Words + Photography by Lia Crowe
I meet Josef at his Yaletown condo. After hearing about the many companies he runs, I can best describe him as an international businessman. He has travelled to every continent except Antarctica, although he plans to go one day. In his spare time he flies helicopters and jet planes, and he’s passionate about constantly expanding his knowledge. He’s elegant and gracious, and one feels an immediate sense of calm in his presence.
Originally from Austria, Josef came to Vancouver in his 20s with an MBA in hotel management, but he soon realized it wasn’t quite the future he wanted, so he got into business and quickly grew his success.
“I have to admit that business success is invigorating,” Josef says when I ask what fires him up in his work. “But I have an incredible team and working with them is a real treasure. Building those long-term relationships and managing to keep them over a long period of time — that’s fun. The other part that excites me is the technology we’re developing. It’s such a revolutionary thing and its applications are endless.”
Josef tells me about Below 33 (AKA <33™), a technology that embeds devices with frequency patterns powered by atmospheric energy waves. It has a wide variety of applications, from healing wounds to enhancing water to give it superior hydration. I get very excited when I learn the water I’ve been drinking throughout this interview is super-charged with this technology.
“Even when you apply the technology to wine and spirits, it makes a huge difference. We’ve developed a product called the OMNE-Wand which has the technology inside,” says Josef. He explains how the OMNE-Wand uses vibrations of oxygen to “open up the wine,” cutting down the decanting process from two hours to just three to five minutes.
With such a vast wealth of knowledge and experience behind him, I wonder what life lessons have had the most impact on Josef. “When I turned 40, my mind started opening up to the spiritual meaning of things, the meaning of life, and trying to understand what this is all about,” he says.
Josef took that curiosity and travelled to study spirituality extensively with gurus in India and the Kabbalah in Israel. “In the Kabbalah, you find some insights that go all the way from spirituality to quantum physics,” he explains. “They won’t start teaching you until you’re at least 40 because they say your mind needs to get to a certain level before you can comprehend what they are trying to convey.”
Reflecting further, he adds, “I realized for most of my life I have been there for others, supporting and motivating, but I also have to work on my own happiness. I have found a really cool place inside myself — I can sit by myself for hours and be content with who I am.
“Money, success — none of that actually counts. What counts is how you treat other people and how you treat yourself. I don’t care what other people think. I care about how I think of myself.”
And that is the same mentality Josef applies to style. He admits that he does have a little secret weapon — a personal stylist — but his real style comes from his comfort in his own skin. “Taking pride in my appearance is a reflection of how I treat myself both physically and mentally,” he says. “What I wear and surround myself with is as important to me as the food I eat and the people I associate with and call my friends.”
STYLE INSPIRATIONS & LIFE
Favourite book: Power vs. Force by David R. Hawkins.
Currently reading: The Power of Tact 2.0 by Dr. Peter Legge.
Favourite local restaurants: Blue Water Café and Provence Marinaside.
Favourite coffee destination: Café Crema in West Vancouver.
Favourite wine / champagne: California Cabernets and Italian (Verona) Amarone, Veuve Clicquot and on special occasions, Krug or Kristall.
Favourite spirits: Hennessy Cognac (VSOP or XO),
Oban Whiskey and Vogelbeer Brandy (Austria).
Favourite local artist: Athena Bax.
Favourite city to visit: Florence, Italy.
Favourite hotel: Four Seasons.
Favourite places in the world: Vancouver and Honolulu.
Daily practices: 15-20 minutes of meditation every morning.
Rule of thumb: For every dollar I spend on clothing and accessories I give 50 cents to one of my favourite charities.
Favourite private plane: HondaJet Elite
Helicopters I fly: Airbus H125 / AS350 A-Star, Bell 407, Robinson R44/R66.
Cars I drive: Mercedes AMG S63 convertible and G63.
Charities: Breakfast Club of Canada, BC Children’s Variety, and the SPCA.
CLOTHES & GROOMING
Favourite suits, jackets, tuxedos, and outerwear: 90% are made-to-measure Emilio Zegna and Tom Ford. Off the rack, Brunello Cuccinelli, it fits like a glove.
Favourite sweaters: Black Goat Cashmere sweaters (have a whole shelf full of them).
Favourite shirts: Etro, Tom Ford, Emilio Zegna and Brunello Cuccinelli.
Favourite denim: Emilio Zegna, Paige,
7 For All Mankind.
Favourite shoes: Tom Ford, Brunello Cuccinelli, Bontoni, Kiton, Salvatore Ferragamo, Loro Piana, and Church’s.
Favourite watches: Rolex, IWC Schaffhausen, Patek Philippe,
Favourite fountain pen: Mont Blanc.
Favourite sunglasses: Ray Ban.
Scent: Fucking Fabulous, Lavender Extreme and Oud Wood by
Tom Ford. SUR LA ROUTE and AU HASARD by Louis Vuitton.