Georgetown Retail & Luxury Association

Georgetown Retail & Luxury Association

Bringing Retail & Luxury to the Hilltop.

A Luxury Journey with Chairman Emeritus & Founding Partner of The Ritz-Carlton, Herve Humler


Pictured: GRLA Team and Stephen Jennings and Herve Humler

Pictured: GRLA Team and Stephen Jennings and Herve Humler

With charisma and elegance, Mr. Humler took his audience on a journey. Those in the audience could not help but spend the entirety of his presentation dreaming of themselves in the shoes of a guest at The Ritz-Carlton, having a meal cooked for them at the beach while they watch the sunset, drinking a glass of the best champagne. According to Mr. Humler, it is this type of experience that keeps luxury hotels alive. Under his management, employees are encouraged to create what he calls “WOW Stories,” the type of experiences that create long-lasting memories. Throughout his conversation with Stephen Jennings, the leader of the U.S. Hospitality sector at Deloitte, Mr. Humler outlined the secret of how The Ritz-Carlton and the other hotels under his management continuously engage with client’s emotions, and how these become engraved as some of their best memories.

A full house at Fisher Colloquium Auditorium where the event was held.

A full house at Fisher Colloquium Auditorium where the event was held.

        To Mr. Humler, the success of The Ritz-Carlton lies in its values and in how it trains its employees, both of which are highlighted in the company’s Gold Standards. At The Ritz-Carlton, employees are expected to be themselves, while treating their clients in a warm, relaxed and refined manner.  They are reminded every day of their mission to create “WOW Stories,” and are trained to be flexible and address clients in the most human and interactive way possible; they are not there to recite a manual, but to engage and have honest interactions with all guests. In an industry where many things are prescribed (the times where you can have certain meals, when and where they can serve you certain amenities), empowering employees with flexibility allows them to provide customers with tailored experiences. The Ladies and Gentlemen, as The Ritz Carlton calls its employees, are the soul and heart of its brand, interacting with clients morning, afternoon and night.

        In addition to empowering employees and establishing a strong corporate culture, Mr. Humler shared his other secret to success: to “always stay humble.” He told the audience a story about the beginning of his career.  As a young assistant manager of room service, he longed for a promotion, and he was assured that he would get it. His ego got in the way, and he did not get the job. However, he realized that the person who got it was an outstanding employee and truly deserved it. After this incident, Mr. Humler learned that nothing comes for granted and that one has to be always in a process of self improvement. He learned that success comes from staying humble, having patience, and always striving for your personal best while doing what you love.

Students could not resist asking countless questions after the event!

Students could not resist asking countless questions after the event!

Herve Humler captivated us with his incredible success story, and the subsequent success of The Ritz-Carlton. He left his audience genuinely inspired, as his natural charm and determination were incredibly powerful. Thank you, to Mr. Humler and The Ritz-Carlton team for this amazing event!

A Talk with Andrea Hyde, Former CEO of French Connection USA and Co-Founder of Draper James

The Georgetown Retail and Luxury association and the Georgetown Marketing association were proud to host Andrea Hyde, the former CEO of French Connection USA and Reese Witherspoon’s co-founder of Draper James, on the 30th of January. She spoke about her impressive and diverse career, gave tips for entering into today’s retail industry, and talked about what our generation must know about finding their voice.

Andrea Hyde started her career interning at Calvin Klein, and went on to the executive training program at Estee lauder. She then moved to work for GAP from 1990 to 1995, where she took part in the founding of Old Navy. She spoke about GAP’s incredible success, being one of the first low price point yet high-quality brands. She humorously stated that before GAP’s time, ‘if you weren’t spending money on clothes, you weren’t living good. You were wearing a polyester hookup’.  After working at GAP Andrea held multiple impressive jobs, including working for in Global Marketing and Communications at Kenneth Cole’s movie production company in London, and working for French Connection in London where she rose up in the company.

By just 35, Andrea was the CEO of French Connection USA. She admitted to feeling unprepared for this position at first, and spoke about the insecurities that came with feeling like the youngest person in the room. However, she quickly adapted to this position through experiential learning, and executed important business decisions such as stopping the production of French Connection’s classic ‘fcuk’ t-shirt in the US, as she realized it was, quite humorously, being misinterpreted. She laughed as she stated that ‘geography isn’t America’s strong suit’. She also touched on the hardship that comes with making these hard decisions, saying that although she loved being a CEO, it is ‘overrated’.

After her time at French Connection, she worked for Christopher Burch, who had started a brand called ‘C-wonder’. She spoke about this experience as a great learning experience, where she gained knowledge about the dangers of over-expanding. She told us that Christopher Burch created C-wonder as somewhat of a revenge brand to Tory Burch, and he unsustainably expanded the brand to 18 stores in 18 months, which led its later downfall.  She described how what she learnt from this experience helped her grow Draper James at a sustainable pace.

When Reese Witherspoon first approached Andre Hyde for her help to build Draper James, Andrea told us that she was hesitant at first, but was quickly intrigued by Reese’s strong authentic vision for the lifestyle brand that was aimed at attracting a southern audience. She decided she was very interested in the brand, and co-founded it with Reese all the way from its inception to consumption. She attributed Draper James’ success to Reese’s strong vision, its sustainable growth, and the attention given to the customer. Moreover, she talked about the importance of making the brand have longevity, as although it is tied to Reese Witherspoon, it was created in such a way that it will be able to outlive her.

When Andrea was asked about her interests in emerging industries, she was extremely intrigued with the wellness sector, and stated that there is a lot yet to be discovered in this market. Moreover, she stressed how much she gained from working in both small and large companies, and recommended that we try both of these different experiences. Her additional advice to anyone interested in working in retail was the importance of using the internet as a great source for finding contacts, networking, and having a lot of persistence. Overall, Andrea Hyde was a captivating speaker with an extremely impressive career, and a great source of both knowledge and advice.

A Night with Midori Linea: GRLA X Insider Collective at the W Hotel

On October 12th, members of the GRLA attended a meet and greet and trunk show featuring jewellery brand MIDORI LINES as a part of the Washington W’s Insider Collective. The MIDORI LINEA collection is an emerging line with designer Sakura at the helm, and has been featured in New York Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week, Nylon Magazine, and Elle UK. Sakura launched the brand after receiving attention for her first item that has grown to be her signature: the delicate hand chain. This simple yet beautiful design sparked the creative vision for a collection of over 100 pieces including delicate layering necklaces, earrings, foot and hand chains. The brand has garnered a close following through successful trunk shows, and has a growing coast-to-coast clientele. Sakura aims to create pieces that can transition from day to night, can be mixed and matched, and work cohesively together or alone. Her designs aim to make any woman feel put together, even if she’s just throwing on her favorite pair of jeans.

The night kicked off with some words from the designer herself, and then guests were able to shop the freshest pieces from her new collection. The GRLA team thoroughly enjoyed meeting Sakura and her team, hearing how she brought her vision of an independent jewelry line to fruition. She took feedback on our own personal styles, and directed us to pieces that fit our unique tastes and personalities. It was great to meet the mastermind behind the creative vision of MIDORI LINEA, and get a first hand look at the work and passion that goes behind an independent brand.

Link to the brand's Facebook:

Link to the brand's Instagram:


Ferragamo X Oscar De La Renta

Famous Luxury Fashion Houses: a Remarkable Family History 

Left to right: Alex Bolen (CEO of Oscar de la Renta), Serafina Hager (Director of Italian Research Institute), Chester Gillis (Dean of Georgetown College),  and Massimo Ferragamo (Chairman of Ferragamo) 

Left to right: Alex Bolen (CEO of Oscar de la Renta), Serafina Hager (Director of Italian Research Institute), Chester Gillis (Dean of Georgetown College),  and Massimo Ferragamo (Chairman of Ferragamo) 

On October 4, the Georgetown Retail and Luxury Association had the incredible opportunity of hosting Massimo Ferragamo, Chairman of Ferragamo USA, and Alex Bolen, CEO of Oscar de la Renta, for a talk on the history of the two brands. Selecting the theme of family, both men gave insightful talks about the inspiration and methodology that drive two of the world’s greatest luxury brands.

Speaking first, Mr. Ferragamo detailed how the Italian brand started with only handmade leather shoes designed by his father. Ferragamo began as a small, family owned business known for its attention to detail and absolute love of product. Eventually, as demand for its shoes grew, Ferragamo expanded to include bags, clothing, and non-leather accessories such as scarves as well. Despite the rapid expansion of the brand both in terms of its product range and global presence, Ferragamo stuck to its roots of family with his sons taking over the managerial side of the business, and his daughters continuing to develop the product side. This familial structure continues today, evidenced by Massimo’s position as Chairman of the brand.

Next up, Mr. Bolen showed the audience a video detailing the background and thought process of Oscar de la Renta. Bolen noted how Oscar de la Renta had never attended fashion school, rather picking up the process of developing clothing on his own. The collections that resulted from this self-driven method were described as clothes that made women “look and feel like a woman.” Thus, the combination of great craftsmanship and incredible care for his clothing allowed Oscar de la Renta to develop into one of the leading designers in fashion, particularly for formal events. Countless First Ladies and red carpet celebrities such as Anne Hathaway and Jessica Alba turn to Oscar for one of a kind dresses worn in the public eye. Bolen concluded his message by noting Oscar’s signature smile, a feature that he described as encapsulating the essence of his brand.

The Ferragamo and Oscar de la Renta event inspired those in the audience to stick to their roots and trust individual creative processes en route to building a luxury brand. We thank Massimo Ferragamo and Alex Bolen for their time and message, and hope to have more events like this in the future.


OneFineStay: A First Class Airbnb Experience

The Sharing Economy Takes the World of Luxury

Franklin Place: A townhouse located in Tribeca, New York

Franklin Place: A townhouse located in Tribeca, New York

Millennials. A classification for Generation Y that is accompanied with both a mystical fascination and a judgmental disdain. Millennials are criticized for their penchant use of social media, disregard for tradition, and have been labeled the “me,me,me” generation, according to a 2013 Times article. However, there’s also a reason why marketers continue to research this influential generation– because despite the criticism, we are known as a generation of growing innovation, purchasing power, and unique thought. We are also the generation that has coined the ever-important trend, present in many well-known companies of today: the “sharing economy.”

The sharing economy is the future. The power of the sharing economy is that it allows for flexibility and spur-of-the-moment actions that allow consumers to do what they want, when they want, and where they want. Uber pioneered this trend by capitalizing on inconvenient means of transportation and transforming the way consumers think about getting from point A to point B. AirBnb took the millennial desire for “authentic” experiences and found a way for travelers to open their homes up to fellow travelers.

Marine Street: A beachside home in Santa Monica, Los Angeles

Marine Street: A beachside home in Santa Monica, Los Angeles

On our own travels, the GRLA team discovered a new company contributing to the trend of the sharing economy: OneFineStay. Founded in 2009 and based out of London, onefinestay elevates AirBnb’s business model by offering “handmade hospitality” in some of the most luxurious homes across the world. Currently, onefinestay has rentals available in London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, and Rome, but are quickly growing to expand to the world’s largest cities. Of course, onefinestay’s rentals are more expensive than those of AirBnb’s, but through their unique process of curating incredible experiences, onefinestay hopes to make the world of luxurious traveling, that much more accessible.

Old Brompton Road: A cozy apartment in South Kensington, London

Old Brompton Road: A cozy apartment in South Kensington, London

The millennial generation is adventurous, spontaneous and is quickly abandoning the idea of permanent possession. From traveling in a city at a moment’s notice to holiday homes around the world, the sharing economy is breaking out of Silicon Valley and entering into the world of luxury.

Photos courtesy of OneFineStay

This article was Co-Written by Ashley Do and Natasha Piedrahita

Global Luxury Summit II


Ajaz Ahmed at the podium with Professor Ricardo Ernst and Mark Del Rosso

Ajaz Ahmed at the podium with Professor Ricardo Ernst and Mark Del Rosso

Last Thursday, February 25, GRLA and the McDonough Business School had the pleasure of hosting the 2nd annual Global Luxury Summit featuring Mark Del Rosso, COO of Audi America, and Ajaz Ahmed, CEO of AKQA. The event kicked off with a display of the newest Audi R8 outside the business school building, a sight that inspired many students, myself included, to one day own and drive such a vehicle. However, the show outside was not the only source of inspiration as what occurred inside was an influential conversation on “desire” from moderator and MBA professor, Ricardo Ernst, and both featured guests, who approached the concept from differing perspectives.

Mark Del Rosso posing with the Audi R8 in front of the McDonough School of Business

Mark Del Rosso posing with the Audi R8 in front of the McDonough School of Business

Mr. Del Rosso educated the audience on the corporate aspect of creating desire, citing the growth of Audi from an “alternate” luxury car brand to its current “progressive” luxury status. Jokingly, Del Rosso described Audi’s market position ten years ago as, “That other car brand you bought after visiting BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes.” He then went on to explain how Audi was able to create a desire for its cars and establish its brand by differentiating the more detailed aspects of cars such as the trunk and headlights from other luxury brands such as BMW or Mercedes. Audi focused its marketing efforts on making the experience of driving an Audi seem new, fresh, and exciting. To exhibit these developments, Del Rosso proudly showed the audience Audi’s latest Super Bowl commercial featuring a retired astronaut given new life after driving his son’s 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus. He then explained how using the largest stages possible was key to creating consumer desire, noting events such as the Super Bowl, award shows, and major billboards as great places to advertise.

            Taking a different approach, Ajaz Ahmed narrowed the concept of desire down to qualitative components, but mainly the idea of “scarcity.” Ahmed explained how scarcity did not necessarily have to mean scarcity in terms of the availability of a product, but also scarcity in terms of the thought and ideas behind a product. Employing Apple as an example, he demonstrated how products such as the iPad or iPhone were not hard to obtain, but rather hard to create and develop successfully. This scarcity in thought was not limited to technological products, but also in apparel and footwear, as Ahmed cited the OVO Jordan 10 as an example of a more tangible, not technological product that created desire as well. It is the rare talent and passion that luxury companies such as Apple and Jordan are able to channel that leads to products that are highly desired by the rest of us.

GRLA member Gustavo Martinez getting his book autographed by Ajaz Ahmed 

GRLA member Gustavo Martinez getting his book autographed by Ajaz Ahmed 

Intrigued by the concept of rare talent and passion, I asked Mr. Ahmed about what creates or generates this talent or passion in certain people. Smiling, he responded, “It’s hard to explain but certain people just have that it factor. You’ll know if you have it or not.”

Whether or not we have that “it” factor required to create desire within others, the 2nd annual Global Luxury Summit was a thought-provoking event that allowed those in attendance to learn and be inspired by two influential creators in Mark Del Rosso and Ajaz Ahmed.

Click here for the full gallery of photos from the summit


Is Technology the New Black?

The Emerging trend of wearable technology 

Wearable tech seems to be the buzzword of the moment. We’ve even highlighted some moments in the past year where designers have been merging the fashion industries of New York and Paris with San Francisco’s technology start-up scene. For instance, Apple partnered with French luxury house Hermès to design a signature leather strap. With the upcoming New York Fashion Week, we expect to see even more breakthrough moments merging technology with the fashion industries. Below, we share with you some cool new products that caught our eye. 

1. The new Fitbit Alta

The newest product from Fitbit is slightly thinner and more sleek than its previous designs. It is offered in more colors that are supposed to pair with any outfit– even for special occasions with a new gold band design. Fitbit continues to implement their “something for everybody” strategy by appealing to the more fashionably conscious.

2. L’Oréal’s My UV Skin Patch

Even L’Oréal, a company that normally sells makeup and beauty products, is jumping on the wearable tech bandwagon by developing a product that may help thousands in preventing skin cancer. The company’s “My UV Skin Patch” is a sun protection device that monitors your sun exposure and tracks better ways for you to protect your skin. Personally, I don’t actually understand the science behind it, but I’m all for something that helps me protect my skin especially in the hotter summer months.

3. Google +  Levi’s = Project Jacquard

Google has partnered with Levi’s to transform regular textiles, like jeans for instance, into interactive surfaces that can be connected to smart devices. Functionality meets fashion meets innovation. Swipe one way, and you can call your friend to tell her about your day. Swipe another way, open up and read your texts.


4. Ringly: Wearable Tech at your Fingertips...Literally

Girls, especially, come into the issue of not having a place to put our phones. Phones seem to be getting bigger and bigger while pockets (if we even have them) remain their less than accommodating size. Ringly attempts to incorporate tech into everyday women’s accessories by creating a smart ring so women remain alert to their phones without having to keep it on hand all the time.

What would you actually buy? Or do you think wearable tech is going too far?

Caroline Issa: A Beautiful Mind

Post Caroline Issa Event Interview 

From modeling to management consulting, publishing to fashion design, Caroline Issa’s iterative evolution has been nothing short of remarkable, and we were lucky to get a little taste of it after our event with her. Here’s what we found out! 

1. What is one accessory you can't live without?

“My Tod's moccasins - let's get real - sometimes we do have to run around town and can't be in stilettos all day, no matter how much I love them!”

2. Favorite show/new trend seen from Fashion Month? 

“I adored Alber Elbaz's last show for Lanvin - we didn't know it at the time that it would be his last, so glad to have seen so many of his greatest hits on the catwalk and his magic touch. Same with Raf Simons for Dior!”

3. How has your education at Wharton helped you in the fashion industry today? 

“I think having a business brain gives me a very unique perspective into the fashion industry and working with creative people everyday. I enjoy the business of fashion, and the world of imagination pegged to the reality of selling beautiful things.”

4. What has been your biggest challenge in the industry? 

“Learning how to balance business goals and benchmarks alongside creative freedom and temperments. But also learning and adapting at such a fast speed at the changing landscape between Print and digital!”

5. What has been the most interesting editorial in Tank Magazine? 

“Oh - there has been too many - from 10 years ago putting Natalie Massanet (founder of Net a Porter) at the start of her journey together with e-comm frontier ERnst Malmsten, to John Grey the philosopher in debate with Jaron Lanier, to Faizal Davij's take on ISIS to Bryanboy's first ever long-feature piece on the reality of superblogging - Tank is all about a good read, and we have too many to choose from in our 18 years!”

6. What advice do you have to give students on navigating career opportunities?

“Pursue what you are passionate about, work hard and be curious.”

This #GirlBoss has done it all, leaving the rest of us feeling inspired, refreshed, and ready to tackle whatever is in store for the future! 

Caroline Issa: The Ultimate Fashion #GirlBoss

A Journey Through Chief Executive and Fashion Director Caroline Issa’s Career

Caroline featured in the Nordstrom Fashion Editorial 

Caroline featured in the Nordstrom Fashion Editorial 

Caroline Issa is the definition of #girlboss. The Canadian-born, London-based Chief Executive and Fashion Director of Tank Magazine has had an illustrious career and continues to redefine the business of fashion. She was a model in Milan, but went to study business at University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business grad (we’ll forgive her for that), and then did management consulting at Marakon. Caroline Issa started a career in business before ending up in the fashion editorial industry “to be in a position where [she] could have a say, make a decision.” After her time as a consultant, she moved to London and met Masoud Golsorkhi, founder of Tank Magazine. She invested her own personal savings into the magazine and has been its Fashion Director ever since. In her desire to bridge industries, Caroline Issa launched, a digital magazine described as “glamorous dim sum” that joins together editorial and commerce. And she created Fashion Scan – technology to unlock digital content within physical magazine pages using smartphones and tablets. Today, she is known not only for business acumen or her gorgeous mixed Chinese, Lebanese,  and Iranian looks, but also her talent for transforming her own personal style and making it available to the public through partnerships with LK Bennett, J Crew, and most recently, Nordstrom.     

Basically, we, at GRLA, are fangirling over her hard and cannot wait to hear what she has to say when she comes to campus on Friday, November 6th. See our Facebook event page for more details.

Caroline's Winning Fashion Style

For The Young, Fabulous, & (Spoiled) Rich.

Hot Luxury accessory items that are ridiculously overpriced and V unnecessary. 

Young Fab & Rich

S H O P :

If you aspire to be Kendall Jenner (like every girl on this planet), or follow Chiarra Ferragni on Instagram, chances are you've noticed their obsessions with these trending accessories: massive fur ball keychains with weird faces, iron-on block alphabet stickers, and iPhone cases made to look like anything but an iPhone case. Of course these items all sound ridiculous, but when hot, young, celebrities such as Cara, Kendall, and Gigi are all using them, we can't help but covet them too.

Kendall Jenner with one of her many Fendi Fur Pom bag charm she owns.

Kendall Jenner with one of her many Fendi Fur Pom bag charm she owns.

Cara Delevingne carrying Karlito down the runway, which retails at $1,650.

Cara Delevingne carrying Karlito down the runway, which retails at $1,650.

Too bad these items come at a (ridiculously) high price tag. The Fendi fur pom keychains usually start at price of $750, and can go up to $1,650 for a "Karlito", which is a miniature fur depiction of the iconic designer, Karl Lagerfeld. Anya Hindmarsh's leather letter stickers start at $55 per letter, which will set you back at least $110 just to personalize anything -don't even bother getting just a single letter for your first name because thats for #peasants. And lastly, for the Moschino iPhone cases that transforms your phone into anything from McDonald's fries to a can of spray paint, you can expect to shell out at least $100 for them. They're called luxury accessories for a reason.

Chiarra Ferragni showing off her Moschino iPhone case. Are you going to eat that though? Because I can buy you real fries for A LOT cheaper. 

Chiarra Ferragni showing off her Moschino iPhone case. Are you going to eat that though? Because I can buy you real fries for A LOT cheaper. 

Clearly, these accessories aren't for the average college budget student, but if you were young, fabulous, and rich like Kendall or Gigi, would you splurge on any of these items? I can't be the only one that is secretly dying to plaster my initials on the back of my phone. For now, I will have to remain young, fabulous, and broke by settling with these wanna-be iron stickers. 

Thank goodness Gigi only owns an iPhone 6, or else with a iPhone 6 plus she would've had to pay for an extra letter for her middle initial. 

Thank goodness Gigi only owns an iPhone 6, or else with a iPhone 6 plus she would've had to pay for an extra letter for her middle initial. 

Kendall personalized her phone case with three stickers, which means that this phone case is worth at least $175. Blonde model on the right clearly thought these were cheap enough to be disposable stickers since she just wasted one on her forehead... 

Kendall personalized her phone case with three stickers, which means that this phone case is worth at least $175. Blonde model on the right clearly thought these were cheap enough to be disposable stickers since she just wasted one on her forehead... 

which accessory do you want the most? or do you see them as completely absurd and overpriced? let us know what you think in the comment section!

Macy’s Idea of A Millennial Wonderland

Macy's and Millennials: How Department Store are Embracing Tech to Target a Key Demographic

Fun pop decor for millennial to take selfies with.

Fun pop decor for millennial to take selfies with.

In an overhaul of traditional department-store environment, Macy’s newly-revamped basement in their flagship Herald Square location is a millennial paradise. Covering floor-to-ceiling with a mixture of every product category imaginable, Macy’s “One Below” space is attempting to directly cater to this key market demographic. Serving millennial wants from apparel to homegoods to technology, a one-stop shop effectively appeals the millennial consumer’s desire for interconnected marketing messages and tailored user experiences.

Macy's 3D printing station where customization plays a key role.

Macy's 3D printing station where customization plays a key role.

Many of the shops featured in One Below incorporate self-service and customization technology into the shopping process. For example, a Levi’s Jeans pop-up allows customers to “personalize their denim with embroidered designs” and receive the completed product in real-time. Others allow shoppers to create their own personal accessories using 3D printing technology, featuring both known brand parts and nameless, blank templates.  Selfie and video walls encourage interactive participation in the retail environment and stimulate the millennial connectivity prowess.

While a direct departure from normal department-store settings, One Below is a clear display of brand responsiveness and recognition of the purchasing power the aging millennial population wields. Though this directly-targeted undertaking is by no means sustainable in locations throughout the country, and is largely supported by the sheer customer volume of Herald Square, One Below’s birth is an exciting indication for the future of brick-and-mortar retail spaces in a world of ever-changing consumer expectations.


Student Spotlight: Maggie Blackwood's Internship with Esteé Lauder

An Interview discussing Senior Maggie Blackwood's summer internship with the luxury cosmetic company

View of NYC from the company headquarters.

View of NYC from the company headquarters.

Paid: Yes

City: New York City

Position in Company: presidential associate internship program- Product development specifically for Clinique

Maggie Blackwood


Marketing & OPIM Major

President of Georgetown advertising and marketing association (GAMA)

Chatham New Jersey


What were some of the things that you did at your internship and what did you like most about it?

I like the people I worked with the best because I was placed with three managers who were really great. Two were executive directors and one was the vice president. One primarily worked in Japan and focused on the Asian consumer so I got to see an entirely different market and have a global perspective on that. Another focused on make up in America so I was able to see and work on many products that I would be using and would come out within the next few years. Because of working in product development, I wasn’t able to tell people about these products, so I was their go-to person to ask if millennials would like the products. With my vice president, I would help her make the many presentations she had to do. In the last week, I helped deliver a presentation to the lab, to show the chemists the new beauty trends. I also compiled a newsletter of competitors’ products that were new to market. This allowed our team to stay up-to-date on the latest products. Because of working with the VP, I was able to show the senior vice president all my projects that I was working on, which was a great experience.

What did you think was the most challenging part about this internship?

I think the most challenging was that I had no background in product development. I came in thinking that my position was branding, which I was exposed to because of my major. But I was actually thrown into a completely different role and I had to adapt to this new environment. I learned all of the many aspects that go into creating the products, so it was fun to see that side of the company.

What do you think was the most valuable thing you got out of this internship?

 The most valuable thing I learned is that people who are passionate behind the company really make the difference. All the people I worked with were really smart and confident in the ways they conducted business. I was surrounded by a lot of powerful women who took a stance and made sure their opinions were heard which was really inspiring and empowering to see.

Do you have any advice for people that are applying for an internship with Esteé Lauder?

Make sure you have internship experience because they require that you have two internships previous. For me -It can be something you do on campus- so I was a college ambassador for a clothing brand and I also had an internship this summer before. Whether you’re a brand ambassador or working for a college internship, just have something you can talk about. Preferably the experience is marketing related because this internship is more targeted towards marketing people. And then I’d say really be yourself and do your homework. The reason I got my position was because the interviewer told me that she was really impressed by my knowledge about the Esteé Lauder Companies. Slip in knowledge about the companies- really do your homework before the interview.

Do you see yourself as someone that’s very knowledgeable and interested with the luxury retail world? If not, do you think that may have affected your experience with this internship?

Coming into college, I didn’t think I would be interested in the luxury retail sector but when I was looking into this internship, I realized that it was a really interesting opportunity and once in a lifetime internship. After I researched it, I realized it was something I really wanted. I don’t know if I'm going to go more into the luxury industry – I really like marketing strategy analytics so I'm going to see where that path takes me, but I learned a lot this summer and I loved the opportunity of being exposed to this world.

On the scale of 1-10, what would you rate this internship

I would give it a 10. I really loved it!


all photos courtesy of Maggie Blackwood

A New Vision for Prescription Glasses

Warby Parker Store Opening on M Street

Warby Parker Store in Soho, NY

Warby Parker Store in Soho, NY

On September 29, Warby Parker opened its first Washington D.C. storefront on our very own M Street, occupying the space previously held by clothing company True Religion. The opening was complete with floor to ceiling displays of Warby Parker’s signature frames and color-coded books to complement how trendy and intelligent one immediately looks in one of Warby’s frames. Although traditionally an e-commerce company, Warby Parker added brick-and-mortar stores to its business strategy to drive sales and offer a more personalized customer service experience.

Store in San Francisco, CA

Store in San Francisco, CA

Created by founders David Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal, Warby Parker was founded only 5 years ago with the mission “to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious business.” For a flat fee of  $95, a customer receives stylish frames, shipping, and a donation to a not-for-profit. On top of that, customers enjoy a free at home try-on service where they can choose up to 5 frames and have them shipped and returned at no cost.

The newest location in Georgetown, Washington D.C.

The newest location in Georgetown, Washington D.C.

Since then, Warby Parker is now valued at $1.2 billion and is consistently regarded as an innovative, e-commerce brand. They partner with different companies and celebrities, such as Nordstrom and Karlie Kloss, to put out exclusive lines for both men and women. Warby Parker currently has 14 stores with plans to open 5 more by the end of the year, one of them being our very own Georgetown location. Even if you don’t buy one of the frames, check out the beautiful store and experience the friendly customer service that Warby Parker is known for.

Store in Venice, CA

Store in Venice, CA

A new trend: Making Luxury personal

Will Mass Customization Work for Fashion?

Burberry now offers customers the option to customize their scarves with their initials.  source:

Burberry now offers customers the option to customize their scarves with their initials.


With increased access to online retail channels, we’ve seen a rise in bespoke offerings from top brands. Classic examples include NikeiD custom sneakers and Louis Vuitton Mon Monogram handbags and leather goods.

In an age where consumers have more access to brands and evermore knowledge on what they want from a brand, it would suggest that the market for custom goods would be well and thriving. However, with risk of monstrous overhead costs such as the need for excess inventory and the possibility of overwhelming the consumer with choices, the should-be flourishing “bespoke” category of luxury has all but flopped.

customized Louis Vuitton handbag  source: StyleHunter

customized Louis Vuitton handbag

source: StyleHunter

Anya Hindmarch specializes in handbag stickers that allows you to customize your handbags in any way. 

Anya Hindmarch specializes in handbag stickers that allows you to customize your handbags in any way. 

According to Kate Abnett for the Business of Fashion blog, companies must strike a delicate balance in their pursuit of personal. Luxury firms must offer a tailored, self-created process within the operational abilities of the brand that seemingly lets the customer have it all while subtly limits custom offerings to a select range. Furthermore, individual touches and additions should be isolated in the category of fast-moving personal accessories such as scarves, handbags, and jewelry pieces: items that are likely to retail at full market value and historically cater to personal flair. Endeavors such as the Burberry Scarf Bar, mentioned in the article, perfectly exemplify this balance. Allowing Burberry customers to add small touches of personalization on highly-liquid inventory pieces caters to the brand’s experience-driven, individualistic followers while minimizing the impact of increased manufacture costs with increased product margins.

celebrities such as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Olivia Palermo are embracing the new trend with their custom Burberry shawls. 

celebrities such as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Olivia Palermo are embracing the new trend with their custom Burberry shawls. 

With more luxury and premium brands touting personalization services, it will be interesting to watch the many approaches’ inevitably varied successes (and subsequently, shortcomings). Even more interesting will be changing consumer attitudes to bespoke additions: are custom decorations here to stay, or are they simply a mutant form of the turn-of-the-century logo craze, reborn? Regardless, this trend in luxury brands will absolutely be a space to watch in the coming future.