Study, Reflect, Copy, Express….

It may he hard for anyone to reconcile the context and content of this post with the name of my blog, but sometimes you just have to go with the things that move you.

I’ve written before about my admiration for speeches and writings of certain figures in history. I may never know everything about the people I so admire, but the some of the things they say have had a profound effect on making me a better version of myself.

This speech by Oprah at the 2018 Golden Globes is no exception. It speaks to much of what’s happening in the current zeitgeist, but also addresses many issues we deal with on a personal level. It speaks volumes to me about leadership and speaking truth to power.

I hope it inspires you to be more.

Thanks go to NBC for posting this video to Youtube.

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I Love The Business of Luxury Like A Fish Loves Water

So, the HBS Retail and Luxury Goods Conference is over and I’m wondering why I go to this conference every year.

Well, its simple.

The Dream Team (and yours truly) - Members of the LuxRe Club from The College of William and Mary at the HBS Retail and Luxury Goods Conference

The Dream Team (and yours truly) – Members of the LuxRe Club from The College of William and Mary at the HBS Retail and Luxury Goods Conference

I like to listen to the array of views on what’s going on in the luxury industry. I also enjoy meeting new minds, and reuniting with old friends. However, the real reason I go to the conference is simply because it makes me feel good. It fires up my creative neurons and allows me to think about things in different ways. The best way to describe it is that I feel comfortable – like a fish in water.

Reimagining the In-Store Experience: One of the panels at the HBS Retail and Luxury Goods Conference

Re-imagining the In-Store Experience: One of the panels at the HBS Retail and Luxury Goods Conference

Key Idea: Find those environments and business cultures that make you feel good about who you are. Find the people and places that excite your true passions. You won’t go far if you fail to be honest with yourself about who you are and what you believe in. Act like a luxury brand and stand for something.

My View: The main reason I joined the industry is because it stands for something that is important to me. Though there are opposing opinions out there, I believe that the luxury segment benefits a vast array of stakeholders in different geographic, cultural, and socio-economic segments – governments, companies, the environment, and of course, consumers. The industry doesn’t just provide beautiful products and valuable services for consumers – it also provides jobs and supports economic development.

BOLD Customer Experience Management, Blogging, @doubletree… I need more than 140 characters

I need more than just 140 characters

As soon as I tweeted it, I felt like I had to say more. Have you ever met someone, read a book, or watched a movie that contained ideas or dreams that you’ve always had? Thoughts that, prior to the encounter, you couldn’t concisely express?

I’ve been having those moments as I’ve been reading this book about companies that adopt a customer-first culture.

BoldThe book has been the breath of fresh air I needed to fill my lungs of passion for the customer. After going through some of my past posts, it dawned on me that I agreed with the authors (Shaun Smith and Andy Milligan) long before I received the book as a graduation present in 2012. Since starting the book, I have ordered four more copies for my friends across the US (and even in Japan). I think you should read it too.

Heck I might just send a free copy to the first person to send me a message via the comment box. 
 
Past Posts

As I was looking through my old posts, I felt so proud for having a point of view of my own, before being introduced to someone else’s. I couldn’t have begun to formulate my perspective if I hadn’t had a cathartic outlet like blogging. It never really mattered if I sounded stupid, smart, or experienced, I just wanted to put my thoughts out there. All that mattered was for me to develop my own point of view. Finding this book was such a proud moment for me because it lets me know that I’m not crazy. I’m just saying what I think. So its really important to blog.

If you need to develop a point of view on something that’s important to you, start putting your thoughts out there. Start a blog…. do something.

On to the next piece.

I’m in Boston, MA for the Retail and Luxury Goods Conference held by Harvard Business School. I’ve been coming since 2011 because its such a comfortable zone, being around luxury industry professionals. It’s especially relevant for me because of my personal mission in life and business:

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Whenever I come to the conference, I stay with the same hotel brand – DoubleTree by Hilton Worldwide. I have to say it is such a wonderful customer experience because I always get what I expect – the feeling of a home away from home. More to come sooner than you think.

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BRAND U – Template for a Luxury Resume

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.

Lux MBA Resume Template

JC Penney Going for Broke / Luxury Conference in Boston, MA

Ron Johnson’s Original Turnaround Plan for JCP – Circa April 2012

The Gist:

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.

Question

Where do you need to be this month?

Harvard Business School

Answer

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.

Back to Blogging… with A Different Focus

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.

The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, VA

Today, I’m at the Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner (near DC) for an event organized by the Mason School of Business. What a great hotel. Trust me cause I know. I’ll tell you more about it later (with pictures). This is a brand that truly loves the ladies and gentlemen it serves.