A Brave New World For Luxury

A Brave New World For Luxury

Open for business signs are beginning to appear all over the globe in countries that were literally down for the count the last few months.  Depending on the locale, commerce is either opening quickly or very cautiously as governments and businesses attempt to balance public safety and economics. 

For those businesses who serve wealthier clientele, the outlook reveals some interesting developments post COVID-19.   Experts who study the luxury market forecasting both challenges and opportunities for luxury brands who are currently reevaluating their maneuverability to recapture an audience who have developed new purchasing perspectives.  

In addition to the photography lessons, I have been devouring a range of reading material exploring concepts and ideas that can be applied to Beau Satchelle.  Forbes Magazine had an article written by Stéphane JG Girod,“Five New Trends That Will Reshape Luxury After COVID-19”  posted April 19, 2020, discussing potential developments that will impact the luxury market.   Although the author’s subject leaned more toward global luxury titans, rest assured, the points will certainly impact small luxury businesses as well. 

Always wanting to bring our readers who follow our journey along for the ride, I thought it would be interesting to address his 5 inflection points and its significance on Beau Satchelle.

1.     Adapt to the Next Phase of Globalization – the writer spoke about how the pandemic uncovered critical weaknesses within global supply chains with regards to life essential medical supplies and pharmaceuticals for battling the pandemic.  Unfortunately, this breakdown also impacted most industries, including luxury sectors who have relied on sourcing materials from China which shut down all its manufacturing once the virus overtook its citizenry.   The combination of dependency on global sourcing from China (and other low-cost countries) and consumers increasing preferences in buying luxury locally have companies formulating new strategies that could change the landscape of manufacturing origin and reshaping the fortification of inventory in specific regions.

– Beau Satchelle has successfully limited its purchasing from China manufacturers due to our commitment to investing in exceptional premier hides and materials, including exotics.  We have been able to purchase mainly within the U.S. (exception are some incomparable hides sourced at international tanneries and top of the line products such as Tigre thread or RiRi zippers from our European vendors).  We still continue to seek out sources in our backyard, such as a Michigan tool-maker we are in talks with to produce our bag hardware.  

2.     The growing trend of breaking with showing collections during the structured seasons –  According to luxury forecasters, the large bi-annual runway fashions events were dying a slow death prior to the pandemic with regards to ecological reasons and economic contradictions with the buying public.   For instance, designer houses Saint Laurent and Armani made the decisions to reject the fashion season calendar and roll out their collections on their own timelines.  Or as the author mentioned, Moncler Genius showing eight different designer collections spread throughout the 2020 year.  Pre- pandemic, Baselworld the premier event for watch designers, experienced the unfortunate pullout of heavy hitters Rolex, Patek Phillippe, Chopard, Chanel, and Tudor who will lean towards more private roll-outs to their clients and controlled exhibits.  It has now gone into hyper-speed, as companies will rely on more digitalization strategies to woo the attention of health, ecological and sustainability conscious consumers who have become super savvy at ordering online in the past months. 

– Due to our commitment to serving clients interested in bespoke accessories, we are fortunately not tied to fashion calendars.  We have participated in runway shows with our prototype leather handbags, yet because each bag is designed with classic lines and timelessness in mind, clothing designers can pair our bags with their pieces seamlessly.    

3.     Focus on Meaningful Luxury – this pandemic will see a growing shift in mindset among younger consumers especially with regards to consumerism consumption.  The author suggests that luxury brands will have to focus on experiences, storytelling around purpose and values, heritage, and authenticity to remain relevant to new and current discerning customers.

– We’re still building heritage as a rather new player in the luxury industry, yet Beau Satchelle’s story is wrapped in authenticity and living our values.  To create and build designs from a self-taught leather artisan speaks to our passion for American craftsmanship.  Our leather hand-stitched bags uphold the values of sustainability as our bags will last beautifully for generations.

4.      Embrace New Business Models – the author reminds the reader that industries such as automobiles and high-end watches that have a booming second-hand model forecasts that consumers will turn to similar business models of renting high fashion apparel and accessories to reduce waste in fashion.

– As mentioned above, the business model we stand by is our bags become legacy pieces that will stand the test of time.  The technique of saddle-stitching allows a bag to never unravel and leather, with care, will outlast many textiles used in the fashion industry and will be more useful as a heritage gift to children or grandchildren. 

5.     Leverage Business Agility – the pandemic really shook most companies who found themselves quite vulnerable for weeks of systematic risk and uncertainty.  To combat this, companies will need to reconstruct leadership and management systems to be nimble enough to make decisions faster and have the ability to shift resources, stocks, and inventories.  A Post-pandemic strategy will institute a customer-centric game plan for communicating reassurance during a future crisis whether global or company focused.

-Agility, fortunately, was not our problem.  We have enough back-up vendors that we didn’t skip a beat with our ordering processes.  Our manufacturing one-offs, keep us low in inventory.  We, more-so had to be patient, understandably, as many of our potential clients put discretionary spending on hold.  However, we never stopped maintaining our presence on our social media platforms and will continue to touch base personally with our networks of clients and vendors.  As one of our main demographics, the baby boomers have quickly become more trusting in buying online sight unseen, we are aware that our ability in working online with clients while maintaining white-glove service, will become even more prevalent moving forward.

The next few months and truthfully years, the luxury industry will be navigating uncharted waters as conscious social distancing become the norm driving digital communication to be the primary method for luxury consumers.  We’re living in interesting times.

Stay safe.   – AJ

Thank you to Forbes for the insightful content:

Forbes.com – Five Inflection Points That Will Reshape Luxury with Covid-19

Hat Tip to the following Photographers.

Pexels – Header Picture (Sending Beau Satchelle love to New York’s recovery)

HeungSoon – Needle and Thread

Photo Mix – Smartphone and Credit Card

Al Leino – Made in China Ball

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