What is a luxury product? How does one become a luxury brand? Everyone has a different answer.
Throughout this year, a large number of international luxury brand executives have come to the China market. Luxeplace.com had the opportunity to have in-depth discussions with them, listening to their interpretations of luxury from different perspectives and positions. They shared their first-hand experiences on how to build a luxury brand, and these insights are believed to provide valuable inspiration for the upgrading of Chinese brands.
This article selects 16 quotes from 16 executives of luxury brands, covering various fields such as watches, jewelry, menswear, sports cars, leather goods, and fine spirits.
Jean-Marc Loubier, Delvaux CEO
“To grow into an internationally leading luxury brand, having exceptionally high product quality is a fundamental requirement. However, having quality alone does not make people yearn for it; we also need a visually expressive and captivating appearance. But things that capture attention are often short-lived, so we further enrich its depth of content.”
“Delvaux positions itself in the luxury segment, and we intend to stay in that position. The key is to find touchpoints that emotionally connect with people, but that doesn’t mean we will lower prices.”
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Belgian luxury leather goods brand Delvaux‘s entry into China. In late July, the brand held an immersive interactive art exhibition in Beijing to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Marguerite’s birth.
Luxeplace.com had the opportunity to interview Delvaux’s Global CEO, Jean-Marc Loubier. He shared insights on how to establish Delvaux as the only luxury brand from Belgium and his vision for Delvaux’s positioning and future.
For more details and the full interview, please refer to: Luxe.CO Exclusive | Delvaux CEO: Does a luxury brand need an “it bag”?
Christophe Artaux, Qeelin CEO
“We are in the process of creating a Chinese brand in the global luxury jewelry arena, and we hope it resonates with consumers worldwide. This is a very new endeavor, and we can’t simply follow an existing positioning. Western international jewelry brands are already very established, and traditional Chinese jewelry brands have a significant market. We stand in between these two worlds, blending contemporary Chinese culture with global diversity.”
“We’ve noticed that all successful brands have a highly recognizable flagship product.”
In July of this year, Qeelin hosted the “Qeelin Miracle Garden” private jewelry exhibition in Shanghai. This event marked the first large-scale event the brand has organized in recent years.
Luxeplace.com took this opportunity to interview the brand’s CEO, Christophe Artaux. During the interview, he shared insights on how to establish a unique positioning for Qeelin, create highly recognizable products, and build a luxury jewelry brand that combines both Eastern and Western cultures.
Wilhelm Schmid, A.Lange & Söhne CEO
“Our primary goals are: understanding who owns A. Lange & Söhne watches, how A. Lange & Söhne can enhance its service standards, and improve its communication methods. Our ultimate goal is to cultivate a culture of high-end watchmaking in China.”
At the 2023 “Watches and Wonders” Shanghai Haute Horlogerie Exhibition, A. Lange & Söhne, a high-end German watch brand under the Swiss Richemont Group, made its first-ever release of the new Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar watch in platinum 950. The brand’s Global CEO, Wilhelm Schmid, attended the event.
Taking this opportunity, Luxeplace.com conducted an exclusive interview with Wilhelm Schmid. In recent years, A. Lange & Söhne’s visibility in China has been steadily increasing, and he shared his insights on high-end watchmaking, as well as the brand’s goals, insights, and strategies in the Chinese market.
Georges A. Kern, Breitling CEO
“(…) there is a universal desire among individuals to acquire luxury goods, the luxury industry is the real world. Even in the face of global uncertainties, people want to enjoy life and indulge in the finer things. Luxury is like caffeine, often provoking impulsive moments of purchase. Think about it, why would you need a piece of jewelry or a watch? Nobody needs these things, but everybody wants them.”
“I believe that Breitling customers are primarily drawn to the brand’s attitude, seeking a “cool and relax alternative” to the very conservative and traditional brands which are all there.”
In July of this year, Georges A. Kern, the Global CEO of the Swiss independent watch brand Breitling, embarked on his first visit to China since the pandemic and granted an exclusive interview to Luxeplace.com.
With over two decades of experience in the watch industry, Kern has been the Global CEO of Breitling since 2017. He shared his insights into luxury, how to build a successful watch brand, and expressed confidence in the Chinese market. During the interview, he also discussed the brand’s strategies and plans for the future in the Chinese market.
For more details and the full interview, please refer to: Luxe.CO Exclusive | Breitling CEO: Chinese Consumers Rarely Buy Brands That Are Not Very Successful Outside of China
Catherine Rénier, Jaeger-LeCoultre CEO
“I have worked at Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, where the focus was on craftsmanship and creativity. Continuously conveying the brand’s unique spirit to the public is a goal that Jaeger-LeCoultre is committed to as well.”
“For watchmaking, in addition to technical expression, emotional connection and artistic expression are also crucial.”
Catherine Rénier, the Global CEO of the Swiss luxury watch brand Jaeger-LeCoultre, lived in Hong Kong for ten years and has traveled to approximately 50 cities in China. She is also the first female leader in the industry to hold the position of CEO at a major luxury watch brand.
In August, during an interview with Luxeplace.com, she shared her insights into high-end watchmaking and engaged in an in-depth discussion on topics such as the opportunities and challenges in the Chinese market.
For more details and the full interview, please refer to: Luxeplace Exclusive | Catherine Rénier, CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre: Emotional Connection and Artistic Expression are Crucial for Watches
Sonia Carpentier, PIAGET China Regional CEO
“I believe the jewelry and watch industry is a truly wonderful field; it always represents a moment of happiness worth celebrating. Jewelry and watches are a way to express one’s personality. They have their own language; even if you don’t communicate verbally with someone, you can often gather a lot of information from the jewelry and watches they wear. For example, if I wear a ring on my index finger today, it signifies my desire to convey confidence and energy to the world.”
Swiss jewelry and watch brand PIAGET is the official partner and designated jewelry brand of the Shanghai International Film Festival.
On the occasion of the opening of this year’s Shanghai International Film Festival, Sonia Carpentier, the newly appointed China Regional CEO of PIAGET, granted an interview to Luxeplace.com. Carpentier has been residing in China since her appointment in August 2022, and she shared her understanding of the Chinese market over these ten months, as well as her observations on the jewelry and watch industry.
Hélène Poulit-Duquesne, Boucheron Global CEO
“While business data, brand development, and sales scale are all important to me, I believe that the foundation of building a brand must be rooted in values, a mission, and a vision, with business being the outcome of all these elements.”
Hélène Poulit-Duquesne, the Global CEO of the French luxury jewelry brand Boucheron, arrived in China in March of this year. During her visit, she inspected the brand’s boutiques in Beijing and Shanghai and also granted an interview to Luxeplace.com
In the interview, she emphasized the importance of brand building and shared her insights on the art of jewelry as well as her views on different distribution channels, both online and offline.
Sabina Belli, Pomellato CEO
“There is one paradox that is very linked to our industry. Luxury is that luxury has a time that is much longer than business and return on investments, because all luxury brands have been built through the years, through the centuries with a long path to convincing the client that they were worth that money.”
In April of this year, the Italian luxury jewelry brand Pomellato hosted the “Milan ‘Art’ World · Chengdu Art Forum” in Chengdu. The brand’s CEO, Sabina Belli, attended the event and granted an exclusive interview to Luxeplace.com.
During the interview, she shared her perspective on jewelry and luxury and emphasized the unique significance of jewelry to women. She also discussed how the brand plans to communicate with consumers in the Chinese market.
For more details and the full interview, please refer to: Why are Women Buying Pomellato? | Interview with Sabina Belli
Sarah Rotheram, House of Creed CEO
“We are a luxury fragrance house, and our positioning in the luxury sector is rooted in quality, just like other luxury brands in various fields who all pursue the highest quality. This is what we do.
Sourcing high-quality, unique ingredients has always been a part of the CREED artistry and sets us apart from other brands. It means we need to search globally for individual growers and collaborate with them to obtain first-hand, top-quality crops.”
In June of this year, the French luxury conglomerate Kering announced that its beauty division, Kering Beauté, had acquired full ownership of the British salon fragrance brand House of Creed in an all-cash deal. This marked the first acquisition transaction by Kering Beauté since its establishment in February of this year.
In August, Sarah Rotheram, the CEO of House of Creed, visited China for the first time since the pandemic, and she granted an interview to Luxeplae.com.
As the CEO of the largest independent brand in the global high-end fragrance market, Rotheram shared her understanding and perspective on luxury fragrances, why the brand can position itself as luxury, and the brand’s strategy in the Chinese market.
Marc Chaya, Maison Francis Kurkdjian Brand CEO and Co-Founder
“We’ve always believed that giving you what you want is not true luxury; giving you the unexpected, uplifting you, surprising you, and making you feel confident and beautiful is the result of creativity.”
“Luxury brands in the leather goods sector attract consumers because of their craftsmanship and design, which are the results of creativity, historical heritage, elegance, beauty, and intricate craftsmanship. The same applies to the fragrance industry. The cacophony of external voices has made people forget that the essence and most important aspect of perfume is what’s inside the bottle.”
In August of this year, Marc Chaya, the CEO and Co-Founder of Maison Francis Kurkdjian, the French haute couture fragrance brand under the LVMH Group, came to China to attend the launch event of the new 724 perfume series and granted an exclusive interview to Luxeplace.com
During the interview, he emphasized the brand’s positioning as a “luxury fragrance house” and shared how he and the brand’s other co-founder and perfumer, Francis Kurkdjian, collaborated to create a luxury fragrance brand. He also revealed the brand’s future plans in the Chinese market.
For more details and the full interview, please refer to: Luxeplace Exclusive Interview | CEO of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Under LVMH Group
Stefano Canali, CANALI CEO
“So the good taste, the quality coming from the Italian heritage, and the ability to craft a high-quality product. If you put these features together, you end up having something unique that is very much about the Made in Italy concept that Italian brands have been renowned for worldwide for many decades now.”
“It’s very interesting to highlight the fact that the Made in Italy concept itself is evolving. Made in Italy used to be associated with high-quality, luxurious, and stylish garments. But according to the results of our OEF and PEF methodologies and measurements, Made in Italy is now evolving toward a concept of sustainability.”
In July of this year, the Italian luxury men’s fashion brand CANALI launched its latest sustainable project, the CAre Project. Luxeplace.com took this opportunity to interview the brand’s CEO, Stefano Canali.
“Italian craftsmanship” has become a symbol of luxury to a large extent. As the third-generation heir of the Canali family, he has inherited the pursuit of Italian craftsmanship from his predecessors. At the same time, he continues to explore new meanings of Italian craftsmanship. During the interview, he also shared his insights into the evolution of men’s fashion.
For more details and the full interview, please refer to: LuxePlace Exclusive Interview with CEO | Third Generation Heir of Canali Family Talks about Italian Craftsmanship and Sustainability in Men’s Fashion
Giuseppe Cattaneo, Ferrari President of Greater China
“Today, if an ultra-luxury car fails to convey emotion and value, it won’t be appealing to customers. Distinguishing itself from practical cars and other competitors, Ferrari’s greatest feature lies in its powerful emotional appeal, especially how it can evoke emotional resonance among various customer segments. We deeply understand that different people have different lifestyles, and they perceive Ferrari emotionally in distinct ways. Accordingly, we employ different brand strategies to engage with customers based on their diverse emotional perceptions.”
“If I were to write a formula for an ultra-luxury brand, first and foremost would be passion, followed by heritage.”
In late July, the Italian super luxury car brand Ferrari unveiled its new convertible sports car, the Ferrari Roma Spider, at Aranya. Luxeplace.com was invited to attend the launch event and interview Giuseppe Cattaneo, the President of Ferrari Greater China.
He shared his insights into the different meanings that super luxury cars hold for consumers today and his views on building a super luxury car brand.
For more details and the full interview, please refer to: Luxe.CO Exclusive Interview | Giuseppe Cattaneo, President of Ferrari Greater China, Discusses Ferrari’s Next Challenge in China
Paul Harris, McLaren Managing Director for Asia-Pacific and China
“To me, luxury signifies personalization. The scarcity of a product is the most crucial aspect of luxury, followed by its pricing and positioning. Lastly, luxury also encompasses the overall experience, particularly the purchasing experience.”
“Building a car is no easy feat, and if any part of the process encounters an issue, we promptly address the customer’s problem. This level of commitment differentiates us from mass luxury brands. We communicate with our customers honestly and maintain an open-minded approach to running our business.”
In 2022, Paul Harris became the Managing Director for Asia-Pacific and China at the top British sports car brand McLaren. In May of this year, he visited China for the first time in his new role and granted an interview to Luxeplace.com. He shared his definition of luxury in the automotive field and the key factors that set McLaren apart as a luxury car brand.
For more details and the full interview, please refer to: Interviewing McLaren’s Asia Pacific Managing Director: “The Most Impressive Automotive Retail Experience is in China”
Kristian Teär, Bang & Olufsen CEO
“When I started, I thought it was going to be more of a consumer electronics play, but it’s not. It’s actually a luxury play, and we’re moving in the luxury direction.”
“To become a luxury brand, it requires the following qualities: a brand name with widespread recognition and reputation, a heritage and legacy, impeccable craftsmanship, the ability to evoke desire in consumers, a luxurious experience, unique ancillary services, durable products, and a magnificent audio experience.”
The Danish premium audio-visual brand Bang & Olufsen has a unique positioning. Although audio equipment falls under consumer electronics, Bang & Olufsen has transformed it into a luxury product.
In June, during the launch of the new portable speaker Beosound A5, Kristian Teär, the CEO of Bang & Olufsen, visited China and toured the two major cities of Shanghai and Beijing.
At the brand’s store in Shanghai’s Plaza 66, Luxeplace.com conducted an interview with Kristian Teär, where he shared his insights into luxury, the key elements in building a luxury brand, and his insights and plans for the Chinese market.
For more details and the full interview, please refer to: Luxe.CO Exclusive Interview | Bang & Olufsen CEO: It’s Actually a Luxury Play
Francois Saurel, Edrington Group Managing Director for Asia-Pacific
“We are very humble as a company, but we have a certain confidence that, due to our own whisky-making style, we probably craft the most exceptional type of whisky liquid possible. We source the best wood, and we season those casks with the finest sherry as well. Our distillation process in Scotland ensures that there is an encounter of the best cask with the best type of new-make spirit, resulting in the best liquid. So, without a doubt, this gives us an advantage, probably to compete as an exceptional brand.”
“(…) when you work with an exceptional brand and have the privilege of caring for it, you always need to find the right velocity and balance between making yourself known, building awareness, and ensuring, at the same time, that your story isn’t just rich initially but continues to grow richer and richer.”
“The mission of anyone at Edrington in Asia and globally is ultimately to create brand equity, which is our number one mission. Brand equity must always grow faster than the volume of the product.”
In August, the globally renowned spirits company, Edrington Group, held the launch event for their high-end Scottish single malt whisky brand, The Macallan, in Shanghai, where they introduced the new product, The Macallan Litha. Prior to the launch event, Luxeplace.com interviewed Francois Saurel, the Managing Director for Asia-Pacific at Edrington Group. He shared insights on how to create luxury within the spirits industry and the brand’s insights and plans for the Chinese market.
For more details and the full interview, please refer to: Exclusive Interview | Managing Director for Asia-Pacific of Edrington Group: “Whisky Can Coexist Harmoniously with Baijiu”
Laure Calvel, Lancaster Global Brand President
“In the post-pandemic era, everyone is looking for things that bring them joy, such as luxury goods. Purchasing luxury items often signifies a greater focus on self-care.”
In March of this year, Monaco’s high-end skincare brand Lancaster launched its new Rénergie series. In July, Luxeplace.com was invited to Monaco, the birthplace of the brand. Before this visit, Luxeplace.com conducted a remote interview with Laure Calvel, the Global Brand President of Lancaster. During the interview, she shared the reasons behind Lancaster’s positioning as a high-end skincare brand and the brand’s future plans in the Chinese market.
｜Image Credit: Provided by the brands
｜Editor: Zhu Ruoyu