Ideal Luxury was featured on the front page of the October 11 edition of the Orange County Register. It’s a fun and interesting article in a string of recent press pieces across the country featuring Ideal Luxury and owner Mark Schechter. Read an excerpt below and/or visit the OC Register’s website to read the complete article written by Amanda Fletcher.
Original Article on ocregister.com
The mirrored lenses of Mark Schechter’s Ray-Bans glint against tanned skin. He is tall and lean, dressed in a button-front shirt, brushed twill shorts and rubber thong sandals. He moves deftly through a crowded waterfront restaurant in Newport Beach like an athlete, a cluster of packages under his arm.
He smiles affably at everyone he passes, raising his hand in acknowledgement as he heads toward a table full of impeccably put together women. He greets them warmly, places his things on the table in front of him. Hear him ask after children in college, husbands away on business, the health of a parent, the progress of divorce proceedings.
This man with his simple grace and athlete’s build could be anything – the personal trainer, tennis pro, financial adviser or just a family friend. The fact is he fits in so well, no one is even wondering what a licensed pawnbroker is doing here, meeting well-heeled ladies who lunch.
The proprietor of Ideal Luxury (and an Ironman triathlete), Mark – everybody just calls him by his first name – coordinates buying, selling and lending on luxury goods only through private appointment. The Tustin-based luxury goods concierge will meet his clients just about anywhere, any time, because he’s as committed to closing the deal as he is to crossing the finish line.
After the salads and chardonnay, watch how dramatically he presents a sage green velvet box the size of a laptop, unsnapping the lid and folding it back to reveal a Van Cleef & Arpels 18-karat gold mother-of-pearl and onyx Alhambra necklace.
Hear the women gasp, more than one of them asking, “How much?”
A mere $19,500, a fraction of retail. And this isn’t the only treasure he’s brought with him. The women ooh and aah over Tiffany, Chanel, Cartier.
Mark is in the business of finding things. The right Van Cleef & Arpels necklace, the 40-year-old bottle of scotch, the 1943 vintage Rolex, even an exact replica of the ring your wife saw last summer in Tuscany on someone else’s finger – but with a better quality stone.
At Ideal Luxury, says Mark, “Our clients tell us exactly what is on their wish lists, who they want us to share these wishes with, and we make it happen.”
Another thing Mark can get his hands on? Cash, in a pinch.
“Clients use my money to make more money,” he says. Often what happens is that Orange County clients see a financial opportunity they can’t pass up – a hot beachfront property, say – and are in need of immediate capital. Ideal Luxury is quick, confidential and unconcerned with risk.
“I once did a collateral loan for $25,000 on a diamond so that one of my clients could close a real estate deal,” Mark says. Another regular client has borrowed “in the high-five-figure range” against his wife’s 5-carat diamond ring to bridge a short-term gap in cash flow for his small business. Another, he says, has borrowed “in the low six figures from us, twice” on a 12-carat diamond ring.
The downside? Expect to pay the same amount of interest in a month that you would pay in a year on a traditional loan.
In “Pawnonomics: A Tale of the Historical, Cultural, and Economic Significance of the Pawnbroking Industry,” author Stephen Krupnik provides 5,000 years of history to make a tongue-in-cheek claim that pawn is the second oldest profession.
The fundamentals of the pawnbroking industry have remained relatively unchanged since the Roman Empire. Brokers determine the value of an asset and make a short-term loan based on that value. An agreement is made to pay the loan back in a specified period of time, and the client is responsible for the interest accrued on that loan.
Ideal Luxury has found its niche in Orange County, where many have an abundance of nice-to-have assets they are looking to move around, rather than must-have assets they can’t afford to play with. And while clients can make use of online sites like Borro or Tradesy to buy, sell or lend on high-end items, a website falls short of the precise personal attention a concierge offers.
Although today the idea of pawning something for cash has unsavory associations – think drug deals and final notices from the DWP – the fact is aristocrats have been borrowing against their property for centuries. Even England’s crown jewels weren’t off-limits: King Edward III pawned some of them to pay his troops in the 14th century, and Henrietta Maria of France (King Charles I’s wife) sold a few smaller pieces in Holland to raise money for the Royalist cause in 1642, proving pawn isn’t just the province of the poor.