Ah, the celebrity’s rich life. There’s nothing like dreaming up some “What ifs?” that come with getting rich overnight. Sure, trends like minimalism come and go, but dreaming about the glitz of that Hollywood limelight is a timeless, fawned-over fantasy. Even if you don’t consciously think about it, that sweet celebrity culture finds ways to creep into the everyday: From scrolling through social media apps and constantly flipping through news pages that are clogged with celeb happenings, it’s hard to not get jealous of the way that they live. Celebrities have a knack for transforming everyday tasks into something served on a silver platter. Nothing’s more representative of this transformation than the latest collaboration from high-life favorite Erewhon.
To the surprise of some, this California-based mecca is everything celebrity, yet entirely unexpected: Not only has Erewhon won over the richest wallets, but it also happens to be a grocery store. Erewhon is a chain grocery store that offers an organic and high-quality produce selection. From its humble roots as a 1966 natural foods store, the company has grown alongside the West Coast’s rapidly changing appetite for healthy, fresh and funky wellness alternatives. Today, the grocer supports seven different locations, all of which are notably in Los Angeles County in Southern California.
A luxury fit for its larger-than-life patrons, the shop is easily stereotyped as the “only” place celebrities and famous faces check off their grocery lists. Before even stepping inside one of their shops, the name already invites intrigue: The word “Erewhon” is an anagram of “nowhere.” With a title befitting the Edenic Erewhon, the shop becomes somewhere that people want to go and taste the newest snacking sensations. But what do they stock their shelves with that makes it so lush?
Sure, they carry everything on your weekly grocery list of eggs, milk and frozen foods, but Erewhon also caters to everything you didn’t know you needed in your diet. Have you thought about buying Himalayan Pink Salt Ghee, or maybe adding “cauliflower chips, beetroot puffs and green lentil macaroni noodles” to your daily rotation of meals? These out-of-the-box shelf staples for Erewhon help it stand out as the hip, cool and innovative take on the after-work shopping trip. As one blogger dreamily wrote, “The aisles are lined with an eclectic mix of organic produce, fresh juices, and the best assortment of nutritious treats to make any wellness lover swoon.”
Nevertheless, this foodstuffs haven prompts customer curiosity for what lies inside. If anything, the store is the tasty combination of a Whole Foods Market and a Trader Joe’s grocery: Erewhon is a facelift to the industry of health foods stores that pop up each day. But with a deluxe grocery store, complete with every product under the sun, no time is wasted for the deluxe prices to follow.
For example, some highlights of Erewhon’s virtual shopping tab featured a $24 blueberry probiotic smoothie and a $15 glass jar of bone broth tonic. Even pets are included in the shopping list as well: Nothing exhibits love for a furry friend like two servings of turkey dog food for a whopping $18. While the exorbitant prices stupefy the average Joe, the shock fades when these unlikely foods very likely become your new favorite. And really, who wouldn’t want to fork over the money to try a sip of an “Erewhon latte with adaptogens” anyway?
Erewhon’s strange and satisfying grocery selection has received acclaim from outside brands as well. Most notable was the chain’s recent collaboration with the high-fashion label Casablanca. As a colorful and contemporary brand, Casablanca’s pieces are a marker of the newest styles and trends to watch for. While a luxury Parisian fashion house is the last industry expected to enter the grocery game, it’s Erewhon’s image as a healthy-yet-fashionable outpost that makes the crossover more fitting. The Hollywood Reporter reflected on this short-lived collab of “luxury canvas tote bags and pink juice.”
However, knowing this partnership involved a haute brand and one of the hottest grocery chains to date, the bag and drink were anything but ordinary. The “Apres-Sport Tote Bag” was complete with a co-branded logo, perfect pink detailing and made with 100% cotton canvas. The “Alaya Apres-Sort” juice was a delicious mixture of coconut milk, strawberries, pink salt and pitaya, all melding together in a pink color to match the tote. The dreamy drink was also extra sweet, since it shared a name with Casablanca’s creative director’s son.
Only available from April 13 to May 9, the three and a half weeks available for the combo had one caveat: Its uber-special collaboration came at a breathtaking price. Erewhon and Casablanca’s juice rang up at $14, while the tote bag carried a $165 tag. Both companies were enthused by partnering with a “like-minded brand” for a first-time collaboration, and their gaudy goods hoped to convey the sentiment.
Although the collaboration has passed, it’s worth questioning how something as high-class as fashion could partner with a humble little grocery store. In what world, for rich or for poor, does one connect Parisian style with LA wellness? The shockingly unheard-of combination not only set the stage for product demand, but also folded together two well-known labels for the sake of promoting each other. That is, people flocked to the shop because each tote and juice had both Erewhon and Casablanca’s iconic names.
The result was a successful promotional collaboration, with a devoted audience that was shockingly unfazed by the price points. Apparently, the excess of spending three figures on a tote bag, or nearly $20 on a fruit smoothie, paled in comparison to owning the “brand name” collab of Casablanca and Erewhon. The bold words of one review said it best: “You don’t just wear Casablanca or buy organic produce from Erewhon — you live them.”
Surprisingly, the winning combination of “higher-than-Whole-Foods prices and shelves stocked with the next big wellness trends” keeps customers coming back, year after year. Instead of turning patrons away, the double-digit smoothie and triple-digit grocery bill add to the shopping experience. For example, because of the rarity of finding something like a “non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free, vegan” Hot Cheeto alternative in one’s local Walmart, Erewhon gains appeal for filling a need that wasn’t obvious before. At the same time, the odd position of Erewhon as a hub for healthiness opens the door to new innovations, such as “vegan, gluten free, and immunity or beauty-boosting” cookie dough. The company’s dynamic pursuit of the newest trends and ability to satisfy niche demands builds up a cult-like following.
What’s interesting about the raving reviews of Erewhon as the “celebrity” grocery store is that much of the online discussion about the shop is written by everyday, non-celebrity shoppers. It seems as if the store’s apparent status as a place where celebrities sometimes shop for — and can definitely afford — their groceries, has made patronizing the place an extension of celebrity status. Think about it: If everyone and their mother believes that Erewhon’s lux products are worthy of people like Kourtney Kardashian and Jessica Biel, then wouldn’t the celebrity-idolizing individual want to shop there as well?
Even strolling through Erewon, the trip becomes the produce equivalent of window shopping through a mall with five and six-figure price tags. Despite its weekly impracticality for most, the value of the grocer stretches beyond the label; one is paying for the experience of filling their carts with feel-good ingredients that are hard to source anywhere else. As Erewhon stated on their oh-so-chic website, “Through our markets, we endeavor to provide exceptional organic products that inspire good decision-making and healthier communities.” Although the average person can’t afford to spend entire paychecks on a handful of health foods, Erewhon has grown into more than just a one-stop food shop.
Without a doubt, the move to solidify Erewhon in pop culture circles can’t avoid the many kooky, strange and peculiar repercussions that follow. Along with the lofty tote-and-juice collaboration, the grocer gained internet hype from the “now-viral Marianna’s Coconut Cloud Smoothie.” The drink itself is everything Erewhon: a pale blue spirulina treat, boosted with coconut cream, pineapple and vanilla collagen — just a handful of the stand-out ingredients that go into each cup.
While this smoothie of dreams was sweet enough to snap a picture of, the internet’s jaw dropped at its $17 price point. The cherished treat sounded lovely in theory, but fans who want to try Erewhon’s new treat could not cope with the possibility of spending a ridiculous $20 on one smoothie. As the trend moves quickly, the internet is quick to reproduce similar dreamy smoothies for a fraction of the price. Again, the coconut cloud smoothie trend is just another marker of how the more Erewhon adds to its beloved fanbase, the more their “brand” will be up for critique.
Whether it’s an overpriced smoothie with strange health benefits or a French-printed tote bag, Erewhon finds ways to push the everyday treat into pools of luxuries. While each new snack, sip or collaboration heavily caters to their rich target audience, the figures on the price tag don’t stop customers from shuffling through their aisles. From high-end produce to haute shopper attitudes, it’s clear that Erewhon toes the line between a rich everyday living and trying to live life as the rich.