Pricing Luxury Goods – What to Consider

Silk Italian suits, dusty bottles of vintage wines from estate cellars, moisturizers made from crushed pearls, pricing luxury goods is not for the inexperienced. Luxury goods feed desire and want and the more consumers long for them, and for the privilege of ownership we expect to pay top price. Some may argue that luxury can be an illusion, that the higher the hype, the tighter the exclusivity and the bigger the demand regardless of the real value of the good. Of course all products, luxury or not have two different value systems – the real value and the perceived value and there is an age-old saying that something is only worth as much as someone is prepared to pay.

pricing luxury goods - between art & science

When pricing Veblen goods it is therefore essential to up the stakes and hike the price tag so that the item already ticks the box when it comes to being perceived as part of the luxury market. The next consensus is to ensure that someone, somewhere is willing to pay the price and thus set the wheels in motion for better brand recognition and a name in the luxury bible. Of course there is a danger that comes with throwing the first price you think of at your good and hoping it will stick and this is where a little application of the art and science of pricing comes into play.

basic pricing structures still matter

Companies do need to take the basic structure of pricing into consideration covering aspects such as costs, competitors and consumer demand. The cost of making the product, the cost of overheads and how much you need to get back on something are always the springboard for starting with pricing. There needs to be analytical data collected and pens put to paper so the Intrinsic Value Dependency can be etched out. Pay fierce attention to what your competitors are doing with their price tags as it can help you to figure out where your goods will land on the spectrum. The more your own product moves up the ladder and away from the dull and dreary label of a commodity the more it will be sought after and the more value it will gain.

good analytics are worth their weight

Good analytics are worth their weight in gold when it comes to structuring a price for a product and this doesn’t mean you need to start from scratch. Your company, if you have done your marketing right, will already be sitting on a trove of information. You will be able to check what consumers are paying for other similar products, the current economic trends, and which external features have an impact on sales. Micromarketing and targeted exclusive offers can also be used to grab hold of data for which you can then go on to use for pattern finding analysis. Once you have all this data its best to set up an automated key analysis so all the information can be run through a program quickly and efficiently

elevating the right experience

Consumers will judge a products luxury merit on several factors which is why it’s essential to build the right environment around your brand. Luxury goods and luxury stores are often in wealthy or affluent areas of cities, have chic and opulent interiors and upmarket, expensive packaging that adds to the social status. The luxury buyer's experience needs to match their expectations for the product and deliver a feeling that they have effectively elevated their position in the world by making the purchase. The more you are able to give this, the easier it will be to secure the right price for your product.

To learn more about how to price luxury goods, consider enrolling in one of our online brand management courses.





The Luxury Fatigue - Everywhere for Everyone

A university student doing a dissertation asked me today a few questions about the luxury market. Before I could answer her, I needed to know what she, herself, defined as a luxury brand.

I have learned over time never to assume that someone else’s definition is the same as yours. And I was right. Like for most people, she referred to the fashion brands.

I think that the fashion conglomerates have done a great job over the last few decades to market themselves as luxury and overshadow the fact that they are no longer true luxury brands.

Let me explain my unconventional opinion on this niche market.

Luxury has always and will always be about experience.

True luxury is about experiencing something that few can.

When Louis Vuitton was alive and overseeing the daily operation of his store, he had, like everyone else, a limited supply of his most precious commodity – his time.

To be allowed the luxury of purchasing one of his creation was indeed the most luxurious gift of all. The experience made you feel privileged. Therefore, the products were a luxury.

Nowadays, the luxury experience put forward by Louis Vuitton and several other high-end fashion brand is slowly eroding. They have forgotten the true meaning of luxury; the executives have instead pursued the promise of a gold rush.

Let’s not fool ourselves, the fashion business is a good business to be in.

Although the quality of the products is still good, the fashion brands have forgotten to control one of the most important aspects of their distribution – the exclusivity.

When you can find a Vuitton bag everywhere as part of the wardrobe of anyone, how can you claim to offer luxurious products?

I travel a lot, more than the average person.

In fact, in the last 18 months, I have driven from Canada to Colombia, with a few European and North American side trips. Random places, where I have seen a Louis Vuitton handbag, cannot be counted.

I have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of the same patterned bags in the hands of tourists.

In fact, I have been to over 65 countries in the last 15 years, and I have never been in a country where I did not see their handbags.

Luxury is not about a price tag; it’s about an exclusive experience.

I have the Louis Vuitton fatigue, and I am convinced I am not the only one.

Luxury should not be for everywhere and for everyone.

Why All Luxury Brands Should Sell Online

Exclusive, elite, rare and sublime, these are just a handful of words that many luxury companies hope will emulate in a consumers mind when they hear a certain brand name. Yet these companies also feel that should they unmask their brand image online that they are at risk of falling from the luxury pedestal. The fear is almost palatable and doesn’t come without deep understanding.

The online world of commerce has long been associated with lower prices, swift availability and an easy shopping system that goes against the luxury grain. Luxury brands work hard to build intricate heritage stories, rich buyer experiences and to soak their status with being selective as opposed to all-encompassing and it seems that translating this to the online marketplace is a tricky feat.

Hermes wants you to feel the slip of their scarves in your fingers, Chanel wants you to sip champagne in their opulent temples like stores and Baccarat wants you to breathe in the fragrance of myrrh in their crystal sculptured bottles before you buy.

Luxury companies are well aware that they are selling more than a product, that they are selling a luxury lifestyle and a visage that taps into our subconscious urge to be special. How can you carry that prestige to the online world where everything is up for grabs and the whole platform reeks of impersonal clinical cut style? This may be the very reason why Chanel, Hermes, and Dior have chosen to keep their wares strictly housed in brick and mortar.

Yet the reality is they could also be falling short when it comes to opening the door of opportunity.

Luxury brands that don’t sell online may be keeping the valuable retail experience alive, they may be placing themselves far from the maddening crowds and they may be retaining their exclusive playing hard to get appeal, but they are also alienating many of their own potential buyers.

The reality is that not everyone with a six-figure income has the time, the patience and the drive to swing by the Champs-Elysees or Rodeo Drive in search of the latest trends. Wealthy people, like everyone else, are busy and also adore shopping from the comfort of their own home. Add into the mix the fact that many highbrow fashion boutiques have a bad rep for scrutinizing customers as soon as they step in the door and you start to see why the trends of luxury online shopping can seem attractive.

There’s little doubt that luxury brands not adapting e-commerce are losing out on sales and kicking their own revenue in the teeth. Of course, increasing sales isn’t always the aim of high-class brands who tout retaining their integrity and protecting their image above all else.

Luxury branding is a creative entity there’s no doubt about it, building a beautiful brand, telling a story that inspires, showcasing the best of your talents and keeping the desire alive in consumers is an art form and why can’t that art form be applied to the online world? Just because a company chooses to sell online doesn’t mean it needs to lose its integrity.

The very essence of an online luxury presence can be a remarkable challenge and can be controlled in the most exclusive fashion.  Beautiful online stores can be created much in the same vein as a brick and mortar set up and high spending clients can gain access to otherwise limited wares. In short, there is a way for luxury brands to sell online without compromising their image and lowering the bar.

Building an incredible online presence through social media is also something that luxury brands cannot ignore as this is where you lay the foundations for future clients, interact with customers and deliver innovative selling techniques to drive your revenue and reputation up.

Of course, all the social media interactions will drive traffic to your site and without anything to sell you are leaving the table bare and essentially turning your own customers away.

It’s not even all about money and loss of sales when it comes to the benefits of building an online marketplace, it’s about the future. The internet is here to stay and future generations are being raised to barely need to set foot in an actual store as everything is so readily available online.

Luxury brands who continue to tread water rather than rising above the tides are sure to get left behind by not embracing the technological change.

If you want to know more about how to perfect your digital luxury experience, consider taking our "Luxury Touchpoints & the Experience of Luxury" online course.




Great Luxury Marketing Resources for Brands

The Luxury market, like any market, is constantly trending, changing and fluctuating with the economy and for those with a vested interest, it helps to stay abreast of these patterns.

With the number of luxury consumers tripling over the past twenty years it seems that every day you can catch glimpse of headlines boasting luxury consumers new style, the changing habits of affluent shoppers and the rise of online marketing for luxury brands.

Of course, many big-name luxury companies choose to stick solidly to their roots and ideals, believing in the richness of their heritage as opposed to cresting and falling on the wave of the times.

Yet all luxury businesses both big and small should be well aware of how the landscape around them is changing, who is emerging and who is lagging so that they are able to place themselves seamlessly in a way that effectively works for their business.

The luxury niche no longer comes with a stiff upper lip and limited choice; it is savvy, sharp, wild and fiercely competitive, melding many styles and contradictions together.

These luxury marketing resources for brands can be the perfect place to start in getting to grips with the world of luxury.

luxury daily

Leading the news in the world of luxury marketing, luxury daily is a divine place to peruse what’s hot, what’s not and what new launches and trends are currently making headlines.

This is without a doubt one of the most comprehensive places to swing by with champagne in hand and find out who Sotheby’s have just signed a deal with, when you can expect Chanel’s new fragrance to hit the shelves and what pocket of the world the Ritz is planning on dazzling next.

Visit Luxury Daily


luxury society

The luxury society is the place to be and be seen, even if it does exist in the sassy world of cyberspace.

This virtual socialite party is a networking haven, throw on your pearls, grab your little black book and hurl yourself into an online world where you can have hearty debates, hash out new concepts, call on the expertise of other members and even strike up new business opportunities with other keen and able entrepreneurs.

Along with meeting and greeting there is news to devour, headlines to hum over and close to the bone topics to explore.

Visit Luxury Society

luxury institute

Get a closer look into the world of luxury with the luxury institute.

The blog is stuffed full of the latest luxury news whether it is letting you know that Kate Spade is closing stores or giving you a glimpse into the most recent celebrity endorsements. Along with the latest headline grabbers, there are many great articles pertaining to studies on luxury marketing and great advice from top affluent leaders on how to adapt your brand to boost your name and reputation.

Visit Luxury Institute



Lorre White AKA the luxury guru is no stranger to the world of the wealthy and with numerous press appearances under her belt, she is the go-to for all things fabulous.

Lorre has firm connections in the power industry and her blog is filled to the brim with interesting articles, insights, product launches and so much more.

For those who want to keep ahead of the current trends and who want to dabble in the world of inspiration and classy living, then the luxury guru can certainly point you in the right direction.

Visit LuxGuru


brand uniq

The power of marketing is arguably even more important when dealing with Veblen goods and this blog will give you plenty of pointers on how to place your brand in the limelight with strategic marketing skills.

Simple, straightforward and free of fuss this blog is crammed with high caliber articles that will help you to place and position your brand, find the optimal pricing strategy, move your luxury presence into the online world and more.

Visit Brand Uniq


bain company 

Bain & Company have built their reputation on being the golden choice when it comes to consulting in the luxury niche and their articles have been published across the globe.

From features in Forbes to the business standard they are certainly up there in the world of knowledge and know how.

Covering a range of industries with far-flung expertise it’s always good to swing by and check out their publications section to see expanding brands in the market, check equity reports and browse their archives.

Visit Bain Company 



Take a sneak peek behind the curtain with Mckinsey and find out the latest insights into luxury and consumerism.

Those who want to know which markets are emerging, which digital consumer trends are growing and what’s happening differently in China than in Europe will adore the wealth of unbridled information available.

Not only can you top up your know-how on consumer trends but you can also get a ton of marketing strategy advice and tips on how to better engage your customers for growth.

Visit Mckinsey


wealth x

Those immersed in the billionaire boom will find the news at Wealth X interesting to say the least.

This financially indulgent blog not only shows you the money but also shows you where the money is changing hands, being kept, growing and falling.

Not only can you find out about China’s newest investment laws but you can also get inside the heads of luxury entrepreneurs, see what designer bag maker Moynat has up his sleeve and see what challenges could be hitting the luxury market for the coming year.

Visit Wealth X


To growth your knowledge in luxury brand management, consider enrolling in one of our online courses.

Luxury Marketing – Focus Must be on Cities

Where would the luxury world be without the glittering glass-fronted stores on Paris’s Champs Elysees, the gold signs over New York’s prestigious Fifth Avenue and the Rolex and Christian Louboutin boutiques on Milan’s Via Monte Napoleone?

There seems to be no doubt that when it comes to making the luxury world work for your product the focus has to start in the cities.

The fast facts and figures are already scrawled across the internet telling us that no less than a staggering 85% of the luxury market growth will come from the world’s top 600 cities.

We all know the sprawling luxury metropolis names of London, New York, Paris, and Milan but some other major players will be emerging from the shadows and accounting for much of the growth before the calendar ticks over to 2025.

Unsurprisingly many of these cities can be found on the far eastern shores of China with Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen leading the parade.

China is growing to become one of the leading consumers of luxury with a penchant for authentic brands and designer goods. According to Bain & Company, Chinese consumers spend over three times the amount abroad then they would spend at home.

China is set to drive half the growth in the luxury industry which is why it’s essential for brands to turn their eyes to the east.

The affluent Chinese market doesn’t only hold power over retail, sure elite Chinese travelers will love to swipe their platinum cards in the stores of Prada and Chanel but tastes are changing and they will want exclusive experiences outside of the shopping environment.

Wealthy Chinese households aren’t succumbing to our idea of a recession, in fact, they are only getting wealthier and the more they accumulate, the more they are looking to travel and the more they are looking to spend.

Yet even closer to western shores the dizzying height of spending seems to be led by countries like the USA, Italy, and France with tourist luxury spending adding its weight to the bulk of the figures.

One quick glimpse at the leading locations where tourists like to splurge takes us back to the cities.

From chic weekend shopping trips in New York to European jaunts to Paris, Milan, and London there’s no doubt that affluent visitors love to splash the cash in the major city hubs.

It’s also essential to note that many of the world’s billionaires are also entrepreneurs who globetrot for business.

The major financial haunts are often to be found in bustling cities and when these affluent city slickers step off their private jet they will be seeking high-end retail for spending within the city limits.

Different cities have different draws and this will impact a luxury brands choice when it comes to which city is the best to focus on.

The fashion capitals of New York, Paris and Milan clearly put their best foot forward when it comes to apparel yet skincare hits the top of the charts when it comes to Asia.

Investors should note that the mature cities of our present luxury scope aren’t slowing down, only there seem to be more emerging cities joining the trend.

Forbes has noted that there seems to be a stronger affiliation to keep strength and investment in more western cities from many luxury brands, yet the resources need to follow the growth.

Companies must be willing and ready to send the best of their best to the places where the growth patterns are emerging.

It also helps to have a firm footing with a good local partner or affiliate in the far-flung cities so that you don’t go charging in without understanding the hurdles of how to conduct business on foreign shores.

Megacities are the future of luxury and no longer is this limited to old-world Europe and the billion dollar mansions of the United States. China, the Middle East, Brazil, India all these places are on the rise and if luxury brands are successfully able to sweep their marketing towards these shores then we can all ride on the crest of this new world wave.

If you are interested in more details, download the McKinsey & Company report at




When The Rich Rule The World

Global wealth is said to be increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small wealthy elite. According to a recent Oxfam study, the 80 wealthiest people in the world altogether own $1.9 trillion, almost as much as the amount shared by the 3.5 billion people who occupy the bottom half of the world's income scale. Last year, that number was at 85, and in 2010 it was at 388 billionaires.

Forbes has listed 1,645 billionaires out of which almost 30% of them reside in the USA. 20% of these billionaires seem to have an interest in finance or pharmaceutical/healthcare or are related to these sectors. An increase of 47% is seen in their collective net worth between March 2013 and March 2014.



Another alarming stat reveals that the richest 1% of the world controls nearly half of the world’s total wealth. And once again, that number is on the rise. There is an inequality, but according to Oxfam, this inequality is not inevitable. In October 2014 Oxfam launched its “Even It Up” Campaign by calling upon governments, institutions, corporations and even world leaders to tackle extreme inequality and debate on the factors that has led to this. This Campaign hopes to find ways to redistribute the money and power from a few to many by focusing their energy on:

  • Making governments work for citizens and tackle extreme inequality
  • Promoting women’s economic equality and women’s rights
  • Paying workers a living wage and close the gap with skyrocketing executive reward
  • Sharing the tax burden fairly to level the playing field
  • Closing international tax loopholes and fill holes in tax governance
  • Achieving universal free public services by 2020
  • Changing the global system for research and development (R&D) and pricing of medicines so that everyone has access to appropriate and affordable medicines
  • Implementing a universal social protection floor
  • Targeting development finance at reducing inequality and poverty, and strengthening the compact between citizens and their government

The world's rich own a disproportionate share of its wealth, but what about you? Where do you actually stand in the rich list? If you haven’t made it on the Forbes Billionaires list, you might still be in for a shock. Check out your ranking on the world's rich list using the great tool provided by the Global Rich List. Use either your income calculation or wealth calculation to put your financial situation in perspectives.

To quickly see an example. lets look upon Mr. Mathew, an American with an annual net income of USD$500,000, and compare him to Mr. Alexander, a Russian with a comparable annual net income of RUB 34477500 (USD 500,000).

Mr. Mathew is in the top 0.02%, making him the 1,111,735th richest person in the world by income. A similar calculation shows that Mr. Alexander is in the top 0.005%  making him the 317,723rd richest person by income. This proves once again that money has different values in different countries.

top 0.005 richest in the world

So where do you stand? See now at My guess is that if you are reading this article, you are probably in the top o.01%.


Future of Luxury - Trends to Follows

Recently, I was approached by Brady Dale, contributor at Fortune Magazine, for my opinion on the future of luxury. Although Dale presented my opinion in a very smart way (thank you Dale!), I wanted to take a little more time to put together additional thoughts on the future of luxury in 2015 to share with those who might need a few extra tips. So here you go, a few tips from someone who has held many luxury hats. Here are a few trends to follow if you want to keep up with the future of luxury.

The Shift From “Me” to “We”

In this new digital era, it’s no secret that luxury brands must embrace their community if they want to stand a chance against the test of time. New luxury consumers, especially Millenniums, need a little more interaction than a great advertising campaign plastered in print magazines and on TV. They want luxury brands to engage them through social media on a regular basis, not just by pushing products and branded facts, but by being real. To achieve this, brands must educate and entertain with interesting content and offer customer service through social media instead of setting up an offshore call center with no real value.

I recently spent a week analyzing the social media channels of dozens of luxury brands as part of a study for a patron and noticed that most are still stuck in the “Me” era. Most talk about them, themselves and …  once again themselves. They rarely acknowledge the fans they are speaking to, and they barely interact with influencers or other industry leaders unless it is for self-promotion. Although some luxury brand managers might think they have embraced the community, I suggest they take time to educate themselves on what it means to have a community mindset in 2015.
These “stuck-in-another-era” luxury brands will need to adapt quickly to the new realities of the “we” environment if they want to stay in the game. Select luxury brands are already paving the way and establishing a new luxury brand/fan relationship standard. A brand can still be exclusive and luxurious while being a member of the community; they simply need to be real.

The Rise of the Luxury Curator

We all know “Time is of the essence” but when it comes to the affluent audience, “Time is the ultimate luxury”. When I worked as a personal assistant for a High Net Worth Individual, roaming the world, planning luxury experiences or buying luxury goods, I was told “unless the cost is more than $10,000, please don’t come to me for an opinion. Just make the purchase yourself according to my taste and needs.” Obviously, when you start out as a personal assistant, that statement is a little scary, but with time, you realize that for HNWI, their time is more precious than their money. They have plenty of money, but little time to enjoy it. Once I gained the full trust of my employer, that $10,000 price point was gradually raised to $50,000.

Therefore, expert curators are luxury influencers, whether they are luxury bloggers, personal assistant, personal shoppers, art curators, and luxury travel agents. They will become even more precious to those who hold the real cash in upcoming years.

For luxury brands, this means that they will need to cater to these influencers and treat them with the same respect as HNWI since they often hold keys to the wallet. I will always remember the day when I entered a car dealership in Montreal and bought two new SUVS in 30 minutes. I didn’t want to drive them; I just needed a charcoal and black one that would be comfortable enough for a Golden Retriever. Now that is purchasing power in the luxury industry.

Luxury Experience Trumps Luxury Good

All good luxury marketing expert understands that in this highly competitive industry, it’s rarely about selling the characteristics of the product, but about promoting the brand experience surrounding the goods. This is why luxury brands spend large sums of money to bring forth their brand story through all available marketing channels.

Once again, it’s no longer enough to tell the story; luxury brands must allow their patrons to “live” this story through exclusive events, private shopping experiences, one-on-one interactions and more. For example, Shawn Boyer, head designer and co-founder of Anatomie, a luxury travel fashion brand, will often fly out to meet his patrons in their private homes to crank up their personal style. He will obviously coordinate Anatomie outfits, but also assist these influential women with heaps of fashion advice. His patrons have become his friends, and you can be sure that these ladies give him a lot back in return for his time and generosity. Shawn makes luxury human once more. He reminds me of Coco Chanel and other great luxury designers when they all started their career. You have to admit that it is a shame that you no longer get the same level of service with luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint-Laurent.

Although, we have seen many trends in the last year to convince us that the future of luxury is changing, I feel that these are the most important and often the most disregarded by luxury brands. What do you think? Find me on social media, and share your opinion.


Luxury Brand Call Centers - Disappointing Experience

Let's face it - our time is precious. Spending 15 minutes waiting to talk to a brand rep is simply no longer acceptable. Neither is getting an half-ass answer from an inexperienced customer service rep who has clearly never used the product. Expectations have changed and we now want to be able to send out a tweet and get a reply from a luxury brand within the hour.

As part of an extensive luxury research conducted for one of our clients, we undertook the task of evaluating the customer service of 30 luxury brands in the same industry. For the sake of our client, we must keep this industry a secret since they will soon launch their product line. We spent a week contacting these luxury brands through all available channels - call center, online chat, email and social media. This is what we found.

The majority of the luxury call centers we contacted offered sub-level customer service. For luxury brands that promises a luxury shopping experience to their patrons, this is simply unacceptable. When you are willing to spend $500 for a product branded as luxury instead of $10 on a non-branded product, you should get the customer service of a lifetime. Unfortunately, waiting times were long, answers vague and when we were promised a call back, the call often never came. We were left hanging with no solution to our product.

When we sent out emails, the outcome was similar - the average response time was about a week (when we did get a reply), and once again, the answers were disappointing. So we tried sending out tweets from a fake user account hoping to get something back, and again, not much success.

If you don't have the resources to provide a great call center experience, email support, online chat and social media care, don't promise it to your fans. Instead, pick  2-3 social media channels and make sure to be available to answer all queries in a timely matter. Publish your opening hours and expected waiting time so that your fans know exactly what to expect. Even if you don't reply to my question  in the first few hours, at least I don't have to  waste my time waiting in line.

Luxury is more than a promise therefore luxury should deliver a customer service experience to remember.


Five Different Types of Luxury Brands

As a general rule, most high-end brands can be divided into five types of luxury brands depending on the products they offer.

• Prestige Brands:

Prestige brands offer the highest level of creativity and craftsmanship. They command loyal following and because of their history and rich heritage, they are established status symbols. They do not follow fluctuating market trends. A few prestige brands that quickly come to mind are Aston Martin (car), Feadship (superyacht) and Jaeger LeCoultre (watch).

• Masstige Brands:

Masstige refers to prestige for the masses and is often associated with ownership of certain brand name products at a fraction of the cost. This category is often referred to as New Luxury or Mass Luxury and amplified the democratization of luxury goods. Typical masstige brands include Lancôme, Apple and Godiva. The masstige strategy is also often applied by prestige brands looking to trade-down to increase sales volumes. Think of Chanel's cosmetic division or BMW's affordable models.

• Premium Brands:

The difference between prestige brand and premium brand is simply a matter of degree, one that is often blurry. An example would be Rolex when compared with Patek Philippe, Piaget or Vacheron Constantin.

• Boutique Brands:

A boutique luxury brand is one that, in my opinion, gives honor to the true definition of luxury. Think of Calzature Marini, which has been creating bespoke shoes for men in Rome since1899 or of Norton & Sons, a Saville Row tailor with roots dating back to 1821. The new artisans of today who produce luxurious products by hand should also be included in this category even if they lack the heritage and pedigree of established boutique brands.

• Fashion Brands:

Fashion brands are the common trend-setters addressing the needs of the masses whether they are of high-quality or not. Fashion brands create fads with their collections and seasons while luxury brands create products that are often considered timeless.

The main point to note in understanding what constitutes a luxury brand is to understand the nature of the people who buy these brands and their buying behavior. There are a number of reasons why affluents and HNWI buy products from luxury brands such as the need to get access to exclusive, high-quality, innovative, ultra-stylish products that display exceptional craftsmanship. But among all, consumers buy luxury products because it strikes a chord in them, showcases their identity, makes them feel a desirable emotion and answers a need for recognition, peer-approval and status.


The Definition of Luxury

The definition of luxury must reflect the multi-dimensional aspect of the word as it varies from person to person, product to product and culture to culture.  Traditionally, luxury was defined as “something coveted by most but only attainable by a few”. It speaks of privilege, pedigree, paucity & pricing, but I now find this definition to be somewhat outdated. With years spent traveling the world while working alongside our world’s financial elite, I find myself in search of a more compelling definition.


When putting in review the lives of these UHNWI, I can assert that luxury is rarely define as something to purchase as a stand-alone product. For some, luxury was having the freedom to live aboard their superyacht, working remotely as they traveled the world. Luxury was also gathering all family members for a short week-long charter, something that seemed impossible to do. For others, luxury was about being able to afford the best medical doctor to try to beat a deadly disease or to prolong a comfortable lifestyle in order to spend quality time with loved ones. One thing was common to all – luxury was not about acquiring things, but about acquiring experiences.


When I compare these luxuries to mine, someone who is far from being a billionaire, I see many commonalities. I too seek the freedom to travel the world while growing my brand remotely, and I too seek to gather my immediate family for a short week-long jaunt, a task that seems doomed to fail every year. After spending years caring for a father with heart issues, I too believe that medicine is a luxury that is beyond price. Luckily, I am Canadian, and my father was given a new heart from an extremely generous young man who was not so lucky. His gift was the ultimate luxury – the luxury of a second chance at life. Please allow me to take a moment to give my thanks to this anonymous donor and his family before I continue. Thank you!


Same as those of a billionaire, my luxuries are about acquiring life experiences not buying things. Living aboard a superyacht worth 220 million Euros or a 40′ bare catamaran with no electricity or fresh water shower is practically the same thing. If you love life at sea, the boat is secondary to the lifestyle. I have experienced both, and wouldn’t know wish one to choose if I had to make a choice.


Luxury is in the eyes of the beholder. The definition of luxury should therefore be one of “experience or  lifestyle that is above all else”. If you are a brand that seeks to market yourself to an elite audience in search of the finer things in life, you need to provide an experience beyond the product in order to be considered “luxury”.