MBA Luxury Brand Management

MBA Luxury Brand Management
Class of 2016-2017

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Van Cleef and Arpels, Mr. Alessandro Maffi's Presentation

By Aurore Basly, MBA in International Luxury Brand Management 2015-2016, France

While in Dubai, we had the pleasure of having Alessandro Maffi present to the class. Mr. Maffi is the Managing Director Middle East and India for Van Cleef & Arpels (“VC&A”) and has been working in this market for 10 years. He kindly took the time to share with us his experience, as well as the key macroeconomic and political challenges of the Middle Eastern market. He also mentioned the main factors to keep in mind in order to build a successful business in the region.

First, innovation is key. While VC&A is and has always been a Maison de Joaillerie for the past 110 years built on exceptional craftsmanship and a long heritage, it also benefits from a unique organizational structure, which enables teams from all levels to work closely together and which also bolsters creative thinking. Mr. Maffi discussed at length the concept of Shumpeter’s “creative destruction”, essential to creating perpetual competitive advantages. He also emphasized that innovation is critical when entering unexplored markets. Using this concept, VC&A is thriving because of its people flexibility and its ability to quickly react to the market. 

Second, Mr. Maffi detailed other main leverages key in building a sustainable business. The first priority must be effective client relationship management. Undeniably, the Maison deeply cares about its clients and wishes to build and maintain a special relationship over time, especially with the local clientele. Mastering supply chain is also a crucial element (having the right product, at the right place, at the right time helps VC&A be very responsive to the market). Finally, the Maison builds on its people training (with the aim of always being the reference by excellence), heritage (fostering the uniqueness of the Maison) and education (to allow all stakeholders to get to know V&CA and its key values). 

Aspiring to work in the jewelry industry after the program and having worked at the Louvre Museum previously, I praise VC&A for its heritage, exceptional artistic talent and craftsmanship. What I really liked about this presentation is that we got a glimpse into the company’s corporate culture: flexibility, innovation, team work and excellence. It was enriching and enlightening to hear about Mr. Maffi’s daily routine with the staff and his insights about the challenges faced by the jewelry industry today.