Earlier this year Mayer did a Snapchat story outlining his detailed, high-end approach to washing his white t-shirts (no, seriously). Prominently featuring The Laundress’s products, it was a celebrity endorsement dream for any boutique brand. And so, a collaboration called “Out West” was born, and what better way to celebrate your celebrity tie-in than with a launch party? I laughed for about five minutes at the idea — and then I promptly bought a ticket. It was, in essence, a guaranteed RSVP for the meet-and-greet, plus the Laundress x John Mayer Out West Duo: a bottle of detergent and a bottle of fabric spray.
Last night, I headed in a direction not unlike west to the The Laundress’s NYC store, a delightful space in SoHo approximately the size of a postage stamp. This meant my visions of standing idly with a glass of champagne in one hand and free hors d'oeuvres in the other as the soapy scent of Out West wafted around me and John Mayer mixed and mingled were shattered. Instead my friend and I stood outside for an hour and a half in weather that can only be described as “In Which New York Remembers It Is Fall” before being let inside four at a time to snap a pic, grab an autograph, and get our promised goods. The line was mostly female, mostly 20- and 30-somethings, save for the few older and younger women and the guitar-obsessed guys (one gentleman in front of me had brought his own guitar, which prompted Mayer to get his out so the two of them could take some quality guitar geek photos).
My friend and I are both longtime John Mayer fans, and we just kept marveling at how bizarre this whole thing was. I’ve seen him perform a bunch and met him a few times back in ye olden days (including one time 12 years ago when VH1 let him film “John Mayer Has a TV Show.” He dressed up like a bear and pranced around the parking lot of Jones Beach). My younger self would have definitely freaked out at the experience my current self was having.
When our turn came, I walked into the store, took a whiff of the soapy aroma, and went to say hi to John Mayer. In the span of about 30 seconds we shook hands (“Hi, I’m John,” is the phrase he must have repeated at least a hundred times), exchanged names and some banter, and posed for a bunch of photos, courtesy of the staffers who were overly eager to grab your phone and document the whole experience for you. And then we were politely ushered out. Just your average celebrity meet-and-greet against a backdrop of lovely smelling bubbles. My friend and I had just enough time to note a lone glass of champagne on a silver platter and mourn not having one in our hands.
I will say this: Mayer was charming, polite, and totally engaged with everyone he spoke to for the 30 seconds they were allotted. The Laundress founders hovered nearby, clearly enjoying this moment in the spotlight — and why shouldn’t they? When I got home, I finally remembered to smell the detergent (described, like a wine, as having “crisp and powdery notes with undertones of sandalwood, leather, and amber surrounded by spice, patchouli, and musk”) and I thought, Maybe I’ll actually use this one day.