The question: “Why not issue bespoke MasterCard’s made out of solid gold” had to be answered one day, and someone did answer it indeed. Below, I interview a serial entrepreneur who created a new meaning for a Gold Debit Card. Two meanings in fact; 14 carat and 18 carat. Without further ado, let’s read from the Aurae man himself.
Q: Please introduce yourself to the readers.
My name is Christopher Scanlon, and I have been a serial entrepreneur for the last 16 years. Financial services and luxury experiences have been a passion of mine and Aurae (Link) is the culmination of these passions.
Q: How did you get the idea of the Golden card? And how did you set out to make it a reality? Why choose Aurae as a name and what does it mean?
We were among friends, discussing how almost everyone has an elite electronic card now, and how those ‘elite’ cards seem to no longer be very exclusive or elite since almost anyone can get one. The other thing we couldn’t figure out was how all these cards look alike… The only difference is the name and number. I believe that each individual is unique and their card should be unique also.
In jest, someone commented that we should create our own elite card since one of my companies manages portfolios of card holders with MasterCard. We decided then that we would create the most exclusive and elite card available through a bespoke membership where every experience with the card would create and deliver a tantalizing emotional experience of expression and passion.
We felt that in order to do this, the card needed to be made of the finest material and had to make an elegant and tasteful statement… the card must be made of solid gold and every card has to be unique with the card member’s personal design… no card could be the same for the simple fact that we are all unique individuals achieving and experiencing life on our own terms.
Essentially, the concept of Aurae was born so that those who have achieved greatness are able to experience a fully customized solid gold MasterCard and curated lifestyle that aligns with their inspirations and their reality of what is possible. We built the 24/7 VIP concierge service to accommodate any and all requests and deliver real value where other concierge services have fallen short. Our members are able to enjoy a truly exclusive and elite experience no matter how big or how small the requests may be.
When we started to build a world class, exclusive invitation only experience, we knew what luxury was and we understood that there is a big difference between having a luxury product and having a luxury experience. We have always kept in mind that wealth, luxury, and achievement were emotional experiences and not just a fancy watch, car or home. The experience of being wealthy and achieving greatness is what we provide our members each time they use the Solid Gold MasterCard and each time we curate an event or experience for them. This emotion and feeling is how we came up with the name Aurae.
Aurae actually means many Aura coming together… since we are an invitation only exclusive membership, we bring together many different members who have achieved success and wealth in a variety of ways. The energy that surrounds one of our members is their belief of what is truly possible- this is their Aura. They know that anything and everything is attainable and that the only limitations in life are those we place on ourselves. These are powerful individuals not only for the wealth they have, but how they view the world, how they are inspired, and how they in turn inspire others. That is the meaning and essence of Aurae.
Q: How did you get the funding, the first card, the first ad, the first client, the first employee, any competition / legislation problems?
As I own other successful companies, I was able to fund the research and development of the product myself. The solid gold card and lifestyle concierge took nearly 3 years to perfect. Making a fully functioning MasterCard out of solid gold to industry specifications and standards was no easy task. It took many iterations to be able to have what you see today.
We are the only company in the world able to manufacture a customized solid gold card as we own the patent to do so. Additionally, we are the only card manufacturer approved by MasterCard to offer a solid gold card with all of the MasterCard branding and security elements.
We really don’t feel that we have any competition as our membership and solid gold card program are the most elite and exclusive in the world. Yes there are other cards and other services, but none that allow you to design your own card and none that can deliver the comprehensive emotional experience of your wealth and achievements. For this reason, we impose a limit on the number of members we are willing to accept each year. Again, this is by invitation only and so we have yet to find another company providing a similar experience. As for legislation problems, there are none.
The Aurae Solid Gold card is accepted everywhere MasterCard is. The only real legislative problems were the internal hurdles that we had to work through in securing all of the approvals from MasterCard. Having now done so, we feel that our members will be able to enjoy a truly bespoke card and experience.
Q: Would the golden card bend? Sound the alarm at the metal detectors at airports? Any funny info about the Gold in the card? Any famous Celebs in your current clientele?
The gold card bends just as any other plastic card will. The thickness requirements are the same for all card products you might find in your wallet. We have a special mixture of gold and other alloys that provide a level of rigidity to prevent the card becoming unusable.
Many, many tests were done to ensure that the solid gold card is a lasting statement of our members personal legacies. It will definitely sound the alarm at metal detectors and it is a wonderful experience to see how the card inspires others (whether staff at the airport, restaurants, or in social circles).
One of the questions we get a lot from new members is what happens if I lose my card. Thankfully, we had the foresight to have each card insured by Lloyd’s of London so that should a member’s card ever be lost or is stolen, we provide a replacement card at no cost. Details on the membership and the experience are easily accessed by going to Aurae Gold Card.
We do have major celebrities as our clients. Privacy with our clients is something we are keen on ensuring. Remember, this card is about the member being able to live life on their terms. We do have members who like to flash the card around as some celebrities like to do, but we definitely have many other members who are discreet and who use the card to inspire others of what the real possibilities of this life can be.
Q: Is the Middle Easter consumer different than others? In what way, and how did you alter your marketing strategy to accommodate that?
The Middle Eastern consumer is different in a few ways actually. First and foremost, gold is a symbol of wealth throughout the region and is appreciated. Secondly, we find that successful individuals here love calligraphy and amazing abstract art. Creating and designing their very own solid gold cards has been a wonderful experience for all involved as we are able to see the passions of these individuals and see them come to life on the card.
The design process has become one of the highlights of the Aurae membership initiation process for those who have been invited as they can take an idea and watch it come into existence… just as they do with their businesses, families, etc. Because the Aurae membership is bespoke and customizable, we alter according to the individual member. There is no one-size-fits-all as far as we are concerned. Whatever the passions may be of the member, we curate and align with them.
Q: Finally, say I want a Golden card, what should I do and how much would it cost me?
The Aurae Lifestyle Membership and Solid Gold MasterCard is by invitation only. For those interested in requesting an invitation, they may visit the web site, AuraeLifestyle.com. Bespoke memberships and solid gold cards have a onetime initiation fee starting at $50,000 and have nominal annual dues. We invite anyone who has achieved greatness and success of any kind to apply to be considered. (Guess that rules me, ed.)