Caroline Herrera

Luxury designers are optimistic about recovery

Isaac Mostovicz writes that the optimism expressed by top luxe designers bodes well for the industry's speedy recovery...

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Here’s an interesting interview in the Wall Street Journal with Carolina Herrera that I caught via Luxist. Like most in the luxe business, she, too, felt the pinch from a faltering global economy. But now she sees things changing.

I saw the impact in the beginning. I saw it with the women who used to come to the boutique to buy. They bought less. All the information in the newspapers makes them nervous. When you see a lot of people losing their jobs and they have children to send to school and other commitments, then you think [more before] buying.

…..

Lately, it has been better. At one point, I used to see the people who used to buy a lot, and they were a little concerned about buying. Now they are shopping again.

It’s good to see major players in the luxury scene express this level of optimism publicly, not just retailers. She explained a bit about what her strategy was during the worst of the recession.

During the downturn, she has had to walk a fine line, trying to cater to frugal consumers without damaging quality or image. … Ms Herrera responded by cutting prices about 10% and making tweaks to trim costs. She is also expanding her lower-priced CH Carolina Herrera line, adding 17 standalone shops this year to the current 48.

Her strategy speaks to an interest in not alienating a core Theta personality customer. If Ms Herrera had reduced her prices to 15% or 20%, her brand may begin to be seen as masstige. This would alienate both Theta personalities and any potential Lambda personality as a client.

Because she resisted that, her brand’s position is in good position to grow more as the recession fades.

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