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💰 Building the World’s Most Valuable Luxury Brand

💰 Building the World’s Most Valuable Luxury Brand

How much do you think a to-go coffee cup could sell for?

What if I told you it had a Louis Vuitton sleeve on it?

Suddenly a product worth less than $20 goes for $955. That’s the magic of being a luxury brand. 

But before being plastered on overpriced coffee cups and world renowned purses, Louis Vuitton was not a brand but a homeless teenager trying to earn enough money to survive.

How did a poor teenager in Paris build the world’s biggest luxury brand? And what can we learn from him?

Here’s what we got for ya:

  • 🤑 From Rags to Riches

  • 👜 $420B Innovations

  • 🧠 Mastering Luxury Brand Marketing

Read time: 4 min 40 sec

🤑 From Rags to Riches

This is a self-made Cinderella story. Louis Vuitton had an evil step-mom. So he ran away from his farm in Anchay, France at 13 to be his own prince charming in Paris. 

It was 1834. He didn’t have money for a train ticket, so he spent three years walking to Paris. Along the way, he did odd jobs for food. He learned how to work with metal, stone, fabrics, and wood. 

With these skills, he secured an apprenticeship in Paris with a box maker. 

He worked tirelessly to master his craft. In 1851, he impressed Empress Eugenie de Montijo of France. He became her personal box maker and packer.

Empress Eugenie de Montijo of France

For most, this would be the height of their career. A dream already come true. But Louis had a bigger vision.

With the new attention from French royalty and aristocrats, Louis opened up his own workshop.

Louis Vuitton boxes became a status symbol among the wealthy.

As railways and automobiles were on the rise, travel became more accessible, and Louis Vuitton’s clientele grew. 

They released new models of luggage each year to create excitement.

And in 1892, Louis Vuitton released its first catalog to make ordering easy. 

When Louis died, his son George took over and expanded the brand globally.

A new factory was built in London. And Louis Vuitton products soon appeared in New York department stores. 

But Louis Vuitton didn’t start making big money until George’s grandson in-law took over the company in 1987. Henry Racamier pivoted Louis Vuitton from wholesale to retail. Within 6 years, sales went from $20M to over $260M.

Today, Louis Vuitton is the world's leading luxury brand, valued at $420B. They make over $85B in sales annually.

But what exactly makes Louis Vuitton so valuable?

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👜 $420B Innovations

How can Louis Vuitton sell their products for thousands of dollars?

All of their products are high quality. Louis Vuitton’s craftsmen train for 2 years before they are trusted to make a product by themselves.

Louis Vuitton has stayed ahead of the market with their innovative products.

When Louis started making luggage boxes, they had a curved top and were made of leather.

But Louis noticed that boxes like this were hard to stack and had to be carried one at a time.

So he started the modern day luggage with flat tops made of canvas.

Within 2 years of his creation, flat boxes became a must have among the wealthy.

Perfectly stackable

Louis Vuitton continued to improve the design of their boxes. 

They made a more complex lock that was harder to pick.

And created luggage that looked more like dressers.

George Vuitton created the LV logo to honor his father and decrease counterfeit items. Soon this logo was on all their products. 

And as Louis Vuitton grew, they started selling other products. 

Before Louis Vuitton, hand bags were seen as inelegant and bulky. 

Louis Vuitton revolutionized purse design. Soon women were begging for more styles so they could pair them with different outfits.

Now hand bags are the first thing many people think of when they hear Louis Vuitton.

Today, you can find everything from shoes to jewelry and sunglasses on louisvuitton.com.

This product diversity and quality is how Louis Vuitton makes $90B in sales every year. 

Loyal customers of Louis Vuitton can fill their wardrobe with high-quality products and show off their wealth.

What does every high-quality brand need? Exceptional marketing.

More on this:

🧠 Mastering Luxury Brand Marketing

Every business has a target audience. 

For Louis Vuitton, this is high-income and fashion-forward individuals.

Louis Vuitton’s marketing sells sophistication. The purses, sunglasses, and luggage are just the medium to showcase it.

Maintaining the brand’s image of luxury and exclusivity is of utmost importance.

Here are the 3 strategies they use:

#1- Ads with celebrities and models: When people see celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Uma Thurman, and Scarlett Johansson sporting Louis Vuitton, they view the brand as elite. 

#2- Event sponsorships: Events are popular in the land of the elite. Louis Vuitton holds events to generate excitement about new products. And to keep their symbol of status. 

Louis Vuitton also sponsors other big events. This July, Louis Vuitton will be sponsoring the 2024 Paris Olympics and Paralympics.

#3- Influencers and social media: Louis Vuitton is the 2nd most influential fashion brand on social media. They have over 50M followers on instagram. I feel rich just looking through their feed.

But what sets their brand apart is using influencers, like Emma Chamberlain, as brand ambassadors. This promotes the brand to a new and younger audience. Social media now determines what is considered relevant. Taking advantage of this could be the difference between success and social death.

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