What Makes Luxury, ‘Luxury’?
We are all about luxury purses at Lux Second Chance, so that’s exactly what we are going to explore in this month’s blog—what exactly makes them 'luxury'? What do luxury brands have that others don’t and why are they just oh-so covetable?! Whether we collect handbags or simply swoon over a passerby’s Chanel Jumbo slung across their shoulder, there are so many reasons why we simply can’t get enough.
It turns out it’s not just the elegant and chic purse designs we shell out the big bucks for, it’s the brand. So with that said, what do these brands do to insure we are hooked? Let’s find out!
The first attribute in common with the most famous luxury brands out there is the connection to heritage. This connection allows us to better understand the product and the story behind the product. When we know the story behind something we automatically value its existence more, creating a deeper connection for us as consumers. We not only buy a product but into a fantasy world that can be anything from glamorous, edgy, and romantic, to even rebellious. If you think about it, dates, places, and founding characters are all emphasized with famous fashion houses. Take Chanel for example, without any initial research you will more than likely know these facts about the brand. Chanel was founded in 1910 in Paris – more specifically, at its location of 31 rue Cambon. Its founder, Coco Chanel, had a ‘rags to riches’ story; a young girl raised by nuns in an orphanage to a style icon revered for her simple yet sophisticated designs that liberated women.
Through intricate campaigns, branding, and design these brands capture all of these characteristics and sell us a story while we barely realize it.
How exclusive can you get? The original basis of having luxury is to possess something exclusive that not many can have. Luxury brands use this ‘limited’ strategy in more ways than one. Limited can be in the quantity made of a product, the materials used, the places it can be bought, the amount of time the product is available for purchase, and who is associated with the brand. This is how luxury differentiates themselves from other markets.
The first and most obvious tactic is physically limiting where one can purchase the product. Many designers such as Céline still opt for an in-store only purchase and never sell online. Others prefer for a less aggressive stance and create a ‘concept’ of exclusiveness by only running advertisements in magazine of a certain caliber such as Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, etc. Other brands may approach exclusivity by hosting exclusive launches or shows, limiting their audience to a hand-picked crowd of chosen people.
Hermès has topped the charts for all of these tactics by ensuring customers are only allowed to purchase their coveted Birkin handbag after creating an acceptable customer profile! They use wait lists, or as they call it ‘long term building profiles’, before you can get your hands on one. This also allows the brand to choose whom their product is associated with; hand picking the people that represent and embody their brand. They also combine the element of exclusivity by using rare materials like Himalayan crocodile skin, white gold, diamonds, etc. in their designs. If this isn’t the ultimate definition of exclusive, we don’t know what is!
Higher revenue equals a higher level of research and development. These brands can afford to explore, test, discover, and design the most unique products and options for their customers.
Check out our last month’s blog post where we discussed some of the most unique and innovative leathers sourced to make some of our favorite handbags. Brands such as Louis Vuitton topped the innovation list with their environmentally friendly invention of the Epi leather. This leather was created for durable alternative solution for genuine leather as it is derived from plant juice.
Innovation also can come in different forms, such as creating innovative experiences for the customer and digital innovation. Some brands believe innovation and luxury are uncomfortable companions since most brands are rooted with such strong heritage ideals. However, Burberry has proved everyone wrong this past year. This traditionally British brand has taken the lead in luxury digital innovation through digital campaigns, smart personalization, inventory sharing, and the latest ‘See Now Buy Now’ ecommerce integration. Burberry proved traditional luxury wrong by becoming the number one luxury retail brand of 2016! Go innovation!
Last but not least, the undoubtable characteristic we expect from our luxury purses is quality that is second to none. The quality lies in the details, the time put into the craft, and the overall experience. We all notice the impeccable stitched seam on our handbags or the carefully placed symmetrical logos of your favorite Louis Vuitton monogrammed purse. These details are not arbitrary, these are a result of an artisan quality product with endless hours and years invested into creating this level of detail and expertise.
Other elements of quality that we expect are not directly linked to the finishes of the products we purchase, but other elements such as the level of customer service offered at the point of purchase and beyond. Going above and beyond is essential, whether that is creating an unforgettable in-store experience or the level of knowledge provided when in need of assistance.
The final piece of the puzzle is the quality of how they merge all of these attributes we discussed together, to create one flawless story and experience for the customer. The feeling of heritage, notion of exclusivity, level of innovation and the quality of the product all have to merge as one. When this comes together in a high quality, luxury brand, there is no doubt we all want a piece of a flawless fantasy. And let's face it, who doesn’t want to be a part of a good story!