Ready, Fire, Aim! - Mihail's Public Blog: The definition of luxury -- great service

Friday, May 4, 2007

The definition of luxury -- great service

According to this WSJ story (subscription required), Guy Salter, deputy chairman of the British luxury-industry organization Walpole, says that "unless you're in the sweet spot 18-to-34 demographic -- or you're a new-luxury consumer in China or India -- you're probably getting better attention from brands like Apple, J. Crew, Amazon, Virgin Airlines and Starbucks, which are providing innovative new products coupled with great customer service -- the stuff that was once the purview of luxury."

And, "Jim Taylor, vice chairman of Harrison Group marketing consultants, found that the top 5% of the U.S. population in terms of wealth -- people responsible for $1.3 trillion in discretionary spending -- don't even like the word "luxury" anymore, because it suggests something with mass appeal."

In contrast, fellow Santa Feresident and former Guccidesigner, Tom Fordseems to have stumbled big time with his new flagship men's storein NYC. According to this New York Times story(registration required) that completely pans the store and especially the service:

An unintentionally hilarious parody of a pretentious Madison Avenue boutique, the store reeks of arriviste Anglophilic posturing dressed up as aristocratic gentlemanly refinement. For all the preopening ballyhoo about the it’s-all-about-you customization and details like buttons on trouser cuffs so that your butler can brush away the remains of the day — at last! — the reality is more akin to a luxury store in a second-tier market during the mid-’90s.

The review overview also lists prices as "Unapologetically expensive"! But then "the top 5% of the U.S. population in terms of wealth...responsible for $1.3 trillion in discretionary spending."

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