Posted by words: andrew birbeck images:richard mclaren on October 05, 2015
17 September 2015
From the outset it’s clear that LA-born Hugh Power, founder of The House Of Solid Gold, possesses creativity by the bucketload; which makes his first career choice all the more curious.
“You could say I spent the first few years of my career underwater,” he says. “I studied science at college and then went on to become a professional deep-sea diver working in the commercial sector.”
In his mid-20s Power realised that the career of a deep-sea diver – one who covered such diverse regions as Alaska, the Gulf Of Mexico and latterly Tahiti – was a finite one. It’s dangerous and highly challenging work after all.
“In the diving game, by the time you hit your mid-20s you’d better have another career in mind,” he explains. “That was the point when I decided to enter the world of art and design. The choice was much-influenced by my time in Tahiti, actually, and what I discovered there. I went right back to the beginning and became an apprentice. Like all great jewellers, artists and designers, you have to learn at the feet of the masters.”
From there, he went on to spot a gap in the market. The rare and exotic Black Tahitian pearl was, at that time, relatively unknown. Power started to create stunning Tahitian pearl jewellery and in turn raising awareness about these much-sought-after gems across the US and beyond.
“I decided to return to the US, to Beverly Hills,” he explains “Where better to sell such unique high-end pieces?” His instincts were proved right and his first major customer was Hollywood legend Lindsay Wagner, who starred in the smash-hit TV series Bionic Woman in the late 1970s. “Lindsay fell in love with my designs,” he says with a smile, “and became what I’d call my first spectacular client. They were special times.”
A creative mind never rests however and, at a time when others may have chosen to sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labour, Power decided to strike out in a new direction.
“I realised there was no specific outlet for solid gold goods apart from jewellery.”
That realisation led to the creation of two online stores, The House Of Solid Gold and Gifts Of Gold.
“The House Of Solid Gold came first, it’s positioned at the highest possible end of the luxury sector,” says Power. “I then established Gifts Of Gold in partnership with retail guru Arne Freeman and it’s geared more towards the personal market.”
In 2016 he plans to open a showroom in Beverly Hills. The star of the current collection is the world’s only 24K Gold Mountain Bike, an idea that came to Power when out on a similar machine.
“I was having such a great time,” he explains, “and it was such a superb experience I thought let’s make the most exclusive version of this on the planet.”
The bike is fully functional and, as Power says, has “the jaw-drop factor causing a sensation wherever it goes”. The reaction is understandable when taking into account that, as well as the 24K gold finish, there are 600 Black Diamonds and 500 Golden Sapphires in the logo alone.
When asked what someone is buying into when they purchase from him, Power says, “It’s simple really. I’d say it’s a lifetime of happiness. Who doesn’t want to own a beautiful golden work of art?”
For a real Beverly Hills bite grab a table at…
Mastro’s Steakhouse at 246 Canon Drive. A real touch of class with irresistible flavours across the menu. My favourite is filet mignon and sweet potato fries.
For some extreme mountain biking near LA head to…
Santa Monica near the ocean on Highway 1 heading north through Malibu. At Kanan Drive head east through the Santa Monica Mountains. You’ll experience everything: beach, incredible views, rugged terrain, and then even more superb views at the finish – all in less than a half a day.
For a great road trip I’d recommend…
Driving from Venice Beach north to Santa Barbara on the Pacific Coast Highway. Incomparable views with unique pit stops and all done in less than an hour-and-a-half.
The best advice I can give is…
Build on your passion first and foremost. Add discipline and balance as needed... and stay focused.