Redefining exclusivity is what Sabine Heller’s recent visit to India was all about. Sabine, who has previously lived in Mumbai and Paris and now calls both New York and the Catskills her home, was in the country for the official re-launch of 'A Small World' (a social networking platform of sorts for the uber rich, with a focus on travel) of which she is CEO.
Nearly 10 years after A Small World was first launched, Sabine says its reboot is “all about returning to its roots: Offering a community of like-minded individuals for whom travel is a natural byproduct of their lifestyles, a community of individuals committed to opening their lives and doors to one another and sharing their cultures.”
Even in its original form, the site was all about super exclusivity and functioned on a by invitation only basis. But as the community grew to over 8,00,000 members since 2004, it was felt that it was losing its core. Hence the re-launch that Sabine has spearheaded.
Designer Bibhu Mohapatra has also been closely involved in the process and was present at the re-launch party in the city, which was held at Maithili Ahluwalia’s chic SoBo store, Bungalow 8. Milliner Little Shilpa also put up an installation at the venue.
“Bibhu is a close friend,” says Sabine (who is frequently spotted in the designer’s creations). “It is nothing but a pleasure to work with Bibhu… we’ve also collaborated with designer and actor Waris Ahluwalia, who worked on our membership card.”
Sabine has previously been the editor-at-large for publications like Vogue Italia and has associated with leading artists and cultural figures like Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Lisa Yuskavage, Tracey Emin, Terry Richardson, Mark Borthwick, Mark Ronson, James Franco, and Bill Clinton. Does she get to express her creativity in her role at ASW as well? “I love learning from and exchanging ideas with people of different cultures,” Sabine replies. “ASW is such an international and diverse group of people and it is inspiring to work for a company whose mission it is to better connect people all around the world.” As for what might get you that elusive invitation, Sabine chooses to say simply, “Our members tend to be citizens of the world. They tend to be people for whom travel is a natural byproduct of their lifestyles.”