Raymond | Lawrence :: A Couple, A Brand, A Success
Raymond McCallister and Larry Abel are uncomfortable being thought of as one of Palm Springs’ "power couples," said Abel, who with his partner of ten years co-owns no fewer than six successful businesses. "...It tends to invoke more of a shallow social-centered ’me, me, me’ existence. We would hope to be known as hard-working entrepreneurs who believe in the potential and future of Palm Springs."
Raymond McCallister and Larry Abel opened their first business in Palm Springs, called ASI-Art Style Innovation, about 10 years ago. "This was a collection of furniture and accessories inspired by the Hollywood events for which we produce and create unique individual pieces," McCallister said. Hollywood in turn has paid homage to the couple and their designs. Oprah Winfrey even had the couple on her show, while their designs have appeared in household magazines such as In Style, Woman’s Day and Departures. Even NBC’s Today Show has given on-air nods to Abel and McCallister.
Only the pair knows if their romantic partnership was love at first sight, but when Larry met Raymond, they meant business. Asked about the pitfalls regarding business and love, Abel had this to say: "We are fortunate that our talents and strengths -- as well as our weaknesses -- compliment each other so the pitfalls are few. We have learned to separate business from personal matters, to carve out time for each other and not allow hurt feelings to fester or be prolonged. Communication is the key."
Their store, Raymond | Lawrence, is a collection of unique, curated "pop-up" shops they have brought together from all across the country. "In our L.A. and New York City event production company, Abel McCallister Designs, we produce pop-up shops around the country," Abel said. "We thought it would be great to bring these to Palm Springs all under one roof, in a whimsical, creative and unique way."
Abel and McCallister believe in the philosophy one economist called "coopetition," a portmanteau of cooperation and competition. "We look at this as a ’retail incubator’ that allows new businesses to test the waters in Palm Springs and see if having a full ’in-line’ store is for them," Abel said. "We have a continual flow of 26 shops with an ongoing waiting list. We are proud to have been the catalyst for two leaving the nest this year for their own stores."
Socialize Palm Springs is their latest venture. "We specialize in social, charitable and corporate events in the Coachella Valley," Abel explained. "There was a need for experienced, creative and forward-thinking event-production to serve the growing influx of Generation-X destination weddings, corporate sponsorships and community festivals."
Arguably, there isn’t a more qualified team to address that growing demand.