When you step inside the MZ Wallace’s Soho store, you’ll see a large vending machine set up next to the brand’s selection of stylish high-end nylon handbags. But what’s a humble snack-dispenser doing in a chic, fashion boutique you ask? Well, this particular vending machine doesn’t dispense $2 Cokes or Snickers bars. The treats contained within include $130 sterling silver locks and $1,739 pieces encrusted with fine stones.
Yes, the luxury vending machine has arrived. It’s the invention of jewelry designer Marla Aaron, who is known for her signature carabiner lock. But Aaron’s locks are made from high-end materials like platinum and gold, liberally sprinkled with gemstones. Given Aaron’s taste for giving humble objects a luxurious twist, it makes perfect sense that she would experiment with selling $1,000 pieces through a vending machine. The customer can make a selection on touchscreen, and after paying by credit card, the goods will come out in a little orange box, with a black bow around it.
Before arriving at MZ Wallace, the machine was in residence at the Brooklyn Museum and then William Vale Hotel, where many customers delighted in its sheer oddity, posting images of it on social media. In its new Manhattan digs, surrounded by other fashion brand, the machine will be within reach of customers who are already shopping for luxe accessories.
The MZ Wallace connection makes particular sense. The bag brand’s objective is to combine beauty and design with highly functional silhouettes, like totes that easily slip into suitcases handles and nylon backpacks that are lightweight and water resistant. “I was immediately struck by our shared design sensibility,” says Lucy Wallace Eustice, MZ Wallace’s co-founder and designer. “The ultimate high-low mix, luxe materials combined with utilitarian elements. Having Marla Aaron’s fine jewelry vending machine in our store allows us to continue supporting other female entrepreneurs by offering a temporary home and platform.”