Distinctive Assets, the LA-based entertainment marketing company credited with setting in motion the promotional frenzy of celebrity swag into a pop culture phenomenon, will bring its signature Gift Lounge to this year’s DIVAS SIMPLY SINGING! charity concert filmed on November 19, 2023, at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles. Created, hosted, and executive-produced by Emmy winner and Tony nominee Sheryl Lee Ralph, DIVAS SIMPLY SINGING! will celebrate its 33rd year with an incredible roster of talent including Jordin Sparks, Cynthia Erivo, Sharon Stone, Dianne Reeves, Saycon Sengbloh, Lisa Ann Walter, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, Laverne Cox, and Wayne Brady.
“We are excited to join this inspired event which supports such an impactful and enduring charitable program,” says Distinctive Assets founder Lash Fary. “We plan to kick off the holiday season with oodles of fabulous gifts that give back, promote wellness and embrace inclusion.”
I had an opportunity to speak with Distinctive Assets founder Lash Fary and discuss the importance of DIVAS SIMPLY SINGING! and to have him share his thoughts on the importance of inclusivity in the brands offered in a Distinctive Assets gift bag, and holiday gift ideas.
Q: Why is Divas Simply Singing! so important?
LF: This is our first year joining Sheryl Lee Ralph who is such an amazing human being. We are overjoyed to be able to collaborate with her on this and we have an amazing space set up backstage at the Ebell Theatre with our gift bags for the ladies and gentlemen who are a part of the show. The DIVAS SIMPLY SINGING! foundation is a wonderful organization to not only raise awareness of what people are going through with HIV/AIDS but also to promote the prevention of HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening health conditions.
Q: Distinctive Assets is world-renowned for its Grammys Gift bag, Oscars Nominee Everyone Wins swag bag, and Mother’s Day in Hollywood gift bag. How is the Divas Simply Singing! gift bag curated differently from the others?
LF: For me, it’s always about coming up with gifts that will be well-received. These are women and gentlemen who have access to everything - it’s not a financial thing. For any event that I do, I am just interested in making sure that people know about cool stuff that’s out there. That’s been the feedback from over two decades of doing this job and celebrities that we gift, is that we help introduce them to entrepreneurs and product lines they probably wouldn’t have known about otherwise. For example, CocaVaa Chocolatiers was started by a Black, single, female entrepreneur, that people want to know about. If people are going to spend their money on chocolates at Christmas why not help a single Black female entrepreneur if that’s a passion point for you, as it is for most people these days.
We have a line called Hotsy Totsy Haus started by a single deaf mom who launched this bath and body line. She has partnered with an organization called “Deafies in Drag,” and they have curated a box of the Deafinitly Divine Glow Kits.
From my perspective, it’s about inclusivity and I’m always reluctant to jump on that bandwagon because so often that’s what it feels like to people. I have always been inclusive and we have always looked for female and minority-owned businesses to amplify and spread the word about, and we look to introduce to people things that are off the beaten path. I feel like the zeitgeist has caught up to what I have been doing for years. Now everyone is looking for those things and it’s nice that you don’t have to look very far to find them.
I found it fascinating when we publicized a few years ago that we had been focusing on these things and I noticed some of the questions were along the lines of, “Have you noticed a decline in the types of gifts?” “Was it harder to get gifts?” My response was, No! We have amazing brands that I would have included regardless. Now it’s so nice that the media now wants to talk about whether it is a minority-owned brand, or is it a female-owned brand, and are they giving back to their community somehow.
While the ingredients and causes of a product or brand are important, people also want to know if the product is eco-friendly. We have this pillow that we are including from Cate Brown. Cate Brown takes vintage fabric and clothing and turns it into the most interesting pillowcases and pieces, which helps to reduce the carbon footprint.
Millianna does amazing jewelry and she employs refugee women to make the jewelry, which provides a living wage to women who have relocated, are super talented, and looking for something to do professionally. The jewelry that we are including in this event, the owner recently went on a safari in Africa and was inspired by Tanzania and what she saw there. These are Tanzanian-inspired earrings that she’s doing for Divas Simply Singing! that is so stunning.
While all of the items in a Distinctive Assets swag bag are phenomenal, what are some brands that people should know about and consider for their gift list as we enter the 2023 holiday season?
I always have people ask me about gift ideas. I’m here looking at some of the amazing gifts that we will have in the gift lounge, and it always puts me in the holiday spirit.
I find giving gifts to be pretty simplistic and it’s important to not overthink it. So often people come to me and ask for help because they are unsure what to get for this person or that person. I ask them what the person likes, what are their hobbies and interest? What do they notice when they’re out shopping with them? A lot of times people don’t take the time to think about their gifting, and what makes a great gift. Sometimes if you like it, somebody else is going to like it. Even if they don’t, I always recommend not to overthink it. The things that I put together for people are almost all the things that I use in my real life.
Here are holiday gift-giving suggestions from Lash Fary.
A few years ago, I was introduced to this amazing chocolatier Syovata Edari, based in the mid-west with a chocolate line, CocaVaa Chocolatier. The owner was a successful attorney who left her profession to follow her passion to become an award-winning chocolatier. She has the most gorgeous edible works of art and her bonbons are incredible. She also has this artisanal passion fruit mango caramel sauce that is divine. This jar of passion fruit mango caramel sauce will cause you to become obsessed with it. It is the most delicious thing I have had and I am also going to be giving it to people who are on my Christmas gift list.
I am obsessed with skincare and Miage Skincare is a luxury skincare line combining waterless micro-molecule formulas, isotonic nutrient delivery, and human stem cell science. I have been using it for years and I am also giving it to the ladies and gentlemen on my holiday list.
Diego Sebastian Raw Fitness
Health is a big focal point for me and we have fitness training with Diego Sebastian fitness expert.
Thor Kitchen is an amazing line of incredible, professional appliances that are way more affordable than the appliances that we often hear people talk about. They are sold at Lowe’s and Home Depot, but you can get a whole kitchen set for the cost of one appliance from the top-tier professional lines. Thor Kitchen is making it more affordable. While kitchen appliances may not be at the top of everyone’s mind for a holiday gift, one of the best gifts that I have ever received is a refrigerator that some of my best girlfriends got together and bought for me as a gift when I first purchased my home. Whether it’s a gift for someone on your list that you’re putting a little more towards, they have all sorts of appliances such as wine coolers, barbecue grills, and pizza ovens, and a full suite of indoor and outdoor appliances. The point of all of this is that it is also a great gift to give yourself. It’s important for people to know about fabulous affordable options with the high inflation and all of the things going on in the world, gifting yourself a high-quality Thor gift is a great option, and as a gift to myself, I am picking up a Thor oven.
Soapy Faith was started by three Black female sisters featuring all-natural soaps which they make by hand. Soapy Faith is one of the best-selling brands on Etsy and they make fantastic stocking stuffers. I have never smelled a bar of soap that is so amazing, it is almost magical. Soapy Faith is good for people with sensitive skin, eczema, and immunocompromised systems. There is nothing artificial in it.
Foot Cloud is another great stocking stuffer. They are silicone adhesive gel cushions that stick directly to the foot and provide comfort and pain relief. All of my female friends who wear heels love them. They make wearing uncomfortable shoes much more comfortable.
Jambys offers premium unisex house clothes designed to make you feel great at home. This is a gift that makes buying for men easier. While they have products for men and women, many people find buying for men more difficult. Jambys has these hybrid boxers that you can lounge around indoors, but they are also designed so that you can wear them outdoors without them being too obvious or revealing. The fabrics are so soft and amazing. Jambys describes it as inactive wear that you can lounge around in or wear outside.
I am trying to transform breakfast into something that is healthier, and we have products from Living Prana with functional pancakes and waffle mixes with superfoods, mushrooms, and adaptogens that support natural energy, focus, memory, stress reduction, and immunity. These healthy indulgences are organic-certified, gluten-free, plant-based, allergen-free, and free from artificial ingredients…just-add-water so you can prepare them just as easily as you can digest them!
Four Sigmatic has the most incredible line of mushroom-infused coffee, but it does not taste like mushrooms. They have a chocolate protein powder which is amazing. While you may be apprehensive at first, there is no mushroom taste to it. We are gifting the coffee brand’s Think Starter Kit which has the mushroom and adaptogens-filled products you need for mental clarity and a more focused and productive day, unlike regular coffee which tends to drain you. It’s one of those products that you notice the difference once you start to take it.
Q: After Divas Simply Singing! what is next on the horizon for Distinctive Assets?
LF: After Divas Simply Singing! we go into the holiday season and then straight into preparing for the 2024 Grammys which will be held on Sunday, February 4, 2024, at the Crypto Arena in Los Angeles.
The DIVA Foundation’s signature fundraising event, DIVAS Simply Singing! Raising Health Awareness is a highly anticipated and prestigious annual benefit concert that raises awareness and funds for programs that promote the prevention of HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening health conditions. DIVAS Simply Singing! has a rich 33-year history, making it the longest-running consecutive running HIV/AIDS and Health Awareness benefit concert in the United States. The event is filmed annually in Los Angeles, CA.
Divas Simply Singing! will be held on Sunday, November 19, 2023, at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles. The show will be aired on ABC-owned television stations on World AIDS Day on December 1, 2023.
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