Escaping Reality—Just for a Few Minutes

Sep 25, 2014
Photographer Spotlight

by Jillian Pekel

Don’t lie, you’d love to take off on a beautiful beach getaway in the middle of your workday. It’s okay, Natasha Lee understands. And if you were on the receiving end of one of her new promotions, that’s pretty much what you were in store for. Natasha started sketching and planning her promo idea in May and is excited to share the final product.

In a nutshell, the concept was an “Escape Kit” – to tell a story with my Travel & Leisure images. In the etched, hand-assembled box, there is a booklet that describes a day of retreat, hour by hour. Along with the package are postcards as well as a packet of green tea and juniper scented wax to transport the recipient to a “virtual escape” along with the images.


Natasha wanted to send a gift that was “basically who I am in a box.” She included aspects of the things she loves: travel, yoga and the lifestyle of wellness.

The idea grew from the booklet – I wanted to create a story that would incorporate my favorite images and the retreat idea was inspired by my travels, especially a yoga retreat I attended earlier this year. It was also important to me that the promo was something the recipients could use, whether it’s a cup of tea, or simply remembering to take a breather during their busy days.


The project started with the image selection. Little by little, the frames became a narrative of the retreat. Natasha used images from every aspect of her ideal escape. The photos came from Los Angeles, Bali, Indonesia, Tulum, Mexico and Hawaii. Included were pictures of a seaside palapa, eating a farm-grown breakfast, yoga, surfing, shopping, exploring the town, and (of course) a spa treatment.

I wanted to send the booklet as part of a package that told a story, and especially having read about retreats where people pay to be unplugged, I surrounded the booklet “itinerary” with items that are dear to me no matter what part of the world I am in. I can’t start my morning without a cup of tea (maybe two), natural scents that feel grounding, analog postcards to send to friends, and and a piece of the ocean. The box was first mocked up with foam core to figure out sizing and placement of the different items. I chose a light birch wood to reflect my love of spaces both at home and abroad that are built with simple, natural materials.


With all the thought and personality put into this promo, I’m sure Natasha has some very happy recipients. I know I wouldn’t turn one down! It’s definitely something most people won’t forget.

To see more of the envy-inducing photos that were included in this kit, please visit Natasha’s website.

Tags: hospitality jillian pekel natasha lee photography promotions travel wonderful machine