Picture it: Wednesday June 3, 2009. This day and the day following will be two days that I will never forget. I was invited to the first ever Hugo Boss sample sale in Chicago by a wonderful friend. Another fab girl joined us. Have you been to a HB sample sale? It is fantastic. Suits were on sale for 3/$1195 (retail between $795 and $1595 each), shirts were $50 vs. $175 each, shoes were $125 vs $295. Its a dream come true for a cheap ass suit lover, like me. We attended the preview event (which cost is $25 each) but got first shot at all the clothes, plus all we could drink (cha-fucking-Ching).
I had one goal that night (from a shopping standpoint), buy a funeral suit. I knew my dad was very near the end, I needed a new suit (writing this now makes me feel bad that I went shopping the night before he died--which is why the next day will never be forgotten).
I found some suits, some shirts, some ties and some shoes. I drank white wine until the bar was dry (its a big gay event, how do you run out of booze?). there were three great things that happened that night: I got a great deal on fantastic clothes, I was able to step away from the death issues and have a great time with some friends, and finally-- the goodie bag!
This Goodie-Bag is legendary (again, HIMYM style). It wasn't a small bag with a soap sampler, it was a huge fucking shopping bag full of heaven. It had full size samples of premium shave cream and gels, shampoos, conditioners, self tanners, body scrubs, soaps, colognes and styling products. This goodie bad (as described thus far) is worth about $250.
There is an envelope containing a large number of gift certificates. These weren't certs for 5% off first time visitors to a dry cleaner either. It was a 90 minute massage for $15; 5 gift certs for full haircut/shave/mani/shoe shines; 40% teeth bleaching and so on.
I divided up the certs between me and my mom (some were more geared towards women). I found a cert for a place I had never heard of: John Allan's. Who is this guy? It wasn't a cert for a free service, but a very for a haircut, hot facial towel, shoe shine, manicure and a drink for $38... I know, this isn't a free thing. What's that all about?
The demographic of the people attending the HB sample sale was more of a higher end shopper, so freebies are not necessarily the attention grabber you'd think. I decided to try out this John Allans. It was unlike anything I had been to before.
It is in the Penthouse of an office building in the loop, on Jackson, near the Board of Trade. I walk in and it is modern, yet classic. I knew not what to expect. I was greeted by the receptionist (very bad word for her, but she receives the clients). My bag was taken away very quickly and I was helped into a smock -like at all salons (the smock not the helped into the smock). I was lead into the lounge while I wait for Amy (my stylist) to get me. I was offered a drink (half a dozen beers, but if I join I can have scotch)...if I join??
I drink a Fat Tire. The lounge consists of a bar, a pool table a 4 seat shoe shine stand and a small seating arrangement with a couch and 2 chairs. Current mens fashion, sports and adventure magazines sit atop the coffee table. Yes, I said CURRENT, my first visit was in June and the July GQ and Outside were on the table. This is no dentist office.
The room has a shoe shine guy, a bartender and another guy just hanging around waiting for something to do. A few minutes later Amy retrieves me from the lounge. We chat about my hair, I get a wash, a condition, a hot towel on my face, a haircut, a manicure and another beer. After the treatments I go to the shoe shine station and get a very nice polish and another beer.
My services were done, so I decide to leave. The receptionist (ugh) asks how things went. She then tells me the "deal" with this place. Its like a modern gentlemens club (don't read this as a strip club). You pay an annual membership and you can come as often as you like for the signature services (shampoo, haircut, mani, shoe shine, hot towel, and a drink or 5). Interesting concept.
I have lived in Chicago for 8 years and haven't found a person or place that I loved to do my hair. The Linfielders know that I loved going to that Oompa Loompa Sylvia in Mac every 3 weeks, and she just did a mediocre job. So if I pay a membership I get as many free haircuts (et Al) I want in a year? The membership price is steep, but if you figure the annual price of haircuts it isn't outrageous. You must tip each visit (or you should): the shoe shine guy, the manicurist and the stylist.
I decided to join. It has a semi elitist feel to it, but not in an unwelcoming way. Anyone can join, but not everyone will.
I just paid them a visit tonight before JDEs flight lands. It is nice to be greeted by name (Norm!) and have good service. From an Economics stand point, the membership is a sunk cost, if I use it or don't I still paid the same amount, the variable cost is the tips associated with frequent visits.
A guy I chatted with tonight (hot, but this place is NOT a gay club or a hookup joint) comes every Friday. I would come every week too, if my office weren't 12 blocks away. Its a 7 minute train ride, but its not super convenient. I really enjoy that place too.
As a member I have a few free passes for friends to come in and try it out. It would be even more fab if a few friends would meet up regularly. I will have to work on that.
I only wish they offered more spa services like an esthetician or massage therapist.
Google it. And if you live in Chicago or New York (new location in Beverly Hills soon) sign up and treat yourself.