Luxuried out: Luxury & Retail treks at LBS

By Snehal, MBA2025

Coming from a consumer-goods background, I was excited to leverage my MBA to transition into luxury retail. The choice of LBS was a no-brainer, given its location in one of the world’s foremost luxury capitals, London, and its proximity to another influential hub, Paris. Over the past few months, I have had the privilege of experiencing the impact of this decision.

Thanks to LBS Retail, Luxury and Consumer Club (which I am thrilled to be leading next year!), I had the incredible opportunity to embark on the London and Paris Trek, immersing myself in the world of iconic brands. Beyond the surface allure of glitz and glamour, what left a lasting impression was the genuine passion exuded by every individual we met, from senior managers to the retail staff. Their profound knowledge and genuine enthusiasm, from recalling the inception of a brand’s first collection to the meticulous details of store layouts, served as a powerful reminder of loving what you do and doing what you love.

My key takeaways:

  1. Emphasising heritage

Brands like Balmain and Hermès underscore the significance of their Parisian heritage by prominently featuring the city in their names and logos. Similarly, Parfums Christian Dior’s enduring use of florals in its collections honours the founder’s profound affection for flowers. Despite their longstanding history, these heritage maisons remain steadfast in reinforcing their deep connections to their origins.

  1. Personalised experiences

SEPHORA and Lancôme are leveraging BeautyTech to elevate the consumer journey, adding a touch of enchantment to every interaction. They are redefining the beauty retail landscape through innovative tools like skin analysers, custom engravings, and immersive in-store pop-ups. Meanwhile, Printemps goes the extra mile by providing complimentary personal shoppers to all customers, regardless of their budget, ensuring a tailored and unforgettable shopping experience.

  1. Prioritising sustainability

Sustainability is not just a buzzword anymore; it is becoming the core focus of brands, such as Diageo with its “Society 2030 Goals” and Harrods’ commitment to reducing scope 3 emissions. From reducing carbon footprints to fostering ethical practices, brands actively prioritise sustainability as a fundamental aspect of their operations and values. Robert Dumas, former CEO of Hermès, aptly stated, ‘Luxury is what ages, what can be repaired, and passed on.’

  1. Attention to detail

Meticulous attention to detail defines luxury, from the Egyptian escalators in Harrods, mirroring the serene flow of the Nile, to the hand-sculpted wall adornments, and even to the intricate wings within the Hermes logo, evoking the brand’s connection to the Greek god. Every corner of these brands’ retail outlets, from the lighting to the wallpaper to the attire adorning the mannequins, is meticulously curated to reflect the brand’s identity and DNA.

At LBS, I also had the privilege of attending insightful sessions led by two remarkable women leaders, which felt like mini-masterclasses. Leena Nair, Chanel’s Global CEO, emphasised the significance of ‘lifting as you climb,’ underscoring the importance of easing the path for those who follow and how we can find courage in advocating for others rather than solely for ourselves. Kiyo Taga-Witkin, Head of Special Projects at Cartier, echoed the importance of celebrating daily victories and embracing self-love, a concept I find challenging sometimes. These sessions have not only enriched my understanding of the luxury retail industry but also provided valuable life lessons that I will carry with me throughout my career.

I have learnt so much at LBS, yet there is always more to discover. If you want to delve deeper into luxury retail at LBS, have any questions about my experiences, or simply want to share your thoughts, I would love to hear from you!

Note: RLCC also organised a Milan trek in March this year. The students had the opportunity to interact with companies such as Valentino, EssilorLuxottica, Santoni, Golden Goose, and Yamamay, gaining valuable insights into the Italian luxury retail industry.

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