Lessons From Louis Vuitton, For Every Fashion Designer

Dear Fashion Designer, Tips From Louis Vuitton ‘s Business Model You May Want to Deploy.

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton Flagship Store. (Source: Louis Vuitton)

Louis Vuitton shortened to LV was founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton Malletier in Paris, France. The fashion house and luxury retail brand are among one of the world’s most valuable brands in the world. It was reported to be worth $28.8 Billion by Forbes as at May 2017. It is also part of LVMH – a multinational Luxury Goods Conglomerate with product categories including Fashion, Leather Goods, Watches, Jewellery, Wines, Spirits, Perfumes, and Cosmetics. Housing brands like Loewe, Berluti, Fendi, Celine, Emilio Pucci, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Kenzo, Marc Jacobs, Rimowa, Guerlain, Bvlgari, Moet & Chandon, Hennessy, Don Perignon, and others.

History of Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton

Trunks, Luggages & Suitcases. (Source – Louis Vuitton)

In 1837, at the age of 16, Louis Vuitton travelled to Paris by Foot and started apprenticing at Monsieur Marechal Atelier. In the 18th Century, horse-drawn carriages, boats, and trains were the main modes of transportation. At the time, baggage was handled roughly and travellers called upon craftsmen to pack as well as protect their individual possessions. Before you know it, he quickly became a valued craftsman at the atelier by travellers who called upon his skills to custom design boxes and trunks according to their personal preference. This was when he then decided he wanted to become a trunk master and develop a career in an artisanal industry. 17 years later, he left to open his own legendary workshop Asnières where leather goods and special orders are still being designed and created for the heritage brand’s clients around the world to date.

Louis Vuitton

Revolutionary Tumbler Lock on Luggage. (Source – Louis Vuitton)

The Heritage brand then went on to revolutionize luggage locks in 1886 when Louis Vuitton’s son Georges Vuitton invented “The Tumbler Lock”.  The unpickable lock helped Royal and Elite travellers transport their valuables inside flat trunks and wardrobes which often attracted burglars. The patented ingenious closing system literally turned travel trunks into real treasure chests and it is still being used until today due to its indisputable effectiveness. Eventually, the brand who established its reputation for making expensive and secure luggage then branched into Luxury clothing

So, Aside Innovation what else can Emerging Fashion Designers learn from Louis Vuitton’s Business Model?

Even though many people believe Louis Vuitton is extremely expensive and unattainable, thanks to its perceived Brand Identity and Image, it’s actually very accessible nowadays compared to before. Just imagine in 1977 there were only 2 Stores in the world and they were both in Paris, France. However, in 2017 there are over 450 stores in 50 countries around the world.


Louis Vuitton

The Pyramid Model Adapted from Louis Vuitton Business Model created by Mariam Tijani

The popularity and growth of Louis Vuitton can be credited to their use of the “Pyramid Model” which is delicately being used to sell to the masses while still remaining exclusive to the rich.

Top Level of the Pyramid

Louis Vuitton

Luxury Car interior with Luggage Pieces. (Source – Louis Vuitton)

“Couture” is about Bespoke and Customisation for the Elites such as the Royal Family, Celebrities, and other Wealthy Clients who desire timeless pieces. Their demands which can range from Trunks, Pieces of Luggage, Home or Car interior design and Jewellery tend to be exclusive just for them and as a result, limited amounts are produced. Some other products which can be personalized include Perfume Travel Case, Monogram on leather goods like wallet, key holder, handbag, and travel bag. This is actually where the luxury image is built in the mind of its consumers.

Middle Level of the Pyramid

Louis Vuitton

 Jacket. (Source – Louis Vuitton).

“Up-Market” are affluent and high-income earners who like relatively expensive, well-made and beautiful pieces readily available either Online or Offline at Louis Vuitton stores. They can also be regarded as designer lovers and like to go along with current fashion trends but also like Classic pieces too. Such pieces include Ready to Wear Clothing i.e. Jackets, Coats & Dresses; Leather Goods i.e. Handbags and Shoes; Jewellery, Timepieces, and Luggage.

Lowest level of the Pyramid

Louis Vuitton

Entry level Products such as Scarf, Man Purse, Slip-On, & Belt. (Source – Louis Vuitton)

“Aspirational” also known as Entry-level or Affordable products is the Cash Cow of Louis Vuitton. This is where the majority of the brands’ earnings come from and also license deals. For example Luxoticca, the leader in premium, luxury, and sports eyewear designs and manufactures Louis Vuitton Sunglasses which is then mass-produced.  Other reflected glory Product categories include Umbrella, Wallets, Scarves, Shawls, Belts, Perfume, Keychains, Sneakers,  Phone Cases, Cardholders, and Perfume. This enables consumers who aspire to live a wealthy lifestyle get a chance to get on the luxury ladder and the brand is able to leverage on it by using “Desire Marketing strategy”.

Even at Entry level, Louis Vuitton never makes it obvious just anybody can afford their products even though it is now widely accessible and grabbed the attention of Millennials worldwide especially within the Chinese and Black Communities.

Inspiration for Emerging Fashion Designers

Louis Vuitton

Signature Print on Bag also on Scarf which then serves as an Entry-Level Product for an Aspirational Consumer. (Source – Louis Vuitton)

As an emerging fashion brand, you should take inspiration from Louis Vuitton Pyramid business model by having high-end, middle range and entry-level products in your collection. This will need to be considered during range planning. For example, if you have a signature print in your collection why not think about entry-level products which it can be used for such as Scarf, bandana or even a shawl. It all depends on your category of product and target consumer.

Louis Vuitton and many other fashion houses that we have come to know today have been in business for a very long time and there is nothing better than learning from the best.

Now that you know the secret of their wealth, what do you think? Will you consider applying this business model to your fashion business? Let me know your thoughts by commenting below and also share the article with anyone you know who might benefit from it.

Culled from: Mariam Tijani’s blog

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