Picture from www.di.se
When you read the largest financial newspaper in Sweden, Dagens Industri (Todays Industry), and find an article about hertitage in fashion in connection to your employer Louis Vuitton a smile tends to appear on your face. I really liked to see that double page article in a swedish financial paper. The article by Di:s Caroline Åkerlund had a title was spot on:"Arvegods" (freely translated into english as: Inherited goods). Åkerlund gets back to basic and the heritage of travelgoods and trunks, as she has based her story upon her interview with Patrick Louis Vuitton. A short article about facts!
Why I liked the article, being in that kind of newspaper, is that its outside the tradional relation between fashion and media. Fashionmedia itself and the difference/gap between editors, journalists and the advertisers influence is a whole other story. Kawamura has his ideas on the subject and I agree. I do think this blurred relation of interests is one of the major reason papers are losing readers, both on-line and on traditional paper. People want storys, people should be considered intelligent readers and as so in want to be able to read well done articles that challenges and provides something new in the debate of today. I know I do not really have time in my busy schedule for deep analysis. Although, I feel I have to! Especially as I am currently preparing a speech at Louis Vuitton about cross-selling in a couple of weeks.
I once again return to what I have learned at Stockholm University. Not so much to my studies in fashion, rather to my studies in ethnology. Ethnology, for those of you who are not familiar with the word, is the branch of anthropology that compares and analyzes the characteristics of different peoples and the relationship between them. I studied ethnology fulltime for 1,5 years and focused in my studies on the area abot the human creation of appearence, image and identity. (My personal thoughts about this subject is that it really is the basic for work within fashion journalism, PR and Marketing and the courses could, together with more head-on practial courses, change and really improve the Media, PR and Marketing world of business today and in the future).
Now, back to cross selling thoughts of today. As a client advisor I of course have knowledge about the fashion house and its heritage, the creative processes by the creative directors and their teams, the collections, the innovations and the craftmansship. That is the basic knowledge, nothing new in this. Then we come to the meeting with different presumtive customers. Customers come into luxury stores for many different reasons. Someones wanna look around and breath-in the luxury atmosphere, someones has already a fixed product in mind and someones are open for suggestions to improve and express themselves through fashion and seeks advices in that area. Humans has all through history expressed themselves thru fashion. Fashion is the visualization of image, identity, class, gender, nationality etc etc. So, as a client advisor I always strive to do my best as to be attentive, curious, perceptive and creative while putting the customers desires in focus. Desires as related to the analytical concepts that I mentioned a few above. I ask myself in meetings with customers; What desires can I fulfill for this particular customer? I always try to "blank" myself from first-impression thoughts and try hard to let our interaction rule the sale instead. In the area of luxury goods there is also many thesis throughout history that is adaptable on selling that lingers in the back of my head. As for exampel the immitation theory by George Simmel (b1858). To put it short: If you imagine the world of people as culture social beings in the connextion of fashion, you might visualize it as a ladder. People want to have rolemodels, people want to strive up that ladder. Luxury goods is such an amazingly large area of desire fulfillment. But, where are you on this ladder? Are you trying to follow and get what others already has on your way up, or are you already on the top of the ladder and now trying to differ yourself from the other climbers? As I interact as a client advisor this theory is very useable. I have so many theories in my academic background and they truly help me daily. I want the customers to trust in me to fulfull their luxury desires based upon their innerselves and this I think this is why cross-selling is a thing that I am really good at.
My most memorable sell is from a previous employment in luxury sales and that sale can serve a purpose as a great example. I had a lovely old lady as a customer who came into that store in search of a leather bag. A classic leatherbag was all she had in mind. As we talked and discussed her passions in life, I found she was soo into English gardens. She loved roses and vibrant colors! After choosing a leatherbag I asked her if she wanted to join me into the other room in the store to show her the new collection from the creative designer? I showed her a beautiful bomberjacket in silk with wonderful roses in lovely colors. A bomberjacket for an old lovely lady! She put the jacket on and smiled. I think I almost did see a tear in her eye as she looked upon herself in the mirror with that jacket on. She felt absolutley beautiful! That was a cross-sale based upon interacting with, and seeing, the customer in my strive to fulfill her desires. Although over a year ago this is a memorable moment for me! <3
That´s all on this subject for now. I still have to figure out how to make my cross-selling speech and message less formal and less academic and easy to understand. Still a couple of weeks left, so much time left to do work on it! xoxo
My pictures of the article mentioned in this post.