Ten Houstonians were honored for their selfless and generous ways of life at an event held at the Royal Sonesta. Mayor Sylvester Turner offered opening remarks before recipients of the Houston Humanitarian Awards — including NFL mom and philanthropist Karen Johnson, pastor Fernando Ruata, music-industry honcho James Prince, and several Hurricane Harvey heroes — received a standing ovation. The evening was put on by a local nonprofit called Houston Random Act of Kindness Day, which was founded by Treveia Dennis in order to spread love throughout her community.
SOUTH FLORIDA-BASED Italian shoe line Concetto Limone will make its Texas debut at a cocktail reception at Valobra Master Jewelers (2150 Westheimer Rd.) on Thursday, April 29 from 5-7pm. The evening of "All Things Italian" will transport guests immediately to the coast of southern Italian as they sip on Italian wines, Aperol Spritzes, Negronis and Limoncellos while feasting on an assortment of Italian hors d'oeuvres from Houston's beloved Tony's. Invited guests will have the first glance in Texas on the Concetto Limone line and the opportunity to purchase unisex styles on Thursday evening and all day Friday at a trunk show at Valobra.
Drawing inspiration from across continents, cultures and generations, and from the chic style of Palm Beach and the Amalfi Coast, Concetto Limone is the quintessential footwear choice for the discerning individual's resort attire. Concetto Limone is a Miami-based luxury house that specializes in the micro-production of artisan footwear and designer goods. With world-class craftsmanship, advanced production methods, and an array of rich materials, Limone creates proffers impeccable design that elegantly infuses historical motifs with a modern sensibility.
In February of 2020, Concetto Limone, led by Houstonian Marcus Spagnoletti and Matthew Chevallard, launched its first line of unisex products, the Limone Loafer, in the Miami Design District.
The hand-woven natural raffia loafer loafers and mules are meticulously sewn together by hand by master craftsmen and craftswomen with a distinct design language. Raffia is made from the segments of the leaves on the Palmyra palm, a tree native to Madagascar that offers breathable textile. Each pair is adorned with calf leather lining, a cushioned insole, and natural rubber outsole — inspected and touched by over 12 sets of hands through a production process that ensures that attention to detail and technical innovation is paramount for these statement pieces.
Valobra Master Jewelers has been creating jewelry for 115 years, beginning in 1905 in Torino, Italy as the official master jeweler to the Italian Royal family. Being the fourth-generation master jeweler, Franco Valobra continues this legacy by creating the most exquisite one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry made in the Houston showroom and offering luxury timepieces to clients and the community. Valobra Master Jewelers, situated in the heart of River Oaks in Houston, also has locations in New Orleans and Lugano, Switzerland.
MY AUNT AND cousin live in Silicon Valley. We go once a year to visit them, and, as you pull out of the airport when you get there, the San Jose skyscrapers in front of you bear the logos of a who's-who of the internet: eBay, PayPal, Adobe, Cisco. It's pretty impressive, out there in California. But, then again, vacations have to be planned around forest-fire season, and Reuters reported that two-thirds of people living in the Bay Area say the quality of life has deteriorated in the last five years, citing homelessness and a rising cost of living as the main factors.
People and companies are leaving — and some of them are coming to Texas. A handful of notable people have said they are making the move to Austin: Elon Musk is going to ATX (they can have him), as did Joe Rogan. Meanwhile, Adam Carolla may come to Houston from L.A. And Hewlett Packard announced in December it was leaving San Jose for H-Town. It's understandable that cool, weird Austin would get its share of interest from newcomers, but smart, industrious Houston seems more poised to be a leading hub of innovation in the '20s, a position we've been in before.
The Med Center's new TMCx facility for healthcare startups
NASA's Johnson Space Center
Houston has a long history of innovation, and its commitment to being a state-of-the-art hub for it in the near future is virtually unmatched.
In a piece about Texas' tech prospects, Bloomberg describes the "Rice Mafia," a group of Rice University tech and engineering graduates who moved to the Bay Area in the '50s and '60s and helped make the region a tech mecca. But, according to recent data, that educated workforce is now staying in Houston. H-Town is home to an above-average percentage of college graduates with degrees in science, engineering and business.
Higher education has helped propel Houston's innovation. Rice donated the land for Johnson Space Center and today is finishing completion on the Ion. As CityBook reported, the Ion is revitalizing a forgotten part of Midtown by anchoring a 16-acre innovation district in a former Sears. The new center is targeting young talent, especially in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. Houston, incidentally, has the youngest population of any major city; nearly three-quarters of the population are under 45.
The Ion will provide resources, educational programs, corporate partnership opportunities and physical workspaces for emerging startup businesses. It was announced recently a major tenant will be Microsoft. The Ion will be connected directly by rail to the Amegy building in Downtown, home to two tech "incubators"— The Cannon and Launch Pad, operated by the Downtown Development Authority.
But, it's not just in technology that Houston can lead. We are also the nation's energy capital. With the world focused on clean energy, Houston can and should lead in its development. In an interview in Houston Business Insider: The Metro Region's Official Economic Development Guide, produced by the Greater Houston Partnership in conjunction with CityBook, Bobby Tudor, president of the Partnership, spoke about why Houston is in the best position to lead this transition. "We have people who understand energy systems, who understand the dynamics of energy and power," says Tudor. "It's an area where Houston has a lot of the talent." The business community is quickly becoming partners. Kinder Morgan, a major traditional oil and gas company headquartered Downtown, announced recently it has formed a new Energy Transition Ventures group to pursue commercial opportunities emerging from the low-carbon energy transition.
According to a report by the Greater Houston Partnership, venture capital investment has nearly tripled in Houston over the last five years. Of that investment money, Houston is above average in clean energy deals, which overtook oil and gas in 2019 to become Houston's third most funded tech vertical.
A third axis of innovation is Houston's medical, oncology and life science research. The Med Center, the largest in the world, is already home to 300+ startups, and in 2022 TMC3 will open in the Medical Center. A 37-acre life science complex with research centers, multi-disciplinary laboratories and healthcare institutions, TMC3 will enable innovators from healthcare, science, academia, government, industry, manufacturing and the not-for-profit sector to collaborate on new medicines, medical devices, diagnostic and digital health platforms, and treatment solutions. The new center will be connected by light rail to the Downtown and the Midtown innovation districts.
Houston has the industry diversity, infrastructure, talent and the culture to be America's innovation capital. So, while I'll miss driving through downtown San Jose and feeling like I'm stuck in some figurative cyber web — and as Austin continues to rack up celebs — Houston will be pushing the limits of innovation.
With a River Oaks Location of Her Super-Clean Salon Set to Open Next Week, Maryam Naderi Is Nailing It!
BOASTING CLEAN PRACTICES and high safety standards, Maryam Naderi's Paloma Beauty is expanding, even after a year of countless industry-wide closures. Her newest location, next-door to DryBar on Kirby, is slated to open May 19, and will coincide with the closure of her original salon on Post Oak; the ones in the Heights and inside Downtown's C. Baldwin Hotel remain open.
"Just in the last month alone, our sales have picked up tremendously," says the beautiful, engaging Naderi. "People are getting vaccinated and feel comfortable leaving the house and going back to work. People are resuming social activities, and they want to look good."
We circled up with the fab founder to find out what is behind her clean-beauty success.
Even before the pandemic, people have been seeking out "clean" beauty. What's the appeal? It's something that has gained a lot of traction on social media. So now more than ever, people want to know what's being put on their face or what is being used to remove their polish. For us, there are two components to clean beauty: The first is using products that are safe. We're not using any chemicals that are harmful. Secondly, and just as importantly, we provide a safe environment for our employees. … We really focus on ensuring that our team feels like they're in a safe, positive space, they're not overworked, and that for the work that they're doing they're happy with their paycheck.
Many salons and spas closed their doors for good in 2020. How did Paloma stay open? The fact that we built this business on the premise that we are a clean space worked out really well for us during the pandemic, when people became hyper-aware of cleanliness and sanitization. We had a lot of new customers as soon as we reopened last year that were saying to us, "I can't even imagine going to my old place anymore."
What'll set the new salon apart? That location will represent what I view as the future of the spa industry. We will offer nail, facial, waxing and body services. I think that the modern person … wants convenience, accessibility and affordability. My goal for our River Oaks location was always to make this space feel like you're going to your very fashionable aunt's apartment in Paris … comfortable but elegant, inviting and super clean. I think people are just going to want to be there just to be there, and then think to themselves, "Oh, I'm also getting a great manicure or facial or massage."
Maryam Naderi's Paloma Beauty salons are known for their minimalist-chic design scheme.