MBA Luxury Brand Management

MBA Luxury Brand Management
Class of 2016-2017

Monday, November 3, 2014

Exploring the Spirit of Travel

By Hartmut Witt, MBA in International Luxury Brand Management 2014-2015, Germany

Every destination we choose and every plane we get on – our luggage always travels with us. We take it for granted that no matter where we go we just put our clothes in a lightweight suitcase and start our journey.

This privilege was not always available – until the nineteenth century, when a man named Louis Vuitton revolutionized travel. In 1858, Louis Vuitton introduced an innovative, lightweight, and practical flat-bottom trunk that made travelling easier and helped people to enjoy more pleasant journeys.

The ESSEC MBA Luxe Class of 2015 had the privilege of exploring the heritage of the brand that was named after the founder of today’s way of travelling. The roots of Louis Vuitton led us to the beautiful town of Asnières-sur-Seine, half an hour from Paris. We were invited for afternoon tea at the maison where the Vuitton family used to live until some years ago and we listened to enthralling stories about the heritage of the brand. Besides visiting the house, which is a one-of-a-kind Art Nouveau building, we were guided through the Louis Vuitton workshop where the bespoke orders are manufactured. From the choice of materials to the final finish – everything is handmade by artisans in the LV workshop. Only around 500 masterpieces are manufactured per year with innumerable design steps and only the most precious materials from python leather to rare woods.

We were impressed by the authenticity and enormous craftsmanship that was displayed by the master craftsmen. Almost every customer’s wish can be created, be it a cigar box or a bespoke wooden handbag. The only criterion for a unique product is that it must follow the original concept of Louis Vuitton: the product has to be suitable for travelling and must be light enough for one person to carry it. This has always been the brand’s philosophy, which was underlined by an exhibit of historical products in the musée Vuitton that we visited after the atelier.

We were really impressed by the way the brand preserves its DNA and now the heritage is passed on through the generations. The warm and welcoming way in which we received by the Vuitton family will leave a lasting impression – thank you Louis Vuitton!