Dreaming Big with Bluefish
By SARA McMANAMY-JOHNSON
Anyone tired of giving the man in her life sweaters or golf clubs or the woman in his life spa packages or handbags can aim a little bit bigger this year for the holidays.
How about a dive down to the Titanic wreckage or an L-39 military-jet laser dogfight over the Mojave?
Bluefish can make that and more happen.
“[We’re] a lifestyle concierge firm on steroids,” said Bluefish founder and CEO, Steve Sims.
Whether you want to know the best nightclub to visit in Panama City or you want to bungee jump from a hot-air balloon, Bluefish can likely make it happen.
The company began in the 1990s in Hong Kong. Sims, who was trying to network to land a job in the banking industry, began holding exclusive “underground” parties.
“It was a way of meeting likeminded people – people I liked,” said Sims.
He never landed the banking-industry job, but Sims’ underground parties continued to grow until his wife suggested turning them into a business.
Bluefish now has offices all over the world, but their services are still exclusive.
The business operates as a club with an annual membership fee of $2,500, but membership is approved or denied on an individual basis.
“It’s not a monetary demand or prerequisite to be accepted into the club,” said Sims.
He explained that his criterion for membership now is about the same as it was when he began in Hong Kong – he has to like the person.
“I used to work on the door for these events that I used to do – people didn’t know it was me – and I would have these really silly passwords,” recalled Sims. “‘One fish, two fish, redfish, bluefish’ was one of them…I would ask for the password, and someone would say ‘Well, there’s a password, but it’s silly,’ I would say ‘I’m sorry, there’s no party here.’ The people who have enough of a sense of humor to say this silly password – those are the people that I want to know. That ethos or mentality is what Bluefish stands for.”
For Sims, Bluefish is about having fun and following your dreams, as big as they may be.
“The sad thing is that as we grow up, as adults we’re taught to bring in those parameters; we’re told to kind of bring in those wishes and not dream, and there’s no need for that,” said Sims.
With the help of Bluefish, your checkbook is the only limitation.
“A lot of the experiences we’re doing at the moment are travelling,” said Sims.
He recalled one client that wanted to forgo his usual luxury travel accommodations in favor of something a bit more rustic.
“He wanted the gritty experience of the Rio and the Amazon on a fishing boat,” said Sims. “There are some areas of the world that you don’t want to go for the gritty experience…We’ve got security guards with him, and we had to take out kidnap insurance…It’s a nightmare, but it’s what he wanted.”
Bluefish’s most well-publicized experience offering is a dive to the wreckage of the Titanic. The trips will be held in 2012, the 100-year anniversary of the Titanic’s last voyage.
Clients will travel onboard a Russian research vessel to the wreck site, where they will then make the two-and-a-half-mile descent in a MIR submersible.
Clients may also omit the dive and view the submersible’s progress via camera feeds at the mission control center on the research vessel.
The cost for the trip, including the dive, is $62,000, including insurance. This also includes airfare, accommodations, and food.
The cost for the trip, excluding the dive, is $10,000.
While Bluefish is earning a reputation for offering the extravagant, Sims noted that there are possibilities to fit many other budgets.
“The dreams don’t have to be $200,000,” said Sims.
For $450, you can drive a Ferrari around a racetrack; for $9,000, you can take five different cars up to 200 miles per hour in the Mojave Desert.
Sims is quick to note, though, that pre-packaged options – such as the Titanic dive or space flight – are the exceptions, not the rule; Bluefish experiences are based on the individual client’s particular dream.
“We’re organic, and we grow by demand,” said Sims.
Anyone applying for membership completes an online application, and someone from Bluefish will call the applicant to learn more about him or her.
“It’s a relationship, and our biggest asset is we are a small, intimate boutique firm,” said Sims.
The more Bluefish knows about you and your dreams, the better they are a making those dreams come true.