Luxury Institute News

February 8, 2016

Luxury Brands Can No Longer Ignore Sustainability

Harvard Business Review
By:  Andrew Winston
February 8, 2016

If I asked you to picture the consumer luxury market, you might imagine jewels, sports cars, watches, premium drinks, high-end shoes and apparel, and so on. A combination of high quality, glamour, celebrity, and attitude. With a few exceptions, it’s been an industry not traditionally associated with concerns about environmental impacts, human rights, and wellness, even while those trends have been sweeping through the mainstream consumer products sector. But according to a new report, 2016 Predictions for the Luxury Industry: Sustainability and Innovation, that sustainability gap is closing fast.

Two organizations that work closely with high-end product companies, the Luxury Institute and Positive Luxury, produced the study (disclosure: I’m on the latter’s informal advisory board, but I had no involvement in the research). Diana Verde Nieto, the founder of Positive Luxury and main author of the study, makes a compelling case that sustainability and social responsibility are no longer nice-to-have for luxury brands — they are now requirements.

The report lays out a few key pressures.

First, the direct pressure: the laws are changing. The report points to the passage of the Modern Slavery Act in the U.K. in 2015, which requires larger companies doing business in Britain to publish a board-approved, public annual slavery and human trafficking statement. This kind of law clearly drives much more transparency and tracking up the supply chain. And it’s a good thing, as 71% of U.K. retailers and suppliers think it’s likely there are slaves in their supply chain.

Second, the indirect and more powerful pressure: social norms are changing, starting with high-profile tastemakers. Celebrities are more invested than ever in sustainability. Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo have produced movies and started organizations to tackle climate change and promote renewable energy. Harry Potter star Emma Watson is a vocal advocate on gender equality while also appearing regularly in fashion magazines. These names and others are lending their clout to the social and environmental agenda. Given their prominence in the fashion and luxury worlds, their beliefs, statements, and demands on companies matter.

On a larger scale, the expectations of companies are changing generationally — Millennials have different views on how companies should act. The report cites research showing that “88% of UK and US Millennials and Generation Xers believe brands need to do more good, not just ‘less bad.’” This generation is questioning consumption in general – a majority say they are spending more on experiences (meaning, less emphasis on stuff), which is a threat to the luxury world. And they are driving a “clean label” trend, where companies feel pressure to explain what’s in everything and where it came from.

Third, the report highlights the fact that the investment community is waking up to the value to consumer brands of managing environmental and social issues well. There are some early shoots of evidence to back this idea up: in 2015, a Morgan Stanley analyst raised the price target on some mainstream apparel players like Nike based on their sustainability performance. The report sees this pressure coming to luxury companies soon.

Finally, there’s the harsh reality of biophysical limits seriously compromising these companies’ ability to source their products. Luxury goods require digging up, growing, and processing materials throughout the value chain, and that’s all getting tougher. According to Verde Nieto, these are not just ethereal brand risks about labor or image, but actual business continuity risks. Climate change is changing water availability and crop production around the world. That affects cotton-based products and, as Verde Nieto says, cashmere and angora, for example, require a great deal of water to process.

For gems and minerals, Verde Nieto sees a range of challenges from the energy required in production to general availability. With slight hyperbole, she says, “we’re out of gold basically (almost all the gold we use is recycled), various substances and ingredients in skin care are threatening the environment, diamonds are scarce, and exotic skins are in trouble…basically — and this is the big ‘a-ha’ — some of the raw materials, crucial to the luxury industry, are under threat.”

The leading companies in this space have been acting on many of these pressures for years. Both Tiffany and Forevermark, a Debeers company, have certified their diamonds using the independent Kimberley Process as “conflict free.” L’Oreal has quietly been making itself one of the global leaders on climate change and renewable energy. The company has already cut greenhouse gases by 50% and has new targets to be carbon neutral (without buying renewable energy credits) by 2020.

Now all the big brands are jumping in. One of the report supporters, French luxury conglomerate LVMH, has been, according to Verde Nieto, conducting extensive lifecycle analyses of their business lines. Others like Veuve Cliquot Champagne are looking hard at packaging now. They’re all figuring out where their biggest risks and opportunities lie. The report has some additional good case studies in the watch, leather, diamond, and eco-tourism realms.

None of this is easy or obvious. This industry has some tough history to reconcile. “Blood diamonds” were not just a campaigners evocative phrase, but based on real money flows to brutal dictators. Slavery is still a problem. Mines are immense operations that can impoverish people and land — or create jobs and build the economy.

But in our transparent world, the risk of not tackling sustainability is extremely high for this sector. As CSR and sustainability evangelist John Elkington told the report writers. “The implicit promise [in luxury] is that the consumer need not worry about anything. Everything is taken care of… Until it isn’t, at which point the whole impression of invulnerability and perfection can deflate.”

An unsustainable piece of clothing or jewel is, in the end, anything but flawless. As we all wake up to that reality, the luxury companies have no choice but to act.

Source: https://hbr.org/2016/02/luxury-brands-can-no-longer-ignore-sustainability?

December 10, 2015

Announcing Luxury FirstLook: Strategy 2016 New York Jan. 20

Luxury Daily
December 6, 2015

Join senior executives and decision-makers at the 4th annual Luxury FirstLook: Strategy 2016, the nation’s premier conference organized by Luxury Daily discussing luxury advertising, marketing, retail, media, Internet and mobile issues and opportunities expected in 2016. Speakers from the Boston Consulting Group, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Van Cleef & Arpels, Breguet, Luxury Institute, Shullman Research Center, Kantar Media Ad Intelligence, Travel + Leisure, Modern Luxury, Neuehouse, Base New York, KBS, Lloyd&Co., Parlux Fragrances, Matouk, Fluid Inc., iProspect, Monaco Lange, Envirosell, Engel & Volkers North America, Bloomberg Pursuits and Driscoll Advisors

Focus: What luxury marketers can expect in a market, while showing strong pockets of growth, is rife with uncertainty in 2016 and what it means for luxury retailers, luxury brands, ad agencies, publishers, market researchers, technology platforms and service providers

Why you should attend: Hear a cross-section of the nation’s leading expects discuss strategy, tactics, execution, results and analysis for gaining or maintaining market share in a rapidly evolving luxury market where the consumer is leading the change as much as brands. Also network with fellow attendees who are senior executives and decision-makers at leading marketers in this 11-hour serious transfer of knowledge

Venue: 10 on the Park at Time Warner Center, 60 Columbus Circle, 10th floor, New York, NY 10019 (entrance is on 60th Street across from Columbus Circle, between Equinox gym and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel)

Price: Only $695, which includes breakfast, lunch and cocktails

Sponsorship: For lunch roundtables and keynotes, tables, breakfast, cocktails and other sponsorships, please email ads@napean.com

Please click here to register for 4th annual Luxury FirstLook: Strategy 2016 in New York on Wednesday, Jan. 20

AGENDA

Luxury FirstLook: Strategy 2016
New York
Jan. 20, 2016

7:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
Breakfast and Registration

8:45 a.m.
Welcome Remarks
Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief, Luxury Daily
Milton Pedraza, CEO, The Luxury Institute, and Master of Ceremonies

9 a.m.
Opening Keynote
Selected Key Trends In the Luxury Industry In 2016
Boston Consulting Group has a finger on the pulse of luxury given that it works with the world’s leading luxury brands and retailers, advising them on strategy, tactics and execution. The world of luxury is set to undergo several changes in 2016, forcing marketers to rethink marketing, retailing, media, Internet and mobile approaches. This talk will specifically focus on four key trends:

• A changing world: New growth drivers in the luxury industry
• Intro values such as quality, craftsmanship and exclusivity continue to roar as consumers increasingly looking for experiences
• Word of mouth increasingly a driver of purchase decisions
• Winning in the rising digital world

Speaker:
Luke Pototschnik, partner and managing director, Boston Consulting Group

9:30 a.m.
Research Keynote
Van Cleef & Arpels: Examining the Jeweler’s Digital Strategy
Speaker:
Kristina Buckley Kayel, vice president of communications, Van Cleef & Arpels

10 a.m.
How Luxury Brands and Retailers Should Consider Reaching and Communicating with Luxury Buyers in 2016
As the United States economy continues to expand ever so slowly, how much has that ongoing expansion increased the size of the U.S. luxury markets such as the prospects for designer apparel and accessories, premium cosmetics and fragrances, luxury automobiles, luxury travel and luxury home goods? Plus, with the ever-growing number of advertising and communication mediums and channels now reaching the luxury consumer, which channels make the most sense for luxury marketers to communicate with these luxury shoppers? These and other critical questions will be answered from the consumer’s perspective as the Shullman Research Center presents its in-depth analysis of what luxury buyers are now buying and the most effective ways to reach this valuable audience.

Speaker
Bob Shullman, founder/CEO, The Shullman Research Center

10:30 a.m.
Break

11 a.m.
2015 Holiday Advertising Wrap-Up: The Luxury Market
Media advertising was an important marketing channel for luxury brands during the just-completed holiday shopping season. What strategies and tactics did luxury marketers use to break through the competitive noise and connect with their targeted audience? What can be learned from their approaches? Drawing on its comprehensive ad monitoring database, Kantar Media has examined luxury brands and will share insights on holiday campaign ad spending levels, budget allocations across media platforms, digital media initiatives, timing of ad spend during the period, ad message content and more.

Speaker:
Jon Swallen, chief research officer, Kantar Media Ad Intelligence

11:30 a.m.
Going Beyond the Product: Creating Physical Experiences for Luxury Consumers
The way to reach luxury consumers is not just through their shopping habits, but also through the elegant and tangible elements of their environment. How can brands use smart design and user experience to lure luxury consumers back to the exclusivity of white-glove services that are only offered in exclusive memberships and high-end bricks-and-mortar stores? Hear from branding and design leaders on how to create and position a state of mind and experience that goes beyond the price point of upscale products and instead focuses on physical spaces and tangible experiences that exude affluence.

Panelists:
James O’Reilly, partner, Neuehouse
Geoff Cook, founder/partner of Base New York
Matt Powell, Co-president, KBS
Neil Powell, designer, Smart Space

Noon
The New Travel + Leisure: Aligning Platforms to Audience Behavior
One of the leading travel publications nationwide, Travel + Leisure is part of the Time Inc. family of magazines that is straddling both the print and digital worlds. The evolution of this brand mirrors the changing reading habits of consumers. This session will discuss the magazine brand’s approach to:

• Print versus digital versus social
• Defining the brand for cross-platform publishing, growing digital and engaging via new products
• Destination guides
• Video: Serving the audience in new ways
• Utilities
• Commerce
• State of the market: The affluent and travel spending; the Travel + Leisure audience and the year ahead; emerging destinations; and luxury travel trends

Speaker:
Nathan Lump, editor in chief, Travel + Leisure

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Sponsored Lunch Break

1:30 p.m.
Four Seasons: How Luxury Brands Should Focus on the New Principles of Content Marketing
The Four Seasons hotels chain is the byword in luxury hospitality, with a sharp emphasis on customer service. Part of that mission is to involve its customers to share via content their experiences across properties that intersect with life’s key moments. This session will shed insights on the next evolution of content marketing for luxury brands, with a specific focus on user-generated content and the power of harnessing consumer content to drive brand leadership. The Four Seasons has long advocated that luxury brands should become publishers. The next step in that process is to understand how the consumer fits into content creation, both from a creation and an engagement perspective. In essence, what are the new principles of content marketing and how should luxury brands be thinking about that as they look forward to the year ahead.

Speaker:
Elizabeth Pizzinato, senior vice president of marketing and communications, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

2 p.m.
A Customer Journey Through the Sense of Smell
There is nothing more personal than one’s’ choice of scent, which makes it even more imperative for fragrances to differentiate themselves when positioned directly next to their competitors in-store. The journey a consumer takes surely does not begin and end with a woman spraying shoppers along the beauty counter. How can you market and sustain a sensory experience for a fragrance brand across all channels to ensure continuity from packing to print? This session will focus on the strategy behind the marketing of luxury fragrances for today’s modern consumer and how the speakers partnered to remaster the iconic Norell fragrance.

Speakers:
Jodi Sweetbaum, president and managing director, Lloyd&Co
Pat Werblin, vice president of advertising, Parlux Fragrances

2:30 p.m.
Breguet: State of the Luxury Watches Market and Outlook for the Year Ahead
Speaker:
Mike Nelson, president, Breguet

3 p.m.
Break

3:30 p.m.
Modern Luxury, Modern Marketing: A Localized Approach to Connecting with the Luxury Consumer
Media houses continue to struggle to find their footing in the modern marketing landscape. One of the few publishers that has maintained continued growth and success despite these changes is Modern Luxury, the country’s largest local luxury media company. With the recent launch of its 67th title (Silicon Valley) and significant year-over-year revenue growth, Modern Luxury has separated from the pack with a unique strategy of building community with highly engaged, high-net-worth individuals in key markets across the United States. Modern Luxury’s presentation will highlight the publisher’s unique approach, specifically the importance of experiential marketing and of targeted engagement specific to each market. Other highlights include:

• Geographical and regional nuances to approaching luxury: How the definition of “luxury” differs not only from state-to-state but from city-to-city, even just within miles (e.g. Silicon Valley vs. San Francisco, Manhattan vs. The Hamptons, Los Angeles vs. Orange County)
• Regional luxury trends and insights, taken from Modern Luxury’s own survey of its readers in each of their markets;
• Learn the cultural habits of these luxury consumers city by city: shopping patterns, attitudes towards brands and experiential programming and more (e.g. Resort towns are often a missed opportunity for beauty brands as purchase intent in those pockets scores off the charts or did you know that Houston in-store events see a bump in sales from attendees after the event? The culture there is one of discreet spending as opposed to conspicuous consumption)
• Modern Luxury’s view on the year ahead and strategies on how to continue to engage with local luxury consumers

Speaker:
Marcy Bloom, senior vice president and group publisher, Modern Luxury

4 p.m.
Personalizing Luxury Household Goods Through Technology
The benefit of in-store shopping for household goods such as bedding and furniture is that it enables one to visualize how the product would look in one’s own home. But with 98 percent of affluent consumers using the Internet on a daily basis, it is imperative that luxury home-good makers explore ways to digitally engage with consumers to ensure that they are staying relevant. Attendees will learn how the speakers partnered to create uMatouk. The tool allows both retailers and consumers to mix and match bedding to create their own combinations that appear on a photorealistic 3D bed. The speakers to how the tool’s success has led to increased traffic back to Matouk’s site and why digital personalization tools should be an essential marketing tactic for luxury brands across categories.

Speakers:
Stuart Kiely, senior director of technology and marketing, Matouk
Chris Haines, director of strategy, Fluid Inc.

4 p.m.
Raffe for Dom Perignon

4:45 p.m.
Closing Panel
Outlook 2016: Key Luxury Marketing, Retail, Media and Digital Trends and What’s Next
Traditional luxury brands enter 2016 having had a mixed reception in the preceding year. While many marketers retained or grew market share, a few including department store chains had to resort to extensive discounts to retain footfall. The trend of brands opening more stores slowed, even as China and emerging market sales slackened while the United States held up. It is also obvious that the Internet and mobile have influenced shopper behavior. Among other issues, this panel will dissect:

• Holiday 2015 recap
• Outlook for the economy in 2016: What luxury marketers should anticipate
• U.S. and international markets: Where does growth lie
• Digital and the integration of online and mobile marketing and commerce with stores
• Theme for the year ahead

Speakers:
Andrea Wilson, vice president/strategy director and luxury practice lead, iProspect
Greg Monaco, founding partner, Monaco Lange
Gustavo Gomez, director of research and methodology, Envirosell
Anthony Hitt, CEO, Engel & Volkers North America
Chris Rovzar, digital head, Bloomberg Pursuits

Panelist:
Marie Driscoll, CEO and chief consultant, Driscoll Advisors

Closing Remarks
Milton Pedraza, CEO, The Luxury Institute, and Master of Ceremonies
Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief, Luxury Daily

5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Luxury Women to Watch 2016 Cocktails Celebration

Please click here to register for 4th annual Luxury FirstLook: Strategy 2016 in New York on Wednesday, Jan. 20

Hotels in the Midtown Manhattan neighborhood (from nearest to farthest):

Mandarin Oriental New York
80 Columbus Park at 60th Street, New York, NY 10023; tel: 212-805-8800
Please click here for the Web site

Trump Hotel Central Park
One Central Park West, New York, NY, 10023; tel: 212-299-1000
Please click here for the Web site

Hudson New York
356 W 58th Street, New York, NY 10019; tel: 212-554-6000
Please click here for the Web site

JW Marriot Essex House New York
160 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019; tel: 212-247-0300
Please click here for the Web site

The Hilton New York 
1335 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019; tel: 212-586-7000
Please click here for the Web site

The Palace Hotel
455 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022; tel: 212-888-7000
Please click here for the Web site

The Bryant Park Hotel
40 West 40th Street, New York, NY 10018; tel: 212-869-4446
Please click here for the Web site

New York Marriot Marquis
1535 Broadway, New York, NY 10036; tel: 212-398-1900
Please click here for the Web site

Sheraton Times Square
811 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10019; tel: 212-581-1000
Please click here for the Web site

Please click here to register for 4th annual Luxury FirstLook: Strategy 2016 in New York on Wednesday, Jan. 20

Source: http://www.luxurydaily.com/announcing-luxury-firstlook-strategy-2016-new-york-jan-20/

November 10, 2015

Longchamp looks back on decade-long Jeremy Scott partnership

Luxury Daily
November 9, 2015

French apparel and accessories house Longchamp is celebrating its 10-year collaboration with designer Jeremy Scott through a new limited-edition Le Pliage handbag.

For the past decade, Mr. Scott, who designs for his own eponymous label and Italain label Moschino, has been lending his colorful aesthetic to Longchamp for special-edition versions of its iconic tote. Keeping lasting partnerships enables brands to forge deeper ties with their collaborators, while furthering the connection between the two parties in consumers’ minds.

Pairing up
Each year since 2006, Mr. Scott has taken one of his “cheeky,” pop culture-infused designs and used it to give Longchamp’s Le Pliage a new look. Because the leather goods brand and the designer have been working together for a long time, a strong trust has developed, and Mr. Scott is given carte blanche.

In a brand statement, Jean Cassegrain, CEO and the grandson of Longchamp’s founder, said, “Giving artists an outlet to express themselves is a way for Longchamp to step outside its comfort zone.”

Designs over the 10 years have included everything from a poodle in space or zodiac signs to a credit card or tire tracks. Longchamp has created a social video as a retrospective on the decade of designs, animating each bag’s subjects in the film.

The limited-edition for the anniversary features a postcard from Hollywood. On one side is a cartoon depicting a view from atop the Hollywood Hills, looking down on the cinematic city. The reverse shows a handwritten note from Mr. Scott, who says, “Wish you were here. Love, Jeremy.”

Consumers can enter to win the bag via an application on Longchamp’s Facebook page.

Collaborations can sometimes be risky for luxury brands, and half of affluent shoppers say that the biggest risk for a luxury partnership is the potential damage to the brand’s image or reputation, according to a survey from the Luxury Institute.

Overall the study found that most affluent shoppers enjoy brand partnerships, even with the risk. However, luxury marketers should pair up with brands that have the same goals and mindset when seeking partnerships.

Source: https://www.luxurydaily.com/longchamp-looks-back-on-decade-long-jeremy-scott-partnership/

 

September 30, 2015

Ralph Lauren hires Old Navy executive to replace him as CEO

Reuters
By: Siddharth Cavale and Kylie Gumpert
September 29, 2015

American designer Ralph Lauren, who built a fashion powerhouse on luxury designs inspired by country club chic, announced Tuesday he is stepping down as chief executive officer and named the head of Gap Inc’s populist Old Navy brand to the position.

Ralph Lauren Corp, founded by 75-year-old Lauren in 1967, appointed Stefan Larsson, the global president of Gap’s Old Navy division, as CEO effective in November. Lauren will continue to serve as executive chairman and head its design team, the company said in a statement.

Lauren, who got his start designing neckties, plans to stay active at the company and Larsson will report to him.

“When they start designing things I can’t understand, I’ll quit,” Lauren told the New York Times in an interview.

Ralph Lauren shares rose 3.79 percent to $108 in trading after the bell. Gap shares fell 3 percent to $29.30.

The company has been struggling to boost profits as a stronger dollar reduces the value of sales from overseas. Net revenue in its first quarter ended June 27 fell 5 percent, mainly due to currency fluctuations.

Odeon Capital analyst Rick Snyder said the company had grown to a size where it needed more “systems and controls.” The change in CEO “is just a natural progression,” Snyder said.

Milton Pedraza, a fashion industry analyst at the Luxury Institute, said Larsson’s appointment follows a trend of luxury brands hiring leaders from mass-market companies in recent months. He cited the appointment of Grita Loebsack, a former vice president at Unilever Plc, as CEO of Kering’s emerging brands, which include Stella McCartney and Gucci.

Larsson, 41, is credited with reviving sales at Old Navy, successfully implementing a model of offering trendy clothes at low prices.

Annual sales at the division rose 8 percent in 2014 and became Gap’s biggest business. Sales for the division were $6.62 billion, or 40.3 percent of Gap’s total.

Lauren’s fashion empire includes some 25 brands including Polo, Club Monaco and Denim & Supply, and the company makes clothing, accessories, furniture, home decor items and footwear under its labels.

Larsson, a Swede who before joining Gap was global head of sales at Hennes & Mauritz, brings experience of managing a fast fashion business with a supply chains considered to be among the most efficient within the apparel industry.

His appointment would be a good fit for Ralph Lauren which is seeking to reorganize and centralize business units and brands, Snyder said.

“If he comes from a place like H&M, he understands global supply chains and that’s one of the things that Ralph Lauren is trying to implement right now,” Snyder said. “It’s going to be very positive for them.”

Despite the aura of Anglo-Saxon elitism around his company, Lauren was born Ralph Lifshitz in the Bronx in 1939. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Belarus, and he changed his name to Lauren at age 16.

Lauren’s designs drew inspiration from elite and exotic realms including East Coast prepsters, the Wild West, colonists on African safari and czarist Russia. He designed the wardrobe for the 1974 film version of “The Great Gatsby” including a pink suit for star Robert Redford.

The Ralph Lauren Polo shirt, which debuted in 1972, became a signature item for the company with a tiny polo player embroidered on the chest.

His designs have been worn by presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and actor Johnny Depp.

Lauren was also, perhaps surprisingly, influential in the hip hop world. His bright colors and bold clothing became staples for some New York gangs, and rappers such as Kanye West and Lil Wayne have mentioned Lauren and his designs in their rhymes.

The company also said that Jackwyn Nemerov, chief operating officer, would retire in November at which time she will become an adviser to the company.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/30/us-ralph-lauren-ceo-idUSKCN0RT2NO20150930

August 13, 2014

Luxury Retail Summit 2014 New York Sept. 9: St. Regis, MissoniHome, Christie’s Watch Shop, Leading Hotels of the World, Breeders’ Cup, WSJ., Eleven James, Crest and Co.

Luxury Daily
August 13, 2014

Registration is open for the second annual Luxury Retail Summit: Holiday Focus 2014 conference Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014 in New York featuring speakers from St. Regis, MissoniHome, Christie’s Watch Shop, The Leading Hotels of the World, The Breeders’ Cup, Crest and Co., Eleven James, WSJ. magazine, ForbesLife, Bloomberg Pursuits, Style Coalition and leading luxury-focused agencies and market researchers.

This daylong New York event is a must-attend for luxury retailers, luxury brands, publishers, ad agencies and market researchers looking for strategic and tactical advice, tips, case studies and research on luxury retailing, especially in the run-up to the holidays. At this exclusive summit organized by this publication at the National Museum of the American Indian across from Manhattan’s Battery Park downtown, attendees will get to listen and meet with key executives moving the needle for the luxury business including retail, marketing and media. The conference, whose agenda is below, will be limited to only 150 delegates.

“The key point for luxury brands and retailers heading into the holiday season is an eternal truth with a slight qualification: Know your customer – very well,” said Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief of Luxury Daily, New York.

“Today’s luxury shopper is as sharp as a tack, sniffing out quality and value, looking for the unique experience that makes the best memory for self and loved ones,” he said. “With all the noise that the holidays bring, being heard, seen and bought with brand values and integrity intact will be the challenge in the months ahead.”

Retail detail
Attendees to the Luxury Retail Summit will hear how MissoniHome and Christie’s Watch Shop approach luxury retailing, especially as the holidays near.

Also ready to share experiences are senior executives from Starwood Hotels and Resorts’ St. Regis and The Luxury Collection, The Leading Hotels of the World, The Breeders’ Cup, Crest and Co., Eleven James, WSJ. magazine, ForbesLife, Bloomberg Pursuits and Style Coalition.

In addition, market researchers from Wealth-X, Wealth Engine, Shullman Research Center, Unity Marketing, Ipsos MediaCT, YouGov and The Luxury Institute will reveal valuable data, insights and analysis on luxury shoppers and shopping.

Finally, top executives from agencies, marketing service providers and retail consultancies such as RO-NY, STC Associates, Boston Retail Partners, iProspect and McCann Truth Central will debate whether marketing is keeping up with evolving consumer attitudes as online and mobile gain more mindshare.

Attendees will have access to all presentations made at the event.

The event is priced at $695 for the day, which includes breakfast, lunch and cocktails. Refunds will not be given 72 hours before the event or for no-shows on the day of the conference.

For sponsorship, please contact ads@napean.com for prompt attention.

The Luxury Retail Summit: Holiday Focus 2014 is part of this publication’s exclusive summit series including Luxury FirstLook and Luxury Roundtable. The events’ core point of difference is their strong editorial spine with a deep-dive into topics under discussion.

The summit agenda can also be accessed via http://www.luxuryretailsummit.com.

For the entire article click the link:http://www.luxurydaily.com/luxury-retail-summit-2014-new-york-sept-9-st-regis-missonihome-christies-watch-shop-leading-hotels-of-the-world-breeders-cup-wsj-eleven-james-crest-and-co-3/

May 4, 2014

Derek Lam Believes in Fashion for the Masses He’s part of a breed of hot designers making luxury more accessible

By: Emma Bazilian
ADWEEK
May 4, 2014

Derek Lam remembers a time when it would take years before an apparel brand was established enough to spin off a secondary line aimed at catering to the masses.
But Lam, one of the hottest designers around, is not a man who likes to wait.
He is one of a breed of contemporary fashion stars—including Alexander Wang, Jason Wu and Prabal Gurung—for whom accessible luxury is not just an afterthought but part of their DNA.

“Traditionally, the plan would have been to just stick to high-end,” Lam explains one April afternoon at his company headquarters and studio near New York’s Madison Square Park. “But I went into it saying, ‘I want to do as many different levels as possible because I want to reach a wider audience.’ It used to be that designers could sit and wait for the audience to come to them—now, they have to go to the audience.”

Lam’s lower-priced 10 Crosby line bowed in 2011, eight years after his runway debut. Lam made sure to adhere to one of the crucial tenets of a successful diffusion line: maintaining a brand identity. “I think that before, designers would do secondary lines that were maybe more derivative of their main collections,” he says. “I recognized that 10 Crosby couldn’t be just a knockoff of what I was doing [at Derek Lam]. So when we started marketing the line, we built an ideal of this 10 Crosby woman, and that was really key.”

With dresses in the $400 to $700 range, 10 Crosby is not cheap. But compared to the $3,000 to $4,000 dresses in the core Derek Lam line, it’s practically a steal. As a result, 10 Crosby is growing considerably faster than its pricier parent, says Derek Lam International CEO Jan-Hendrik Schlottmann. The number of stores carrying 10 Crosby has increased 150 percent in the last year, and the brand recently expanded into footwear. “I think the overall potential is much larger because you can sell in places where you can’t really sell [the main] collection,” Schlottmann says. As sales of luxury goods have slowed for companies like Louis Vuitton and Gucci, business has been booming further down the price ladder.

Michael Kors, which launched in 1981 and has steadily grown its lower-priced offshoot Michael Michael Kors over the last decade, enjoyed a wildly popular IPO in 2011 and last year racked up $2.2 billion in sales. Kate Spade, which lost some of its luster following a sale to Liz Claiborne in 2006, underwent a major revamp as an aspirational lifestyle brand and is now looking at a near 70 percent year-over-year bump in its stock price, on top of $1.3 billion in sales for 2013. (Incidentally, Liz Claiborne sold its namesake brand and renamed itself Kate Spade & Co.) Meantime, Tory Burch, the decade-old brand rumored to be heading toward its own IPO, is valued at some $3.3 billion.

“A smart designer understands the importance of developing a business that’s profitable but without losing that creative spirit and losing that dream of what the runway is really about,” says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, a research and consulting firm. “They know that they need to often embrace the idea of the secondary lines to help fuel the financing of their main collection.” Consider Victoria Beckham. In 2011, the entertainer-turned-designer added a diffusion line, Victoria Victoria Beckham, to her then two-year-old main collection. Within a year, the success of the secondary label helped put her company in the black for the first time.

Of course, accessible luxury also continues to be an important enterprise for more established brands. Helmut Lang, Catherine Malandrino and Balmain have all launched diffusion lines in recent years, while Valentino has pushed its previously under-the-radar Red Valentino line. Another diffusion makeover is under way at Marc Jacobs. Last year, the designer left his post as creative director at Louis Vuitton to concentrate on both his high-end line and the more youthful Marc by Marc Jacobs, whose sales account for the majority of company revenue.

Another key factor in the growth of this space is the influence of millennials. “Young consumers are looking for quality and design, but they’re also looking for ‘new,’” says Pedraza. “They’re much more open to new and affordable brands than baby boomers.”

Considering their proximity to fashion, consumers are under more pressure to compete in the fashion space. “Even though we say we’re not a class-conscious society, this is a very status-conscious society, and these brands help elevate people who may not have a lot of money but want to show off these accessible luxury brands,” explains Pedraza. “They want that stature that comes with these products as well.”

There can be a downside to becoming too accessible, however. Flooding the market takes away from the feeling of exclusivity that makes luxury brands seem special in the first place. “Ubiquity does breed some backlash,” says Pedraza. “The problem with luxury retail is that you often don’t know where the line is until you’ve crossed it.”

See full article with quotes from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/derek-lam-believes-fashion-masses-157455

 

March 6, 2014

Would You Pay 70 Per Cent More For Chanel?

By: Lauren Milligan
Vogue.com
March 5, 2014

IT’S not just the recession and higher property and living costs that’s making you think it, the price of luxury goods is actually rising. The Wall Street Journal reports that the price of a quilted Chanel bag has on average risen by 70 per cent in the past five years, while Louis Vuitton’s classic Speedy bag is 32 per cent more expensive in America than it was in 2009.

There are several theories behind the increases – which represent a general trend across the luxury goods industry, including watches and jewellery. Some say the prices are intended to help customers differentiate between the high-end brands and their increasingly popular mid-market competitors.

“The more Tory Burches and Michael Kors there are, the more the Chanels and Louis Vuittons will try to price up,” said Milton Pedraza, chief executive of the Luxury Institute, told the WSJ. Others explained that the price increases, although far outpacing inflation, were unavoidable in order to maintain quality – thanks to rising production costs.

Click the link to read the entire article: http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2014/03/05/price-increases-for-luxury-items—chanel-louis-vuitton-bags

January 23, 2014

Three Luxury Myths Killing Your Brand Equity

(NEW YORK) January 23, 2014 –As one the world’s foremost research and consulting companies for top tier luxury brands, Luxury Institute has been privileged to work with the most dynamic brands in the U.S., Europe and Asia.  We often find ourselves engaged in rich dialogue, and healthy debate, with senior executives and top leadership at the world’s greatest luxury firms.

We help iconic brands adapt themselves to compete in the new world where technology, people and product superiority combine to drive success.  Below are three of the biggest myths that we often encounter and our recommendations for how brands can overcome the tendency of destroying their own equity, despite the best of intentions.

Myth #1: You Must Choose One Area of Focus Among Product Leadership, Operational Excellence and Customer Intimacy

Back in 1995, Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema published “The Discipline of Market Leaders” in which the authors addressed the idea of strategic focus, and discouraged attempts to excel on multiple fronts.  The concepts and principles were adapted by top-tier consultants and spread throughout the management ranks of corporations that engaged them, propagating the myth that you have to choose only one area of differentiation.

Today, superior products, efficient operations and brand intimacy are an inseparable trio for building and maintaining a luxury brand. The reality now is that you have to be great at all three, or you are highly disadvantaged.

A clear example of achieving excellence on all three fronts is Bottega Veneta.  The iconic luxury fashion brand has seen a phenomenal sales growth trajectory over the past ten years. It was on the brink of bankruptcy in the late 1990s, and in 2001 was acquired by the company that is now Kering.  Back then, annual sales were around $50 million and the income statement was mired in losses. Today Bottega Veneta’s sales are topping $1 billion.

Bottega Veneta’s management team is best-in-class. They are blessed with a brilliant, authentic designer matched by a management team that is beyond superb. The brand delivers on all three disciplines seamlessly. At Bottega Veneta, brilliant execution delivers a reported profit margin of 32%. Phenomenal sales and profit growth flows from product leadership, operational excellence and customer intimacy that is the envy of any brand. A profoundly personal, humanistic culture translates into the Bottega Veneta brand running on all three disciplines, instead of getting a lift from only one.

Myth #2: A Luxury Brand Must Be Organized As a Hierarchy In Order to Be Effective

At the center of a luxury brand is usually a brilliant innovator and founder whose creative genius is unquestionable. There is also typically a business partner who makes all of the decisions jointly with the founder.

The origin of luxury in Europe has created an industry organizational model that has some of the strictest hierarchies known in the business world. When we visit with senior management teams in Europe, and even at many U.S. firms, the organization is defined as a military style, top-down hierarchy.

Proponents of this model say that luxury brands, unlike brands in any other industry, have lasted hundreds of years–or at least for several decades–so why fix what is not broken?

There are two major reasons why the myth of the luxury brand as a strictly regimented organization must be shattered. The first is demographic in nature. As millennials in the 21-34 age group enter the work force, our research shows that that these younger people are far more idealistic about having meaningful purpose in their work.  They tend to change jobs more frequently and often leave if they are in a structured environment where opportunities to develop and contribute are limited. Author and researcher Daniel Pink says that three things are required in an organization today to retain employees: a meaningful purpose; some degree of autonomy over how they perform their function, and continuous skills growth.

The second reason why rigid hierarchies are ineffective is the new meaning of strategy. The metaphor for a successful brand is not the machine model, but the organic model. There must be a balance of adapting processes to achieve healthy, sustainable growth while adhering to corporate DNA.

Myth #3: Sales Professionals are Anonymous and Robotic Transactors

Luxury sales teams at most brands already have enormous turnover and this is not likely to decrease in organizations that fail to empower associates. Brands must embrace the ‘freedom with boundaries’ approach or watch their associates walk out the door.

While luxury executives say they are sold on the ideas of customer experience and engagement, they are far less enthusiastic about employee experience and engagement.  Most brands will tout the new principles but will resort to giving orders instead of trusting front-line professionals, especially in tough times.

The paradox is that in order to unleash the power of customer relationship building, driven by a customer culture, brands cannot simply task front-line employees with delivering results, excluding them from the “customer” definition. Employees are really internal customers and they should be measured just as carefully. In addition to empowering employees, brands must use innovative education and daily customer and sales associate metrics to improve skills and reinforce the culture daily.

Luxury sales professionals in the future will be treated as artisanal entrepreneurs who are given their own email addresses and digital devices for professional use. They will be given the freedom to innovate in small and large ways daily in order to personalize and customize for the customer

It may be true that many sales associates in a variety of industries will be replaced by technology solutions. However, in luxury, these jobs will be upgraded to deliver the extraordinary customer experiences and build the long-term relationships that brands once took for granted when they first opened their doors.  Innovation will flow from the bottom-up as much as from the top-down.

Conclusion:

Luxury Institute has worked with more than a dozen luxury brands or conglomerates on Customer Culture projects in the past few years.  The improvements are real and deliver powerful results in customer data collection, conversion and retention. Brands have seen retention of employees increase too. Bridging the gap between management, the front line, and the customer may be hard for some executives to swallow or imagine, but that is the future of luxury.

The luxury industry is very much a darling of Wall Street today, and with good reason. As the global population of affluent consumers grows, luxury is in for a good ride indeed. Yet, these myths are preventing many luxury brands from achieving significantly better sales and profit growth and could potentially drive many established companies out of business.

About the Luxury Institute (www.luxuryinstitute.com)
The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers globally about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Customer Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

 

January 6, 2014

But It Doesn’t Look Like a Marriott: Marriott International Aims to Draw a Younger Crowd

By Brooks Barnes
New York Times
January 4, 2014

J.W. Marriott Jr., the 81-year-old chairman of Marriott International, flew to London in September to inspect his company’s new jewel: Edition, a sumptuous boutique hotel intended to anchor a new 100-city chain — the next W, if Marriott has its way. But Mr. Marriott did not stay overnight at the London Edition, as the new property is known, with its laser-lighted nightclub and guest-room paintings of women wearing toilet-paper turbans. He bedded down at Grosvenor House, one of the company’s more traditional luxury hotels.

“This is what I know, but I’m the past,” he said, sitting in the old-fashioned floral splendor of a Grosvenor corner suite. Edition, conceived in partnership with the boutique hotelier Ian Schrager, is about the Marriott company’s future. “We’re trying to get some flash,” Mr. Marriott said. He rose wearily from his chair. “I’m off to see the flash.”

Marriott is big. The company, based in Bethesda, Md., operates 660,000 rooms under 16 brands, including Courtyard, Renaissance and Ritz-Carlton; more than 800 new Marriott-operated properties are in the works worldwide.

Click the link to read the entire article which includes a quote from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/05/business/marriott-international-aims-to-draw-a-younger-crowd.html?pagewanted=print

 

November 28, 2013

Luxury Daily’s Luxury Women to Watch 2014

By Staff Reports
Luxury Daily
November 27, 2013

Tip a hat or nod respectfully to the 25 women on Luxury Daily’s Luxury Women to Watch 2014 list, a roll call of the some of the smartest women set to make a difference in luxury marketing and retail in 2014.

These executives share traits in common: dedication to craft, consumer focus, leadership potential, ambition, educator and exemplar. And yet, for all the plaudits, these women know that the journey is won step by step, with many miles to go before true gender parity is a reality in the luxury business.

“Women are extremely underrepresented at the highest ranks of luxury companies but fill the majority of positions at every other level,” said Meera Raja, analyst at The Luxury Institute, New York.

This honor list, the second since its debut last year, is geared to spotting future occupants of the C-suite.

Honor list
Executives on the list represent brands and retailers such as Rosewood Hotels, David Yurman, Bang & Olufsen, Lexus, FHRI Hotels and Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton Co., Savelli, Pratesi Linens, H. Stern, La Prairie, Estee Lauder Cos., Moët Hennessy USA and Michael Kors.

Also on the list are executives from agencies, publishers, researchers, consultancies and service providers such as Art Luxe Style, Avista Partners, Brenes Co., ePrize, ShopIgniter, Gallant Media Group, Bluemoon Works, Luxury Institute, Interbrand, Carrot Creative, Hearst Design Group and Style Coalition.

It is a field of strong women with stronger convictions.

“So much of the luxury business is creating personalized experiences and I think women can think creatively to develop them,” said Nancy Hubbell, prestige communications manager at Lexus, Torrence, CA.

Judging process
Picking the honorees was not simple, given the sheer number of submissions. Luxury Daily invited readers to send in their nominations. The Luxury Daily team also had its own slate of candi¬dates based on regular interactions with luxury marketers.

Once the deadline expired, the Luxury Daily team judged the nominees on their merits and narrowed the list to 25 women who showed the most promise to push the envelope in 2014. All judging was based purely on merit and the potential to make a difference.

The list’s responses reflected the pragmatic approach to luxury marketing and retail, balancing both art and science across all channels including online, mobile and especially the mainstay, retail stores.

“Luxury retail settings are modern art galleries,” said Rebecca Miller, New York-based executive vice president of Pratesi Linens.

MANY THANKS to Michelle Nance for putting together this Clas¬sic Guide. Also, thank you to Jen King, Joe McCarthy and Sarah Jones for their nominations and judging as well as the reporting on Luxury Daily.

Please read this guide and reach out to the women honored. As role models, they pave the way for more women aspiring to not only enter luxury marketing and retail, but also aiming for the top.

London-based Rebecca Robins, Interbrand director for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, said it best when she quoted the last words of the late British poet Seamus Heaney: “Noli timere.” Translated from the Latin: “Don’t be afraid.”

Please click here to download Luxury Daily’s Luxury Women to Watch 2014

http://www.luxurydaily.com/luxury-daily%E2%80%99s-luxury-women-to-watch-2014-2/print/

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