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.”
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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…