“I trust the next chapter because I know the author”
Without a doubt, we are experiencing a momentous election event that has the entire world, literally holding its collective breath as we await the election results. No matter the outcome, Beau Satchelle has chosen to face the future with hopefulness in contributing value and sharing the beauty within the world of bespoke leather craftsmanship. Our five and half year journey, has opened up doors to more opportunities and allowed us to cross paths with dynamic and remarkable individuals affirming for our team that our chosen lane of luxury was authentic at the right time in our lives. As challenging as this year has been for any of our colleagues in retail, we are excited to be turning the corner and anticipate 2021 as a pivotal year in our growth.
Organizing my older blogs on my laptop last week, I happened upon a 2017 blog focusing on elements that we as a small luxury business can gain from studying 5 Star hotels and wanted to revisit the topic 3 years later. Our business mentors advise us to never limit ourselves to learn just from our competitors but examine industries outside of high-end fashion retailers.
Although, many designers and artists happily focus on building their art from a place of love and from life, to maintain a successful business, creators must understand the rules and norms that it takes to build a luxury business. Using successful components in unrelated industries could very well assist in propelling an emerging business to find space among the top designers.
Travel is one of my first loves and is an industry where I seek inspiration in uncovering ultimate white-glove service. I recently watched a documentary on the owners took a shuttered bank and renovated it into a stunning 5-Star hotel located in Belfast, Ireland named ‘The Merchant Hotel’ which offers guests a selection of either striking art deco designed rooms or decadent Victorian Rooms harking back to a more classical period. What is more impressive is the work and dedication that goes on behind the scenes to ensure guests’ stay or a scheduled event is seamless and effortless. The Merchant’s global awards are indeed well earned! From management to employees, the culture of quality service is quite fascinating as each department’s standards are extraordinary high and the amenities are thoughtful and memorable (from hiring their chauffeured driven Rolls Royce Phantom to over top Christmas themed decorations and events)
The Merchant Hotel (closed as of this posting due to the pandemic) is an example of luxury brands ability to stand the test of time even while navigating through tests of their own whether that be handling Covid-19, rollercoaster economies, events of violence from terrorism and war, etc. just by being rooted in practices that keep their brand strong.
So how do these same values that these enterprises remain grounded in, translate into our rather young luxury leather accessories business?
The luxury lifestyle space has been dramatically affected since March of this year, yet for decision-makers, conveying trust and protecting clients well being while simultaneously striving for perfection. What we’ve learned by studying the Merchant Hotel:
1. Consistent Management and Upward Trajectory for Staff – in a nutshell, customers demand steadiness when it comes to staffing. The connection that customers have to the employees has a direct impact on that experience. Consistent, great general managers who understand that their customers are who they hire and retain make a world of difference as to how guests are treated. Although Beau Satchelle consists of a small team, our value is to continuously train and empower our artisans and promote our support team.
2. Being Financially Sound – Understanding and capitalizing on your profit areas, securing the right investors and partners passionate about your brand,. As we grow, we’re fine-tuning collaborations with the right industry partners critical in building our luxury brand. We strategically look for manufacturers and designers who obsess over quality and authenticity when it comes to craftsmanship
3. Training and Scaling Service – setting high standards and training staff to live its vision accordingly is critical for the standard-bearer hotels. Being a luxury hand-stitched brand, living our vision of striving for perfection with our leather goods and excelling in customer service is our North Star.
4. Not chasing Trends – Too much technology can actually do more harm to an elegant 5-Star hotel. A delicate balance is performed in perhaps not offering their guests elements that could contradict their vision (i.e. a hotel room technology-laden versus just a well place light switch). Due to our commitment to the tradition of saddle stitching, our products stay in that lane: elegant yet well built. One area where we have embraced technology’s influence is creating products that provide customized housing capabilities for tech gadgets especially chargers for cell phones and tablets.
5. A Sense of Self – Staying true to who you are. The guests of these hotels appreciate that authenticity and flock to these hotels for that reason. For our company, our truth is to never compete with mass-market handbags. We prefer to offer exclusivity and build our bespoke leather goods with premium and exotic leathers.
6. Deep Understanding of Current and Emerging Consumer – Although these hotels’ traditional customers are older, acquiring younger clients by way of marketing their storied history as an experience itself allows these hotels to again stay true to who they are. Our main demographic being middle-aged, professional women who have all the name brand designers but yearn for different. Our niche is offering luxury accessories that are generational and timeless.
7. Location – Hotels and real estate are the ultimate partners when it comes to the success of these grand hotels. The article does caution that because of their prime location positioning this gives these properties major advantages in endurance over time. Location for Beau Satchelle has given us an advantage with our products being produced in the Motor City as our backdrop. It gives our brand an allure in a city known for its manufacturing. Detroit’s luring VC’s, realtors, brand retailers, all wanting a piece of a city’s dramatic turnaround. It has been exciting to be a part of this rediscovering and showing that luxury can be manufactured in an urban location.
The insight gained from understanding that staying in your lane as a brand and offering the absolute best in your space builds a loyal customer following.
This year has allowed us to focus clearly on some of the basic values we believe our most important in life – health, family, integrity, contribution. As a bespoke brand, those values are the foundation in offering quality, beautiful, timeless leather goods, and accessories. -AJ
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