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September 2022 Issue – SalonToday

Earlier this year, LJ LuBow, founder and CEO of Thrivo, called us with an offer we couldn’t refuse. Thrivo had recently purchased property in the Metaverse and built the first-ever, virtual salon. He offered to throw a cocktail party to celebrate the SALON TODAY 200 during the Metaverse Fashion Week.
Before the event, I established my bitcoin wallet, designed and dressed my Avatar, picked up and donned my NFT Thrivo T-shirt, and watched a tutorial that showed me how to navigate my Avatar in the virtual world, how to speak or text-chat or express myself through moves, like splashing the cash, waving, and blowing up my head like a balloon. (You just never know when that might come in handy.)
On a Friday evening in late March, my real self, dressed in comfy PJs and enjoying a glass of wine, directed virtual me to meet up with my colleagues and SALON TODAY 200 honorees at the three-story salon in the Metaverse.
Some of my SALON TODAY peers who had tweens and teens at home (a distinct advantage) were some of the first to meet me there. Our newest editor Nicole Johnson was the first to greet me, and it took me a moment to recognize her Avatar since I had only worked with her through Zoom at that point. Contributing writer Laurel Nelson and her two daughters Isla and Lena were helping her direct her Avatar and together we struggled to navigate the Star Trek-style elevator in the salon and wandered the second floor looking at the art gallery showcasing the work of artists Dustin Rabin and Caitlin Cronenberg. Sales Director Angela Reich and her daughter Eva popped in an hour later, and Eva giggled continuously as her mom’s Avatar and mine did some cool dance moves that neither of us would attempt in real life. I also found LJ in the crowded salon and took the opportunity to introduce him to some of the salon owners who found their way there.
Periodically, I’d wander away from the salon and check out many of the fashion houses, like Etro, Tommy Hilfiger, Elie Saab and Estee Lauder who had stores in the Metaverse. I particularly loved Dolce & Gabbana’s runway show that featured extravagant haute couture on cat-faced avatar models.
Recently, Thrivo teamed up with the salon software company Vagaro to host another party at the salon and I spent a second evening in the Metaverse, but this time I didn’t see LJ. So, the next day, I emailed him to tell him I attended but couldn’t find him.
LJ wrote back by saying, “I’m sorry I missed you, but did you catch our T-Rex DJ blasting tunes on the roof.”
Of course I had, I had been dancing right in front of him.
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