are very beneficial.  Skin Like Butters shea and argan oil has to be fancy because it has to smell amazing.  Meaning it has to still be natural and beneficial, but designed in such a way that the scent canvass is completely clean so that all of the notes in all of our beautiful fragrances can accurately come through. Remember I'm fancy, so there are things I'm exposed to that aren't common.  For example, years ago my friend and sorority sister and I went to tea at the Huntington Library in San Marino.  OMG when I walked through their rose garden it was the most beautiful smell of rose I had ever smelled.  And I don't even like Rose scents, or at least I thought I didn't.  It took me about 2 years of searching and I found that exact rose that engulfed me at the Huntington Library, and my customers love it as much as I do.  Had I not gone to tea that day that rose wouldn't exist, because I don't like rose.  The same with Jo Malone. Ugh I fell in love with her Orange Blossom. Talk about fancy. DIVINE!!  However, her ingredients for her body cream not so much. That scent was a must have, and I had it custom made when I couldn't find an Orange Blossom that smelled like her Orange Blossom.  Actually the Skin Like Butter's Orange Blossom is a little better.  That is only because it's a bit clearer which if you read finding your signature scent you would know why that's important.

I found out the hard way (4th paragraph if you read the story) that if you are a fancy brand it's not good for too many people to find out about you.  Especially if it's all at one time.  Remember, in the beginning I said fancy is not made for mass production.  If you are reading this you are on the sister site of skinlikebutter.com.  It's on skinlikebutter.com that you will be able to read the reviews of my customers who love Skin Like Butter and have been loyal for decades.  And although it's a real struggle to stay in existence without Etsy, it's my customers who keep me fighting the good fight to keep Skin Like Butter alive. Okay fine it's for selfish reasons too because I want a fancy AND healthy which there is only one Skin Like Butter.  But just so you know what I mean by fancy bath and body, not Luxury, and well not necessarily healthy (not unhealthy to be clear), but sooooo fancy let me share with you a few of my absolute favs. Shelley KyleLollia, Tokyo Milk, Mor, 

Why are there two sites.  Well this is the fancy site :-).  All jokes aside, this is the fancy site, but I also learned from what happened on Etsy to make sure I have two as a backup just in case.

 

 

 

 

~ Hotel Bel Air - fancy

What's the most distinctive characteristic about fancy? It's hidden. That's the same with fancy hospitality. Hotel Bel Air, for example, is nestled deep inside of Bel Air. Before technology, if you had never been there, had never been invited to a wedding there, had never been invited to brunch there, you would never know it even existed, let alone how to get there.  The Beverly Hills Hotel was for Hollywood celebrities.  The Hotel Bel Air was for Hollywood Royalty, Los Angeles Royalty, well Royalty.  Think about it. If it's designed for Royalty it's not designed to impress. They are royalty! You can't impress them. You affirm their royalty. So when you walk in the door they don't ask you for your royal id card lol.  Of course not? They make you feel like royalty too.  They don't impress you, they enrich you. The beauty, the gardens, the swans, the fragrance, the ahhhhhh. You get that whether you are paying $25,000 a night, or $500 a night. Maybe it's just me, maybe it's where and how it's situated, but although both the Beverly Hills Hotel, and Hotel Bel Air are owned by the same group, The Hotel Bel Air just has a certain magic that the other hotel doesn't have.

 

~ Burg Al Arab - LUXURY

The fact that it's built on it's own island, and you can't miss it pretty much screams LUXURY from the tallest mountain top. Also, I'd say getting picked up in a Rolls Royce, and being the only 7 star hotel in the world is the definition of luxury. It's most expensive suite is $24,000 a night as well. However, according to their website rooms, which are full suites start at $1,042 a night. I've never been  there, never rode in a Rolls Royce, and this is not my vibe AT ALL.  This does however check all of the LUXURY boxes.  According to the reviews all of the guests were more than pleased with their stay AND they can say they stayed in the only 7 star hotel in the world.  So yeah in a cocktail party game of one upmanship they would win by a long mile, and cash in buckets of social status.

 

~The Four Seasons Seychelles Private Residences- fancy Luxury

Leave it to the Four Seasons to blend and have it's own category....fancy Luxury. This is the tip top.  Right here is the perfect definition of what I said in the Instagram post- GETTING YOU AS CLOSE TO HEAVEN WITHOUT THE ONE WAY TICKET.  I mean sure the Four Seasons isn't advertised on TV and might not be a house hold name, but you'd have to be living under a rock if you've never heard of the Four Seasons.  So it definitely checks the LUXURY box. Well if you've made it this far (thank you by the way) and have never heard of the Four Seasons this information right here is worth it's weight in gold and definitely is a benefit of reading the blog article.  If you just have a cup of tea at the Four Seasons it will be life changing. If you haven't done that. Do that ASAP!  

 

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Well this concludes the lesson. Well almost. I have one more little bit of information I'd like to share with you before school is out.  However, before I do I hope just in case your attention span won't last past this point lol, I've done an okay job of letting you know that fancy and LUXURY are not the same.

 

Now for the extra credit. 

Fancy, it's roots, come from royalty. Not centuries ago royalty, I mean millenia ago royalty. Fancy is always old. Even when it's new it's old. Fancy started with the Egyptians, and is still enjoyed by Royalty today. You can't get a job to be royal. There is no college major for throne acquisition. If something is created to be actually authentically fancy, that means it's created to be actually authentically priceless.  It's value is that it is pleasing to the monarch. In order to be pleasing to the monarch, which means pleasing to the divine because pharaohs were gods and monarchs that followed were considered divine.  The the energy had to match.  The meal, the item, the entertainment, etc. (we will just let that etc. just sit there lol), had to be divine. It had to be fancy. You have to remember capitalism is a new phenomenon. Status symbols and luxury didn't exist before capitalism. The monarch certainly didn't need luxury or a status symbol, because He WAS LUXURY and He WAS THE ONLY STATUS SYMBOL. Fancy things were designed for him or her to enjoy and AFFIRM his or her royalty.  Hence the term fit for a king. So back then if you designed something that's fit for a king.  it's not like you were going to make it and have it delivered to Nordstom. Then have his staff trot down to the plaza to pick it up for him. No it was made and then delivered to the castle. Fancy then, and now wasn't accessible to the masses. So now can you see what fancy is?  It's something that is available and accessible to and enjoyed by royalty and nobility still to this day. As well as those who live in the old, quaint little tucked away hamlets, and towns (not suburbs) that no one's ever heard of with cute little boutiques in charming little shopping areas....not malls, that a lot of time you can't even find on a map.

If you read the cute little love story (which maybe not since it might have been a turn off since I've lost quite a few followers after posting it...but I digress) Reign. was fancy.  There are fancy people too.  Just like with everything else fancy Reign was hidden in plain sight. Who would actually believe his name was Reign. because he was royal, and he rarely told people he was. To most he was just a high school history teacher. Another example of a fancy person who we all loved was Princess Diana.  It wasn't her royal status that made her fancy. She brought fancy to the royal family.  It was her.

LUXURY is valuable.  However, it's strongest most important value is the status it will give to the owner. Fancy is equally as valuable. It's only value is the extreme high luxurious quality of the item or experience. Fancy can give nothing more, and it's owner expects nothing less.

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