My View: This is an insightful point of view from an industry practitioner. No one has all the answers, but this will certainly get you in thinking in the right direction.
My View: This is an insightful point of view from an industry practitioner. No one has all the answers, but this will certainly get you in thinking in the right direction.
Looking forward to Luxury Conference @HBSRLGC. Excited to see my classmates from the William & Mary LuxRe Club. http://ow.ly/hXgel
I’ve come across a few MBA students in the same place I was about a year ago. Many questions they ask center around creating a resume fit for the luxury sector.
Here’s a format used at ESSEC Business School. ESSEC is one of the most respected institutions, where the biggest firms in the luxury business recruit MBAs. It is particularly because it is one of the few MBA programs with a focus on the luxury segment. I’ll be writing about luxury education in a couple more posts. However, you don’t have to wait till then. This link will take you to the school’s 2012 Resume Look Book. Go to their website to learn more about the program.
I have also created a template for you to fill in (scroll to the bottom). It’s really a table. All you have to do is fill it in with the relevant info and hide the lines when you’re finished. Need further help with the template? Send me a comment.
I hope this helps.
Summary: Coach is in serious trouble as a brand. I’ve noticed them trying to be everything to everyone. Brands that want to transcend the entire consumer’s lifestyle must have a story that appeals to the DNA of their target consumer. The allow consumers to see the brand with a different lens because its still meaningful to them.
See the Bloomberg video report here.
More stuff about luxury bands you should avoid.
My View: This is a very interesting article on the evolution of the closet. I believe this presents a business opportunity for brands, and entrepreneurs alike. Imagine the possibilities when social media is added to the melting pot. Individual owners will be able to authenticate themselves as bonafide curators. I’m thinking of a platform to take advantage of this trend. It looks like one that will be home to the Pinterest user , the loyalty program member, and self-made brand influencer. Thanks to CoF for the post.
The latest trend for men and women alike, it seems, is not just owning the latest in style and fashion but also having an equally chic and luxurious space to store them in. Thus rises the trend of $100,000 closets, as an increasing number of people are looking at having specially designed walk-in, high end closets which resemble plush designer boutiques. These are replete with the likes of clothing and handbags in glass display cases like sculptures; custom-designed couches, expensive crystal bars, sound systems, flat screen TVs and everything else your imagination can conjure. Cases in point are the 400-square-foot, $100,000 closet created for Beverly Hills resident Rochelle Maize; $2.5 million three-story closet with an escalator for the wife of a wealthy industrialist in Mississippi and those for a host of celebrities.
L.A. Closet Design, California Closets and New York-based Clos-ette are some of the leaders in this market and…
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Less than a year ago, I wrote about JCP’s “square pricing” strategy created under CEO, Ron Johnson. The pricing strategy was intended to help the retailer grow its business, however, latest indications show the company has recorded four consecutive quarters of decline.
In combating the consumer backlash, Mr. Johnson is rolling out some of the previously discontinued sales that JCP is known for. There is no indication as to how many sale campaigns the retailer will bring back, but JCP’s CEO has vowed not to return to levels where the company ran up to 600 sales promotions each year. Supposedly, the retailer is going to introduce a limited number of promotions that tie in with the core habits of its consumer set – shoppers who only buy when they need something and require high value.
It’s bad enough that most of JCP’s consumers have decided to shop at its competitors (Kohl’s, Target, Dillard’s, and Macy’s to name a few). What’s worse is that Wall Street investors have also lost confidence in the stock. After losing more than half of its value, Penney stock is now trading at around $19. The company will also find it hard to raise capital as its credit rating is in the realm of “junk status”.
There is still no light at the end of the tunnel for Ron Johnson’s (RJ) turnaround. Though I was very pessimistic (and correct) in my initial assessment in April, 2012, I wouldn’t quit on RJ just yet. You do know he turned Apple and Target’s retail performance around, right? The past is the best predictor of the future. I just might roll the dice on some JCP stock.
Where do you need to be this month?
In Boston, at the Retail and Luxury Goods Conference, at Harvard Business School. It happens every year (this is the ninth) and is never a dull event. I had some of my best professional moments there. If you can’t make it, you can trust that I’ll take notes for you.
If there is one thing I’ll keep doing as the publisher of L.I.L, it will be to bring “cool” things to your attention.
I am enchanted with Tesla , especially because its cars are not gimmicks designed to draw “the herd” (a respectful reference to mass consumers). They definitely have my stamp of luxury particularly because of the brand’s exclusivity, quality production, unique heritage, and innovation. More importantly, this is a car you need to have if you plan on helping change the world.
I’ll say no more. Read this interview with George Blankenship, Tesla’s Vice President for Worldwide Sales and Ownership Experience.
I bet you’ll get goosebumps by just imagining the world that Tesla founder, Elon Musk, aims to develop.
First off, here’s wishing you a Happy 2013 ahead.
If you are reading this post, then I must either welcome you anew; or thank you for checking in on the blog.
When I created Lessons in Luxury, I had a goal of starting my post-MBA career in the luxury goods and services sector. Today, I have achieved that goal and have set even loftier ones for my career.
However, this blog has such a cool name that it must continue, even if it means that it will have a new focus. Rather than focusing on luxury from an academic perspective, I’ll discuss luxury as a career.
Look out for the first entry in 2013.
It’s unfortunate that this great designer isn’t alive today, but the world has gained so much from him. If you didn’t know, Perry Ellis got his business degree from The College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA). What a great beginning. The bar has been set.
For a while, I have been asking myself that same question. Well let’s see. Towards the end of my last semester in the MBA program at William and Mary, I got to sit in on an week-long executive level program in retail management. It was probably the best class/course I ever took. Isn’t it ironic that the best and most influential classes in my MBA came at the end of the program? Of course, thats with due respect to all the great professors who I already had in previous terms. Prof. Hess’s course on Customer Experience Management was nothing short of impressive.
After learning with executives from retail giants in South Africa, Sweden, Mexico, and the rest of the world, it was time to graduate. On May 13, 2012, I officially earned those three letters – M.B.A. Lots of people sent me emails of my picture on W&M’s home page; and that really made the day a memorable one.
A few people have asked me what will become of the blog now that I have graduated the MBA program. The answer is I don’t know. I have achieved the goal I wanted when I started this blog – to transition into the luxury industry. I’ll keep thinking on that question. Congrats to all those who graduated from an academic program this past May. You deserve it.
From a Business Standpoint: When thinking about the woes of CNN, I thought of a practical lesson for all luxury brands and retailers.
You can’t be everything to everybody
As any observer might notice, there is a deep bifurcation in American politics today. It seems that in its quest for objectivity and nonpartisan reporting, CNN has become everything and/or nothing to viewers. MSNBC and Fox are doing well because they have a market focus. Whether or not you agree with their specific political views (the products), Fox and MSNBC may be doing a better job in serving (customer satisfaction) their viewers (customers).
Note: There’s a link to some jobs at the bottom of the post.
Last week, our Luxury and Retail Club had an event at the Mason School of Business. The event was titled “Looks Count – A Presentation on Professional Dress for Men and Women”. Here’s how we described the event: Continue reading
4/15/12 – After the keynote address from Max Azria, I went on to some of the panel sessions. The panel sessions are a little more intimate than the keynotes because you get to hear different perspectives on the same issues that concern retailers today. You’ll see competitors, collaborators, and disruptors in the same room. This year there were four panels and I attended two:
Emerging Markets – The panelists were:
New Business Directions – The panelists were:
After coming out of the station I took this picture of the entrance to the Back Bay Station:
Right across the street from Back Bay Station is an iconic property – Copley Place. This was a good experience for me because just the day before I had the pleasure of conversing with Howard Elkus and Ken Himmel, famous architect and renowned developer respectively.
Later in the evening around 6pm, I went on to the Sheraton Commander Hotel for a networking session and keynote address by Steven Kolb, CEO, The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). He set the conference off on a good tone discussing the role and history of the CFDA as well as its efforts to push intellectual property rights for designers in the US.
So here I am in wonderful Boston for the Retail and Luxury Conference at HBS. It’s been a year since I’ve been back. I’ve had a wonderful time so far, traveling via the subway/rail system. I think I like it better than NYC’s subway system. Watch out for more posts (with pictures).
Below are the top 10 posts based on readership.
|1. Aman Resorts: A Tough Sell for DLF|
|2. Questionable Co-branding|
|3. Fair and Square at JCPenney|
|4. Part 2 – This Thing Called Luxury|
|5. Luxe Value: Interbrand’s Best Global Brands|
|6. Adding Value – Train Rides and iPads|
|7. Swatch: Creating a Shakeout in the Swiss Watch Industry|
|8. What do LVMH and L’Oréal Have in Common with Google, KPMG, and Deutsche Bank?|
|9. A Room With a View of Your Porsche, Ferrari, Benz, …|
|10. Differentiating Upscale Hospitality Series: Ritz-Carlton|
Key Takeaway from The Luxury Doctrine (a new resource in development):
If you want to be successful, especially in luxury, you have to think of, and act like the customer, at all steps in the value chain… you have to manage the customer’s experience
– Edmund Amoye, Lessons in Luxury
For those who have been following my posts on the different luxury segments, you’ll notice that the key catalyst for success in today’s environment is innovation in managing the customer experience. If you are new to this customer-centric theme, I have a list of related posts at the bottom, to get you up to speed.
In every business there are seasons and cycles – ups and downs. At their rollout to end-users, luxury goods and services are sometimes heralded as innovative novelties and “must haves”. However, as brands permeate, manufacturers innovate, and marketing teams penetrate (I had to use that rhyme… too easy to pass up), commoditization sets in. Luckily, the Ford Motor Co. is doing something about that with its Lincoln automotive brand.
– Top View of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Continue reading
Article Link – Penney’s Pricing Strategy takes a Toll on Sales
Ron Johnson’s bet on JCP’s new retail strategy will not come without its costs. Analysts on Wall Street are expecting JCP’s revenues to drop by “seven percent this fiscal year”. This is worse than the previously forecasted two percent drop because analysts believe “shoppers accustomed to seeing big discounts [will] go to rivals like Macy’s Inc.”. Same-store sales are expected to drop nine percent – lower than the four percent drop that was originally anticipated.
Penney’s new strategy is simple – three tiers:
Though the street expects dire consequences for JCP’s stock in the short term, it also believes that Ron Johnson’s plan will pan out in the longer term by eliminating “unprofitable promotions and [improving] its profit margins overall”.
If successful, this will be a major change in retailing because suddenly the promotional activity will decrease and other retailers will also have to find ways to attract customers… but this is going to take time.
– Walter Loeb, New York-based retail consultant
JCP is expected to offer more details on its performance when it reports its quarterly earnings results in May.
My View: This is a long-term bet, not a strategy that will yield postive returns in the next six to 12 months. Ron Johnson is not trying to change his strategy – he is trying to change the rules of the retail game. His bet is riding on a revamp of the entire retail experience.
Disclaimer: I do not own, or plan to buy any JCP stock in the next 48 hours.
Earlier today, I used my free trial of Netflix to watch “Born Rich”. The movie is directed by Jamie Johnson (heir to the J&J empire) and documents the nuances that come with living a privileged life. Below is Nexflix’s synopsis of the movie:
The heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical empire, Jamie Johnson, points his documentary lens in the direction of some privileged children who stand to inherit millions in the not-so-distant future. Johnson manages to pry revelations from heirs with some famous last names — Trump, Bloomberg and Vanderbilt, to name a few. They speak frankly about money, family pressure and their often extravagant lifestyles.
After reading the above summary, I decided to watch the movie. I was hoping for some perspective on how the “currently-rich-and-soon-to-be-richer” might define luxury. It seemed to me that the answer was simple – freedom. Many of the individuals in the documentary saw wealth as a somewhat vulgar prison, lacking much in moral fabric, or social accountability. They so deeply wanted to fit in with common people, but found it hard to begin to try.
Let me know of any movies that you think expose unique perspectives on luxury. Check out “Born Rich”. It won’t cost you anything if you use the Netflix trial. Just don’t blame me if you forget to cancel before the trial is over.
Here’s something for MBAs interested in the apparel sector. The industry is a global one with pieces of its value chain spread across a variety of regions and countries. McKinsey Quarterly is a great, FREE resource for MBA students watching the pulse of their target industries. Click on the picture on the left to see an executive summary of this issue.
My blog has posts going as far back as April, 2011, but I only started publishing in August, 2011. I didn’t have a huge following when I started. Hey let’s be real, I was probably my only reader – aside from my family.
Today, the unique page views of the blog run in the thousands. Here’s a look at where my readers come from. If my blog was a luxury goods company, we’d be very diversified.
Credit for this post goes to Chase Harps, one of my MBA classmates.
I often find myself having to evangelize for the luxury industry, especially to people that may be skeptical of its necessity or long-term viability. For those people, I am posting a link to a new 2012 brand ranking report from Brand Finance. Based on its findings, the company issued a viewpoint on luxury brands. Entitled “Recession Fails to Dent Consumer Lust for Luxury Brands“, the article lists the following main points. Continue reading
In my last post, I mentioned a conference coming up in April, 2012. Well there’s one that’s just came to an end at the Mason School of Business at The College of William and Mary. The inaugural session of SEcon (Social Entrepreneurship Conference) has just concluded. What an amazing two-day experience being among leaders, innovators, and change agents with a passion for doing great good for business and society.
The conference hosted participants from across the globe, including:
There’s a complete list of participants here.
Social entrepreneurship is not a new idea that requires considerable thought or effort to understand. It occurs and develops in many different ways – with individuals, communities, companies, and even nations. After attending all the breakout sessions and listening to the various speakers, I think there’s a lot of opportunity for luxury brands that want to be more relevant to consumers.
The SEcon 2012 conference website will be up for a long time to come. I suggest you access the trove of videos and information generated by the event. I’m going to study all of the material to find those nuggets of wisdom that will help me in my luxe-focused career.
One of the substantial influences that prompted me to start Lessons in Luxury was an industry conference I attended in April, 2011. The event was the Retail & Luxury Goods Conference hosted by the student-run Retail & Luxury Goods Club at Harvard Business School (HBS). Meeting business luminaries such as Tommy Hilfiger, William Lauder, and Stephen Sadove did a lot to help me develop my career ambitions.
This year, you can join me and my cohorts in the Luxury and Retail Club from The College of William and Mary, in Boston, MA. HBS will host the 2012 iteration of its annual conference from April 14, 2012 to April 15, 2012. For more information on registration, keynote speakers, and logistics, go to http://www.hbsrlgconference.com.
Previous speakers at the conference have included:
I look forward to seeing you there.