Failure is A Milestone on The Road to Success

I read something from Theodore Roosevelt today that profoundly inspires me. I know it will do the same for any professional in luxury, or any industry at all. I’m going to keep this one close to the chest.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

– Excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic”
Delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910

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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.

#HBSRLGC – Day 2: Emerging Markets Panel

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:

  • Anya Ayoung Chee – Designer, Project Runway Winner
  • Kai Schoppen – CEO, Brandsclub Group
  • Malte Horeyseck – Co-Founder and Managing Director, Dafiti
  • Tikka Karpurthala – Chief Representative in Asia for Moet-Hennessy/Group Advisor Louis Vuitton, India

New Business Directions – The panelists were:

  • Anthony W. Campbell – EVP of Administration, Vice Chairman’s Office, Perry Ellis International
  • Julie Bull – Director of Investor Relations, Dillards
  • Mark Bonchek – SVP Communities and Networks, Sears Holdings
Here are the tweets to catch you up on what went on in the Emerging Markets panel.

Continue reading

#HBSRLGC – Day 2: Max Azria

Two Crazy Guys - Max Azria (Founder, Designer, Chairman and CEO, BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP) and Edmund Amoye (LuxRe Club, Mason School of Business)

On day two (Sunday 4/15/12) at the Harvard Business School Retail and Luxury Goods Conference (HBSRLGC), we kicked off the day with breakfast, which was not attended by yours truly.

I was having too much fun walking around Boston... literally.

However, my day was off to a a memorable start with the second keynote address by Max Azria – Founder, Designer, Chairman and CEO, BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP. This is a man I have always admired for his perspective on fashion – and have respected for his vision with the Herve Leger brand. Meeting the man was something I wasn’t expecting and the HBSRLGC helped me do that. I tweeted so much at this conference that I’m just going to use my tweets document my experience. Enjoy. Continue reading

Part 2 – This Thing Called Luxury

Building on the confusion of yesterday’s post, today’s entry focuses on the academic justification for a firm’s participation in the luxury segment. Though what appears below is very intellectual, it is very similar to the thoughts I had on the matter long before I ever knew I wanted to work in the luxury segment.

In his work covering business strategy, Michael Porter explains that there are two main categories, in which a firm’s competitive strengths fall: cost leadership and differentiation. Depending on the firm’s market focus (broad or niche), and the uniqueness of its products (custom or commodity) and services, Porter posits four generic strategies a firm can use to develop a competitive advantage. Continue reading

A Chat with Steve Sadove, CEO of Saks, Inc.

Edmund Amoye with Steve Sadove (right) at HBS - 04/2011

Since assuming the leadership role at the Luxury and Retail Club at the Mason School of Business, I have had the opportunity to network with executives from different segments of the luxury and retail industry. My most meaningful encounter occurred in April, 2011 when I met Steve Sadove, CEO at Saks, Inc. at the annual Retail and Luxury Conference at Harvard Business School. I kept in touch with him over the summer, and last month (Oct. 2011), Mr. Sadove (SS) spoke to me (EA) in his New York office about leadership, his company and industry, customer trends, career opportunities, and the job of CEO at a company with a market capitalization of about $1.7B (11/7/11). Below are excerpts from our conversation. Continue reading