What is Luxury?

First class flights to any destination in the world. Scratch that, a private jet on standby, no visa necessary. A bottomless bank account. Vacations to the most exotic places on earth. An entire estate filled with books on every topic imaginable. The latest tech gadgets – compliments of the inventors and before they go on sale to the public. Stylish clothes and shoes. Diamonds. Gourmet meals. Exclusive access. Limousines. Mink fur coats (even though it’s not cold enough to wear them in Ghana). The unattainable.

That’s probably what I would have responded if you asked me that question a decade or so ago. As far as I could tell – and from my lessons in economics – “luxury” was synonymous with “money”, “wealth”, “expensive” or “the finer things in life”.

But it’s not 2006. It’s 2016, and I just spent the last few weeks contemplating what luxury means as part of PZ Cusson’s #LittleLuxuryMoments campaign for the relaunch of Imperial Leather in Ghana.

The personal care brand is looking to help you take luxury a long way with its classic bath bar and a range of new products for the entire family! Not only are there roll-ons, body wash, deodorant sprays, and lotion, they also come in different sizes and perfumes! Think “Classic” Bath Bar Soap, Body Wash and Body Lotion, Japanese Spa Anti-Perspirant Deodorant and Body Wash, “Intense Cool” Men’s Antiperspirant Deodorant, and the Active Bath Bar Soap – and that’s not even all the products in the range. Options man, options. With the artistry of Ghanaian designer Poqua Poqu and makeup artist Glow With Maj – both of which I recommend  – I got glammed up for the official relaunch in Accra on February 5.

Which of PZ Cussons‘ new Imperial Leather products did I try and what do I think of them? How do they compare to others I have used? Would I replace my current personal care products with these? All this in the video below.



As someone who’s really big on self-love and care, my favorite part of the campaign was helping spur the conversation on what luxury means, and boy what a conversation it has been! Here’s what some of you had to say :


Marion Connell in Washington, DC (USA) is all about the family moments:

“Luxury to me is time spent with my children and grandchildren. It’s rare, and very precious.”


Malaka Grant in Atlanta, GA (USA) and Latefa Camera in Abidjan, Ivory Coast highlight the situational factors:

“I’m realizing from Marion’s response that what we consider a luxury morphs over time. For me at this stage, “luxury” is finding time alone AWAY from my kids. A hot, undisturbed shower. A hot cup of tea to sip leisurely. Quiet time as I read a book. (I haven’t had time to read…really read…in 11 years.). Before marriage and kids I wouldn’t have said a luxe leather jacket, first class trips around the world and diamond flavored hamburgers for dinner. Who knows what’ll be our luxuries in 20-30 years?” – Malaka

“For me it depends on the circumstances too, as a student in Dakar having a pizza was my luxury moments with friends. Right now? It would be a thing as simple as spending some quiet time wth my family, everyone in one same place. I see luxury in the simple things of life that we enjoy, cherish, like sharing a plate of attieke-poulet braisé with your flatmate/friend ? or taking a walk by the seaside, listening to the sound of the waves ( that’s what I wanna do this week-end).” – Latefa


Isabella Manzini in Bologna, Italy and Nana Mariam Abukari in London, UK rope in the element of freedom:

“Luxury for me is being able to do what you want in the moment you want. Say, sleep a little more, say having a vacation right now, say going out and not [looking at] the watch because you have to be at home or take someone to school.” – Isabella

“Luxury for me is being able to do what I want, when I want and how I want to. No need to consider other factors like time, money how much or how little I can do it and most importantly, not needing to consider PEOPLE. Just do it the instant I want to with no consequences.” – Nana Mariam


Nana Spio-Gabrah in Tunis, Tunisia brings in the business and branding perspective:

“Luxury to me is something handmade, exclusive (either by location, price, or knowledge/lack of marketing), elaborate and non essential. A lot of brands throw around the word, but to earn the accreditation it requires a ridiculous investment of time, and it has to be something I do not NEED to survive in absolutely any way whatsoever. ”


Akaa Fele in London, UK and Nehemiah Attigah in Accra, Ghana consider it in the context of spirituality:

“Luxury is my wealth, given to me by our almighty father, God that can not be taken away from me by humans in any form, except with God’s permission.” – Akaa Fele

“Luxury is whatever makes me happy without limitations. Relatively, it’s my way [of] believing that, God has empowered me to enjoy life , work hard and just live.” – Nehemiah


 Adwoa Asiedu and Jane Damaris look at it as those slivers of momentary calm and solitude amidst the chaos:

“That moment when I get home after a hot, busy day and wash my face with cold water. The sound of my bedroom door closing on the world. The scent of my frangipani candle. The sigh that escapes my lips as I sink onto my bed and drift.” – Adwoa

“My little luxury moments are the 20 minutes I spend in my car every evening when iI get home with my seat reclined, shoes off and my thoughts of the day and plans for tomorrow. Sometimes I fall asleep.” – Jane


Rafiq Iddrisu in Dubai, UAE and Chisom Udeze in Lagos, Nigeria narrow it down to a word:

“Luxury is contentment. And I’m not talking about the cliché or the lip service kind, but the kind that runs deep, the kind u embrace with relish. The kind that makes u sigh and say “what luxury engulfs me!!”. The kind that will make many wonder what the hell he’s talking about. That for me, is the stuff luxury is made of.” – Rafiq

“To me, Luxury is ‘Ease.’ It is not necessarily limited to the extravagance that compliments wealth, 5 star hotels, Hermès bags etc, but the ease of life. For example: the easiness, comfort, and flexibility of my relationships with my family, partner, and friends is luxury. Life free of hassle is luxury. But I reckon that the hassling is necessary, otherwise, I wouldn’t appreciate luxury when things go smoothly and with ease.” – Chisom


Essie Bartels & Moiyattu Banya in the US (New York and New Jersey respectively) regard it as simple and uncomplicated:

“Luxury for me is simple designs and aesthetics. It is being able to do as I wish, and exactly when I want to. With luxury there’s no clutter. There’s no brouhaha… Understated and loud without having to say a word.” – Essie

“Luxury for me is minimalism, in all areas of my life, from fashion, to relationships, to career/business, no stress, no bullcrap, no drama.” – Moiyattu


Fatou Wurie in Freetown, Sierra Leone looks at it from a human rights angle:

“Luxury is not being judged for the color of my skin, luxury is not been penalized for the type of passport I carry, or live in fear of being sexually assaulted as a woman, or being African and therefore always in need of ‘help’. To me luxury is being accepted WHOLE as I come.”


Fa Sy in Virginia, USA and Anna Abdulai in Accra, Ghana highlight the element of time:

“What does luxury mean to you, you asked. It depends whom you ask and even for the same person, it depends when you ask. It is not stagnant, it is not fixed, it is not permanent, it is relative, it is fluid, it is complex, and it is simple…When all is said is done, luxury to me, remains one thing, it is the gift of life, experiencing every moment of my child’s life, surrounded by loved ones, being present because I am healthy and able.” – Fa

“I couldn’t agree with you more about luxury meaning ‘being present’…not re-living the past or worrying about the future…being in the present and feeling the breeze on your skin, the sun on your face, realizing that you are laughing to the pit of your stomach when you are and appreciating all the blessings as they happen.” – Anna


A lot to consider, huh? Having experienced some of the things I once considered to be luxurious, my perspective on what luxury is has changed drastically. Today, I find luxury in the simple, sometimes unexpected joys and moments of life – feeling the smooth lather of soap on your skin; watching water glisten in the sunlight;  looking at or thinking about the people you love and remembering with exact clarity why you care about them; glancing up at the night sky and seeing a star shine back at you; being able to decide when and why and how I indulge in food; the breath that gives me life; not having to look over my shoulder or brace myself for a racist comment; for those moments of serenity when your mind can’t find anything to complain about.

I also find luxury in many of the opportunities I have been blessed with – to have the parents I do and spend time with my family; to travel to different corners of the world and encounter a diversity of  (amazing) individuals; to know and understand myself; the pleasure of uncovering and indulging in my many passions; being able to speak my mind and share the musings of my heart without being persecuted for it; this endless journey of seeking and sharing knowledge; understanding that on so many levels I have the power to choose. To be healthy and alive in this moment of time. To love.

So, as we can see luxury can be anything to anyone at any time. A person, a place, a thing, a feeling or sense of being. Expensive or otherwise. Grandiose or small. Once in a lifetime or those everyday joys. But whatever it is, it is always meaningful. Honestly, without the #LittleLuxuryMoments campaign, the question of what luxury means might not have occurred to me. So what about you dear reader? What does luxury mean to you?



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Written by Jemila Abdulai as part of PZ Cussons’ Imperial Leather Ghana relaunch campaign.

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