Here’s what’s inside the $30,000 Grammys gift bag
The Sultan of Swag is upping his game.
Lash Fary, who pioneered giving pricy gift bags to celebrities at splashy events, will hand out goodies worth $30,000 at the Grammy Awards on Feb 12. That’s up a whopping 36% from last year’s $22,000 package.
Alicia Keys, Daft Punk and The Weeknd are among the 150 performers and presenters who will receive items ranging from drug store staples such as $4.99 Chapstick balm and a $38.50 CPR kit from the American Health Association, to a week-long stay at the Golden Door Resort in Southern California. The seven day spa package, valued at $8,800, is the most expensive gift this year. Other freebies include a can of Blue Diamond almonds, a personalized box of Crayola crayons, Hercules Beard Co. shave oil, skin serum from Dr. Jane 360, books such as “Sexiest Man Alive” by M Clarke and even Amazing Medice foot cream.
“The focus this year ended up more on health and beauty,” says Fary, a Los Angeles-based marketer. “With everything that is going on in the world, we want people to feel pampered and indulged.”
Fary got the sultanic moniker after becoming the official gift bag partner of the Grammys 18 years ago. He started his Hollywood career selling clothes and jewelry to TV shows, entering celebrity placement after “somebody who knew somebody who knew somebody” introduced him to the Recording Academy, the Grammys’ organizer. Today, he fields thousands of pitches from companies wanting to get their products into the hands of pop stars and actors. The brands pay $1,500 for their swag to make the cut.
The big bucks don’t come from Chapstick. Instead, free vacations inflate the price. “Once you get over $10,000 in value, it’s the high value experiences more than the product,” says Fary. He’s also the unlicensed organizer of the Oscars Gift Bag, which this year includes trips to Italy, Hawaii and to a ranch in Northern California (The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Oscars’ organizer, stopped handing out goodies to nominees years ago, so Fary does so independent of them.) The Oscar package is typically much more expensive than the Grammy’s—last year’s cost approximately $232,000—and only 25 are given out.
Fary can guarantee that the sponsors’ goods get handed to celebrities, but not that they’ll actually use them. One popular recurring item is free pet food from Halo, which comes with an invitation to donate 10,000 meals to an animal shelter of the celebrity’s choice. Fary says Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore are among those who have taken up the offer.
He also mans the Grammy’s gifting suite at the Staples Center, where celebs can grab some gratis graft during rehearsals for the live show. There, Fary displays products such as face masks, designer eyewear and clothes that performers can grab while waiting to go on stage. Brands pay him $25,000 to be included in the lounge, which is a popular diversion for performers, though Fary notes that Adele never comes.
“Rihanna came through after she had a stressful rehearsal with tech problems and loved the distraction of a shopping experience without paying anything,” he says.
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