I consider myself to be blessed - how on earth did I get here? Hollywood, LA, California – the sunshine state (well not so gloriously sunny on our visit but more than good enough for a Brit used to nothing but cold in February). We are in the goody bags given to the Academy Awards nominees and dandi goes to Hollywood!
The dandi patch journey began at Heathrow, filled with anticipation at the adventure that awaits. We were not disappointed. Our wonderful US PR Partner, David of DG Media, had lined up a flurry of activities. We were going to be busy!
After arriving, driving into LA with no Sat Nav (but somehow managing to find our apartment and base for the week by simply following our noses), we settled in, bought supplies and tried to stay up as late as possible to avoid the onset of jet lag.
Wednesday, our first sunny morning in LA, began with a briefing over alfresco coffee whilst observing the bustle of this wonderful place (yes, we were in love with LA already!). We then hot footed it to meet Sultan of Swag and Gift Guru Lash Fary, and the wonderful Jodi who have been tremendously helpful and supportive in placing dandi patch into the goody bags. They love the dandi patch and we love them! We had tea in Lash’s most amazing HQ with Dorothy’s legs and ruby slippers sticking out from under the huge comfy sofa – I could have stayed all day.
After a quick photo, we headed off to do magazine interviews for a few hours, talking about the success of dandi patch to curious journalists who were keen to see the product and thrilled at its existence. We left feeling very proud that dandi patch was being so well received and causing such excitement.
Thinking a little treat might be in order, we made our way to Beverley Hills to have a bite to eat and a cup of tea in the lovely Beverley Wilshire Hotel. After an hour or so of trying to figure out our bearings in respect of the foyer and famous piano scenes (I’m sure we have all seen the film) and picturing Edward Lewis and Vivian in situ, we went off for a stroll around Rodeo Drive. Did we buy much? No - but hopefully next year!
Finally, we headed to the exclusive and discreetly located Soho House and took a moment to marvel at the breath-taking views before ordering yet another cup of tea. After a very positive meeting we decided to chill, have a glass of wine and eat, little did we expect to be eating within yards of music royalty – a perfect end to the day.
Our week continued in the same vein, fitting in as many meetings and interviews as possible. Juggling business meetings, PR, press interviews with a little sightseeing but hardly any R&R, it was certainly all go and we were loving it.
Driving to Orange County for meetings, somehow rush hour in the LA sunshine just did not feel anything like the M25. We headed to Laguna Beach and then up to Long Beach, taking plenty of sunset pictures on route. A soirée with friends who were visiting LA then followed and we were amazed at the most wonderful and curious house with a throne for a toilet, fabulous darling!
And now to the famous Hollywood sign. It had to be done and we were honoured to be escorted by the wonderful and talented Jennifer Veal and her lovely mum Annette.
After an impromptu photo shoot and lots of giggles, Jenny educated us on the wonders of Boomerang and we then headed down Hollywood Boulevard to spot her billboard.
We managed to squeeze in The Ivy for a spectacular lunch and it was delightful. Such a cosy and quaint restaurant with an abundant display of the most beautiful colour roses that were screaming ‘photo opportunity’ for dandi patch (well, it had to be done). The cuisine was certainly of the standard you would expect – delicious! So comfortable were we, that three hours later when evening diners began to arrive, we thought we really should leave.
On to the Viper Room. Thrilled to be invited and curious as to what lie in store, we were not disappointed. Immediately feeling the intensity of our surroundings, we made our way through the dark entrance corridor. With black floors, walls and ceilings throughout, the gritty and relatively small space felt somewhat intimidating but exciting. This was a night of up and coming musicians and we watched and enjoyed the different acts amongst the bustle of the club. And then came singer/songwriter Savannah Gardner who was making her debut there. Within the first few sultry notes, the room started paying attention and the more she sang, the quieter it became. What a talent and what a presence! Savannah had an aura about her that was mesmerising and after being transfixed by her whole set, we clambered to get a pic with her. I truly believe that we witnessed something very special that night and have no doubt we will be hearing much more of Savannah Gardner in the future.
One more night left and boy what a night it was! Oscar night and LA was in a frenzy! In our posh frocks we scrutinised the red carpet and tried to figure out who was wearing dandi patch – not that you could ever tell. Knowing that all the nominees were receiving dandi patch in their goody bags was so exciting. We then headed over to the Elton John Aids Foundation 25th Anniversary Oscar Viewing Party in Hollywood Park. We felt so honoured to be there and this was not your usual marquee. As far as big tents go, this was inexplicable. A huge foyer with a ceiling adorned with beautiful crystal, leading to a number of different rooms on a very grand scale. I am talking big with a capital B. No corners were cut for this very worthy cause.
What an amazing night! Did I expect to have a conversation with Sir Elton John and David Furnish? No. But boy I did and they were so charming and lovely. I had to think about protocol as I am so used to shaking hands but somehow that didn’t seem appropriate, so I found myself doing the hokey cokey with my hands throughout the night, never knowing whether to shake or not. It was all so surreal. Every time I turned there was a recognisable face and I almost walked straight into Sting at one point. The night was a huge success and raised a record breaking $7million for the global effort to end AIDS, we were delighted to have played a (very small) part in that.
After partying until 3am and being amongst the last handful to be politely escorted from the event, we headed to base to get a little sleep ahead of our early meeting in the morning before our flight. That’s when the realisation hit us that we hadn’t even had the chance to pack, whoops! So, you can imagine the next morning, after a mere 4 hours’ sleep, we were frantically attempting to pack, at the same time as making ourselves look bright and fresh for a meeting.
Case weights - check, plane tickets - check, passports – check, directions to airport – check.
With one final successful meeting under our belts, we said goodbye to our LA partner David and headed to the airport, still in whirlwind mode. Needless to say, we slept most of the way back and it wasn’t until we were once again on UK soil that the enormity of the past week hit us. It was a week of a lifetime and another extraordinary step in the journey of dandi patch.
What next I wonder? 😉